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The Woods Academy

Where curiosity and confidence thrive.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Learning

Ms. Michele Carpenter, Co-Director of Montessori and Montessori II Teacher

In the Montessori classroom, music is essential. December, the month of Christmas carols and jingle bells, provides us with the perfect focal point for music and instruments.

“I would teach the children music, physics, and philosophy, but the most important is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the key to all learning” -Plato

In the Montessori classroom, music is essential. December, the month of Christmas carols and jingle bells, provides us with the perfect focal point for music and instruments.

During circle time, we sing and recite both familiar and new holiday poems. Through these poems and songs, we develop phonological awareness, listening for rhyming words and noting alliteration. We shake jingle bells to determine the number of syllables in a word. The repetition of these poems promotes fluency, develops vocabulary, and helps children recognize patterns in language.  

Our poems also have a mathematical aspect. We introduce ordinal numbers; “the first gingerbread said ‘oh my we smell great.’” As well as developing the mathematical mind for beginning addition and subtraction skills; if we have five reindeer waiting for Santa, how many more do we need to wait for?

As the children become more and more comfortable with the poems, we ask if anyone would like to stand up to do parts of the poem on their own. Reciting the different parts of the poem and performing as a group not only develops confidence in the child, but community in the classroom.

In December, we do an in depth study of musical instruments and sound. We learn about percussion, brass, woodwind and string instruments, what a sound wave is, and how the different families of instruments make noise. We use the instruments we learn about to make a class band, giving the children hands on experience to understand how they are creating sound. We do experiments with tuning forks and blow across the top of a bottle to see if we can make sound.

Through these concrete experiences, we introduce complex ideas such as sound waves. Music is all around during the holiday season, Christmas carols in the car ride, in department stores, and all around. Learning through that lens allows for engagement and retention of information. And as they belt out the Christmas carols, they will be thinking of syllables, instruments, and sound waves.