Montessori Linear Calendar

Learning about the passage of time can be challenging for young children. The order of the months of the year, understanding the day that comes next, and realizing that the passage of time is cyclical can be a lot to learn for young children. 

Visual And Concrete Calendar 

Montessori friendly work tends to progress from concrete to abstract. Understanding time is a very abstract topic. We cannot touch time. We cannot see it. Hear it. Taste it. Smell it. So how can we help our children to learn about time in a more concrete way?  

A linear calendar is a great tool for doing just that! This type of calendar is more concrete than the standard wall calendars we may see in a store. 

This is because we can display the chronological passage of time as it progresses.


You can use a clothespin or other marker to note the day. Each day, you can move your clothespin to show the passage of time.

Children can also see that a full year is really, very big. If you hang the calendar on a wall or lay it all out on the ground, the child can see that the year is very long. Each month picks up where the previous one leaves off. 

The weekends are denoted in red and the weekdays are shown in black, as you can see on the image below.  

You can also see that there are images showing the season. I have printed the northern hemisphere version of our calendar. However, this set of printables does include a southern hemisphere version! 

Circle Time Calendar 

To practice and take our knowledge of the time to the next level, I created a calendar activity sheet and additional resources. We use these during our morning circle time. I initially used activities like this when I was in the classroom a few years ago, but lately, we are enjoying this at home with my two children. 

You can see an overview of some of the materials that we may use to discuss the passage of time, the date, the weather, and even the phase of the moon! 

There are a lot of components on this table, so let’s break it down and discuss how I would use it with the children! 

Days Of The Week

To start, we typically sing the days of the week song. This ends with us [me] saying the date. The children will repeat it after me. 

Something that was very fun when I was teaching, but only if you know the little ones will be able to focus afterwards… was asking them to jump the date! 

For example, I can say, today is “Monday, November 9, 2020. Can you jump 9 times?!” They would jump, and we would count each one as they do it. This way, we are getting some gross motor AND practicing number order at the same time.

Because I am a wheelchair user, I could never properly jump with my children. Instead, what we call me “jumping” is when I pop a wheelie. I would do this along with them! It was really, really fun and silly, ending with lots of smiles and giggles!  

Just make sure your students will be able to return to focusing and participating after such an exercise. 

Jumping and wiggling around is not always a great idea. Some quieter or calmer alternatives we have enjoyed are: 

  • whisper the date (you count until the date)
  • clap the date 
  • stomp the date 
  • tap the date

To reinforce the days of the week, we used our days of the week spinner!

The child can turn the circle to show the day that it is today. I used a brad to attach the cover to the circle. The parts spin so only one day is showing. 

Another visual that we keep on the shelves is the days of the week sheet. The children can move the clothespin to indicate the day that it is. 

I do keep both the circle material and the full sheet on display. I have two children so they can each move one of the materials. More than this convenient division of work, I like to have multiple representations of such materials. Children can see the days of the week over and over in different ways. 

You can see an overview of some of the materials that we may use to discuss the passage of time, the date, the weather, and even the phase of the moon! 

There are a lot of components on this table, so let’s break it down and discuss how I would use it with the children! 

Month And Seasons

As well as reinforcing the day of the week, you can explore the month in different ways. On our table, you can see I have added one month. 

I really, really recommend displaying the linear calendar on a wall completely or laying it out on the floor in order for the child to see the passage of time in a concrete way. However, I have also printed a second version that you see below. 

The month pages each have an image that is relevant to the season (depending on where you live). As an extension, we have even matched the Color Box 3 tablets to the images. This is not necessary. 

However, what you can do is show the children the changes in seasons as the months progress using the full linear calendar. You can discuss the differences as time goes and how the seasons are cyclical. These are important talking points! 

In addition, you can see below that the calendar sheet also includes a space for the child to select the season. 

Weather And Moon Cycle

Another item on our calendar sheet is the weather. This impacts children very much. It is important for them to understand that different types of weather will require different types of clothing and will feel differently, as well. 

You can use the cards provided in this material to discuss different types of weather. A visual showing that it is raining outside may make it easier for young children to understand the need the wear rain boots when heading outside later in the day. 

Watching the moon cycles can be very interesting and exciting for children! We can watch the phases of the moon and then study the moon in more detail. 

How Long Does It Take?

All in all, this routine doesn’t need to take very long. We can go through the linear calendar, sing the days of the week song, and fill in the calendar sheet within 5 to 10 minutes. 

How long we spend depends on the amount of stories, observations and interest the children have.  

We use this time to spark interest, chat, and really bond more than anything. 

Very importantly, I listen to their observations. This is the same whether I am doing this at home with my children or when I am teaching at school, with my school children. 

This time is not meant for me to talk or “be in charge”. The children lead the dialogue. 

  • What does the weather look like?  
  • How do you think that feels?
  • Hmmm, I wonder what kinds of clothes should we wear? 

I listen to their observations, but I don’t correct them. I’ve had children tell me it was snowing when the sun was shining. There can be many reasons for silly answers, but whatever it is, I write it down and make a note to review vocabulary or work the problem. 

You also don’t need to ask all of the questions each time. Let the conversation flow and see where it leads you. If the children are not engaging, don’t try to drag it out. Move through the “needed” content quickly and try again on another day! 

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