The Music and Literacy Program at West Side Montessori!
The Music/Literacy Program for the Children’s House students is unique to West Side Montessori. It is an integrated curriculum that incorporates music, movement, and literacy. The program enriches all Children’s House students (aged 3-6 years old) with multidisciplinary literacy instruction and blends seamlessly into the Montessori curricula.
The Music/Literacy program is comprised of two parts: whole group music and movement lessons and related small group Literacy lessons. Once a week, each Children’s House class engages in 30 minutes of music and movement: songs, games, dances, silliness, fun, and mindful silence. Then during the work time, literacy lessons are given in small groups. The literacy lessons are related to the music and movement circles. Songs are often written in large print on chart paper for shared reading: interactive “choral” reading experiences in which all the children read the text under the teacher’s guidance. Even the youngest students can be successful in this reading environment because they have already sung the song and they have the support of their classmates and the teacher. The integrated curriculum allows for not only students with high verbal-linguistic intelligence to be successful, but also those with high musical, bodily-kinesthetic, or interpersonal intelligence. After shared reading, children have often said, “I didn’t even know I could read!”
While shared reading is the keystone of the Music/Literacy program, other components of balanced literacy are utilized in the program as well. Kindergartners practice independent reading in personalized folders that contain songs they have learned. They enjoy reading their folders repeatedly and feel rightfully proud of their reading abilities. Filling in the blanks in songs allows for opportunities for modeled writing, interactive writing, and independent writing. Child-drawn Illustrations provide opportunities for reading comprehension.
The Montessori method is evident throughout the program. Each whole group class begins with an original song that expresses Montessori values: “Be peaceful with our things. Be peaceful with each other. Be peaceful with yourselves. Let’s have a peaceful day.” Maria Montessori said, “The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” Children in West Side’s Music/Literacy program are concentrating, learning, and immensely happy.
By, Risa Cohen
Risa is a passionate progressive educator. She teaches an integrated curriculum of Music and Literacy and has been called “a Literacy teacher in disguise.” She holds an M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Bank Street College, has been teaching since 1994, and has been “sneaking” Literacy into Music at West Side Montessori since 2010.
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.