Three Year Cycle
The gift of time
Flow and Time to think: Today many traditional classroom teachers and students lament the rigid schedules that exist in most schools. Time becomes a major driver of teaching techniques, affecting learning. As soon as students get into a lesson, the bell sounds, work is interrupted and it is time for everyone to transition to the next subject or class. At Chiaravalle Montessori, there are no loud bells at the end of a 45 minute class period. Here, students typically have uninterrupted 3 hour work periods each day to maximize work time, concentration and encourage states of “flow” when students become immersed in their activity. Students enjoy lessons, create their work plans, practice new skills, work alone, with peers or teachers. Over time, children develop time management and self-regulation while experiencing calmer, productive work days.
Time to grow
As we know, each student is unique. Within each developmental stage, each child may develop various needs, skills and interests at different times. Sometimes students achieve great leaps in maturity and knowledge while other times experience a setback. The Montessori three year cycle allows students the gift of time to develop and work at their own pace. For example, one kindergartener may be fluently reading while another is practicing letter and sound correlation. Each child is supported and challenged at their own level and allowed flexibility on how quickly s/he masters a concept. At the end of the three year cycle, students will have covered a comprehensive curriculum, met a range of expected outcomes and matured significantly.
Time to be
The three year cycle gives children the experience of holding various roles in the classroom community. Students just entering a program level are experiencing a new classroom, new teachers, bigger peers, more challenging lessons and new expectations. Transitioning students soon learn there is a welcoming classroom community ready to support, mentor and guide them. A new three year old will be invited to eat with a four year old. A kindergarten will help her lay out the rug and her work materials. Someday this 3 year old will have the opportunity to be a confident leader, with bigger responsibilities in the community. These leadership skills are taught and experienced at every level of the school. Check out the leadership one older toddler demonstrated in his Toddler class:
At the beginning of each cycle, students have the support of older students being new, being an experienced community member and being a classroom leader.
The gift of deep relationships
Relationships between students, between student and teacher and between parents/family and teachers grow with time. Strong relationships have profound affect on student experience and outcomes. The Montessori 3 year cycle allows deep relationships to form.