At Rowntree Montessori Schools, our students are very familiar with the art of collaboration. Walk into any classroom, and you will see the children working together to accomplish a common goal. This does not only happen during regular school day work time, where our children can be found making wonderful things together, but it also occurs in our before and after school activities. In the Kindergarten rooms, there are many different hands-on resources to work with and explore. These resources may look like ordinary toys to a passer-by, but when someone takes the time to sit and observe children working and playing with them, they will soon realize that they are so much more than that!
A very exciting example (as seen above), of a collaborative creation between a Kindergarten Montessori student and a Grade 1 student happened recently during an after school activity. Two students began building their own connecting structures, and then soon began to take their thinking one step further. Our Kindergarten student started to talk about his plan to make something that could span from one table to the other. The Grade 1 student then followed along with the idea, and soon after their collaboration began. Their goal was to build a bridge that could connect their two tables. The Grade 1 student was able to offer many valuable insights as an older child, such as helping build supports to keep the bridge up in the middle space between the two tables. Their conversations were full of rich ideas and kind words, and the two were able to work together to accomplish their goal. It was truly an amazing situation to witness!
This particular situation shows the value of having hands-on manipulatives in the Kindergarten classrooms, and in allowing students of various age ranges to work together. It also highlights the wonderful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programme that we have at RMS, starting in our youngest classrooms, which carries forward from learning to everyday life, as children integrate the skills that they have learned into their imaginative play. Lastly, it helps shine a light on the great sense of community that Rowntree Montessori Schools helps to foster. It does not matter what the age difference between the students is, they all get along and can make wonderful, creative, insightful things together, when given the opportunity. Collaboration has no age limit!