At the end of the school year, Mia’s Montessori school has a “Moving Up” Ceremony. This is the day to celebrate the end of the school year and to celebrate those moving up to the next level.
In Montessori schools, children are in multi-aged classrooms. At Mia’s school, there are four levels: Toddler (18 months to 3 years), Primary (3 to 6 years), Junior Elementary (7 to 9 years), and Senior Elementary (9 to 11 years). The idea is to encourage learning by observation and interaction with older children, provide leadership opportunities, and encourage collaborative work.
Our recent Moving Up Ceremony was a delightful affair, with all students in attendance along with many of the parents. The children sat in four separate circles for each level, with a string around each circle (representing the “ties that unite us”). For those that were “moving up” from one level to another, they individually crossed over wooden bridges from one circle to the next, where they were greeted by their new/future classmates. In preparation for moving up, all those students have been visiting and interacting with the next level classes throughout the past semester, so they already know the teachers and the students.
It was a lovely ceremony, complete with songs by all the children, and the weather cooperated marvelously. Afterwards, all the families, teachers and staff enjoyed a picnic lunch on the campus.
The picnic was in the Junior/Senior Elementary yard, so not only did we get to picnic with all of our friends from all the Primary classrooms, we got to play on and observe the older kids climbing abilities. It was such an exciting day, Mia didn’t want to leave.
As a refresher on Mia, she didn’t do the Toddler program at all since she was home with Mama and/or Papa for the first three years of her life (lucky, lucky us!!!), not to mention we were out of state and/or country for most of her first three years. She began this fall in the Primary program, as the youngest (and smallest) person in her class. She was in a class with two fully trained Montessori guides (“guide” is preferred over “teacher”, that is the subject of another post altogether) and 24 students, aged 3-6 years old (3-7 by the end of the year). So next year will be her second year in the Primary level (she won’t be the youngest anymore), and although she did not “move up” to a new level this year, all the students participated in the Ceremony. In these pics, she was sitting right next to the bridge between the Primary and Junior El circles.