On most morning Montessori inspired activities are placed on a large group table for two reasons: to attract the child to the activities and minimize transition. Children have a choice of either open ended activities involving dulpos or blocks, or Montessori inspired close-ended activities.
When children enter there are some that notice the activities immediately, while others may not. Each activity are neat, orderly and designed to have the child work in a left to right progression (crossing the mid line). The child evaluates and self selects the activity of their choice. An array of activities are placed. Some are designed to work on sorting skills, some are strictly fine motor while others might be a simple activity of placing contents from one bowl to another (put and take). The activities are hands on, child directed, aides in independence, isolates difficulty (focuses on one skill at a time) and are self correcting.
Once an activity has been selected by the child, some need prompting while others are able to use problem solving skills to complete the task(s). During the activity some will tact (saying the name of a color, or begin to count), some might say, “Help.” Also during this time, the room is relatively calm. There isn’t a scurry of inactivity…in fact it’s the opposite. There’s a slight buzz in the air and for the most part the adults watch and observe the child engaged in purposeful activity where they’re nearly completely immersed. Is it beautiful and captivating to watch? Absolutely! For some children, it’s their first experience of doing something independently and for others it’s their first opportunity to do something completely self-initiated. Is it the start to intrinsic motivation? Yes!
When some finish, some have said, “I did it,” others have said, “Again,” or “All done,” or better yet, if it’s time to start Discrete Trail Training, their one on one aide might say, “Take to cubbie,” and the child works to complete the activity because the activity is reinforcing for them. They’re not working for food reinforcers nor iPad. They’re completing their programs and working to work. Is it epic in the autism world? Absolutely!
Stay tuned with more to come!