Halloween is a time of fun and great excitement for the child. Like all holidays, it can provide a context for connection through participation in shared activities. At Midtown Montessori, we capitalize on the excitement that children already have about this holiday and try to offer them keys to exploration about the past through our Historical Halloween celebration.
Every year, we select a theme and ask children to dress as someone from the past that is inspiring to them in some way. In the past, we have celebrated activists, explorers, and world leaders. This year, our theme was “Athletes, Artists & Performers.”
The children in the Casa were given an opportunity to dress up, but also practice speaking to a group. They were given a few important facts about their historical figure and shared it with our community of our parents. Sarah guided them through how to speak clearly and loudly. They also practiced the grace and courtesy of listening to their friends while they did their presentations.
We are always seeking to scaffold experiences in our community throughout the planes of development, so we take our Historical Halloween to the next level with our elementary children. One of the important characteristics of the second plane child is the capacity and desire to do “big work.” Big work means expansive projects that are crafted over days or weeks. Over the years, we’ve learned that children need to be guided carefully through their initial attempts at “big work” so that they can feel the sense of accomplishment that goes with taking the journey from start to finish on a project.
One of the misunderstandings about Montessori education is often predicated on the idea that Montessori classrooms are unstructured and allow children to do whatever they please whenever they please. In truth, such opinions often rely on hearsay and are not based on careful observation of a fully functioning, authentic Montessori environment. We believe that human beings are innately creative, diligent and focused. Children are free to express their deepest human nature in our environments. The preparation of our environments leave children free to express these innate qualities and understand how these qualities align with the responsibilities they have to learn about the world they live in. For this project, the lower elementary children (6-9) were directed to write a first person narrative and create a visual aid for the person they chose. Our upper elementary (ages 9-12), were asked to write a multiparagraph essay, speech and visual aid. Their work was something to behold. Whether through written expression or artistic expression, our children of the elementary guided the adults of our community through historical journeys in music, art, athletic and dance history.