Previously I have interviewed Caspar my seven year old about school and Montessori. I thought it would be fun to interview Otis. It has been much more insightful than I had expected! On Friday after school I asked Otis some questions.
How was school today? What work did you do?
Good. I did metal insets and I had a lesson on something that is really tricky. You need a blindfold and the pink tower and you have to do this (with hand actions) and it’s really tricky work.
Me: Did you build the pink tower with the blindfold on?
Yes, I had to do this (more hand actions building the pink tower with his eyes closed).
I normally do the pink tower and metal insets.
What does a typical day at school look like? What do you normally do at school in the morning?
In the morning I do metal insets. We have to have snack when someone is finished, you have to wait for a chair and you have to put your snack there and then you have to wash your hands with soap and go to your chair and eat your snack. You can’t play while eating snack.
After snack it’s time to play outside. Play is after doing work and doing snack.
Lunch is after play. You have to have a little bit of talking and a big bit of eating. We eat inside when it is raining, sometimes we have a picnic and sometimes we eat outside on the tables. When you are done you have to pack your lunch away.
After lunch we do work. I do red rods and number rods.
Can you tell me who Maria Montessori was and why was she so important? What did she do?
Is your school peaceful? What does your school do to promote peace?
Yes, kind of but it isn’t that peaceful. Sometimes it is very loud and I block my ears when it is very loud sometimes like this (hand actions blocking ears). This is peace (he shows me the peace sign with his hand). We just sing - I’ve got peace, peace, peace in my heart. I’ve got words, words, word, in my head. I’ve got peace, peace, peace in my fingers and I am going to give some to you.
(You can find the song Otis was singing here)
You go to a Montessori school. What makes Montessori schools different from other schools?
I don't know.
Can you describe your classroom to me? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
Clean. It has shelves for some work. Everything for work. There are teachers, chairs and tables. All of my things are in my cubby. You can leave your shoes on or put them outside at the little table you can’t sit on you just put your shoes on it. We have a book area with all of the books and nothing else, just books. We have a number area and a sen-sor-ial area.
What do you like most about school?
Everything. But not noise. I like my teachers and my friends and the work.
Is there anything you don’t like about school?
Everything I like. I know how to make a three (totally I random I know - hand actions of writing a three in the air).
What are your favourite materials at school. What is your favourite work?
Everything. I like shoe polishing and sandpaper letters. Music with Aiden.
It is obvious that Otis doesn't know very much about Maria Montessori and he isn't aware that his school is different to other schools. I believe this is completely normal for his age and it isn't really anything we have discussed at home. I loved finding out a little more about the work and the material that he is most interested in. Normally when I ask Otis about school I get a run down of what his friends were doing or what they were playing in the playground so it was nice to hear a little more about the classroom. Otis also sounds really settled and positive about school and his work. Have you ever interviewed your children - what questions did you or would you ask?