Exploring Independence & Enrichment at the Allentown Public Library

At Grace Montessori School, our staff always looks for new and fun ways to enrich our students, both in and out of the classroom. A new elementary student program we’ve added this school year is weekly visits to the Allentown Public Library. Reading is a crucial part of Montessori education, and these trips allow students to enrich the social and mental areas of Montessori methodology, too. 

With oversight from Grace Montessori teachers, our elementary students walk themselves the full six blocks to and from the library, giving them a sense of freedom and independence. Once they arrive at the library, they are encouraged to roam the library, exploring the shelves, and deciding which books interest them. Children’s emotional, social, and academic development improves when they have the independence to make their own choices, which is why it is a key tenant of the Montessori method and something teachers emphasize during our trips to the Allentown Public Library. 

The student’s first trip to the library included the crucial step of receiving a library card. Before it was granted, we reviewed the value of the books they would check out and the importance of keeping them in good condition. After this step, they were able to explore the library. They have full autonomy when deciding what areas of the library to peruse and what books pique their interest. Autonomy is an important part of Montessori teaching, and we allow students to make their own choices within a prepared environment, like the library. 

While searching for books, students can bond with each other, share their favorite books, and talk with their classmates and other adults in the library. Social skills rely on multiple parts of the Montessori method, like language skills, self-regulation, and problem-solving.

Once they find a book that interests them, they check out the book with the help of a librarian. They receive a date that they must return the book, influencing each student’s responsibility to take special care of the book and return it to the library on time. 

After selecting and checking out their books, students enjoy some independent, quiet time and reading. Reading enhances children’s vocabulary, strengthens writing skills, and broadens their understanding of the world. These benefits all transfer back to the classroom into other subjects after the library visit ends, and the weekly visits allow the students to continuously grow and improve these skills in and out of the classroom. Our elementary students truly enjoy these visits, and we are excited to have a great resource just blocks away in the city of Allentown.

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