It is often a tedious task to quiet down a hyper active little child, and it is even more challenging if its a group of children. However, you will be amazed as how quiet a Montessori classroom despite having a group of 50 child. If you were to observe carefully, they will each engross with their ‘work’ (montessori material). Usually, they will have grouping and time allocated to work in Practical Life, sensorial, language and others. Of course the only time you hear chit chatter and laughter is during the outdoor sessions.
Dr Montessori developed ‘Silent Game’ during her observation in Casa Del Bambini.
One day, she sits the children in a circle and trying to get their attention and focus. Suddenly a mother with a baby arrived and the baby is still asleep in the mother’s arm. Dr Montessori was worried that it will distraction of the children in the class will startled the baby to awake. Hence, she asked the mother if she can hold on to the baby for awhile while the mother can visit the surroundings.While the baby is in Dr Montessori hands, she diligently ask the children to remain silent with hand gesture to the lips. Amazingly, the whole room were filled with silence to the extend that they can hear the baby breathing.
The effect of silent in regulating the body is awesome. It is advise to always use the ‘quiet voice’ as if we whisper. This is how we practice with the children. Every teacher in the classroom will always talk to the child level to their eye and whispering to them instead of shouting or commanding.
With this observation, she notice that the children hearing gets better with more silence. Practice of silent game enable the child hearing to be more acute and they will learn to listen to adult whispering. She played the violin and viola to differentiate the sounds and to her amazement the children were able to distinguished them accurately.
Some culture will use a light up candle and place in the middle for the children to stare at it while remaining silent while in India, they were taught ‘mudra’.
We had tried this
“Close your eyes and listen to the sound around us” and “1, 2, 3 and close your eyes”. You will be amazed with what the children will tell you! I had once a child told me that there is a friend busy in the toilet! Wow!
With this game, it enhance their ability to use language to describe what they sense. They have just activate another sense which we would describe as their inner sense to connect with the sensorial of the environment.
This game will also help what we known in Montessori as ‘Development of the Will’ for
they make a conscious choice of closing their eyes and remain silent for they want to hear something in the environment.
The children will hear common things say the fan movement, however as they grow they will became acute to even hear the assistant teacher scratching her back!