what maria montessori has taught me about rainy days

Octopus PenToday, all of the Bay Area’s schools are closed because of rain, a storm that was predicted to hit us with 70-mile-an-hour winds and flooding. So, this morning we had to figure out what to do with our day.

Jonah has been in a Montessori school now for a year and a third-ish. I chose the school based on what I think Montessori is, and although I’ve bought a good book on the topic, and have read a few pages, and witnessed some of it in action at school, I still am new to this whole philosophy. One thing I do know is that Jonah’s classroom uses Work Plans for the kids to organize their 3+ hour “morning work period.” So, this morning at home, we did the same.

Work Plans have three categories: Math, Language, and Cultural. According to Jonah, the “works” i.e.: tasks, have to be done in the order of the categories. Cultural goes last – usually this is the most fun stuff.

I forced him to do them out of order because I had a vested interest in Librarian and Zoologist getting taken care of first.

His work plan for December 11, 2014 (punctuation and emoticons by Jonah; my notes in italics)…

Work Plan


Legos! :)
i.e.: clean up and put back together various lego sets in disrepair throughout bedroom and living room. I decided this was math because legos are reminiscent in color and shape of the many Montessori manipulatives; you know, geometric shapes, fractions

Measure-a-D: Jonah
In Jonah’s classroom, each child has a job. I told him we would be doing cooking as a math work — measuring, fractions — and he made up this word, or maybe this is a term they use, which is a different but related job from/to Maitre D, the person who helps serve snack. We made egg salad, which he did almost entirely by himself, including cutting celery and shallots with a large chef’s knife. Which is totally Montessori also, a.k.a. “Practical Life” skills. Jonah tasted and seasoned the egg salad until it was perfect. And then we all ate it for lunch.


Librarian: Jonah :(
Another job at school, so in Jonah’s writing he puts his name next to the task. And the sad face indicating his lack of enthusiasm for this one. This work could also be called, “for the hundredth time, Jonah, please pick up your books and put them away where they go, thank you.”

Pen Cap
Jonah lost the cap to his favorite new octopus tentacle pen. Searching for said cap counted as a “work.” We used this pen for writing and signing off on his work plan. Cap has not yet been found.

Bug Catcher: Jonah
Jonah added this work when, while searching for the pen cap, he found a pill bug in his room — perhaps escaping the rain? This one probably should have been with Zoologist in Cultural, below.

Quiet Reading
I added this one when he was ready for “bookies” and I wasn’t quite.

This is what we all call when Scott or I read to Jonah. Currently we are reading The Secret Garden.


Zoologist: Jonah
Feed some crickets to our Western Fence Lizard, Speedy. Give water and apple slices to remaining crickets in their box. Feed pellets to our Betta fish, Sparkly.

After lunch of egg salad and leftover birthday cake, time to binge-watch back-to-back episodes of Paw Patrol.

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