Adult Roles in Educating our Children

Every day at The Carolyn Barron Montessori School, our faculty and staff are mindful to ensure growth and a pursuit of knowledge in each child.  We have many materials and activities at our disposal to spark wonder and discovery in every child.  However, we consider the partnership between the guide, child, and parent to be irreplaceable and unmatched.  This does not take away from the significance of the materials, the observations of the guide, the preparation of the community, or the importance of the multi-aged make up of the children.

We have observed that the way a child learns is dependent upon his perception of safety and belonging.  All of the adult and peer roles are significant in this observation and in each child’s ability to learn and progress.  First, the child must feel love from others and be able to internalize this and love himself.  As parents, we have the opportunity to establish this immediately in our child through words, actions, and the giving of our time.  We have the chance to kiss good morning or good night, read a story over and over, offer a hug or loving advice.   As teachers or guides, we take the time to get to know each child, we  show respect, observe, offer opportunities and help the child in challenging situations.  These situations may be academic or social.  We can offer words to encourage, listen, guide, and support.  These acts of kindness are usually all it takes for most children to settle into his or her classroom community.

Once the child feels safe and ready to learn, the child will naturally begin to take on personal responsibilities for his/her own education with support from the teacher and parents.  The Montessori communities are organized and set up in a very specific manner in order to aid the child in his/her independence and enhance learning.  Lessons are given, work is completed and practiced repeatedly until mastered.  The child is able and allowed to work undisturbed or he/she may decide to work in a group when appropriate.   The child learns from exploring and discovering, and learns to teach others,  becoming a mentor and a leader to his/her peers.    Along this educational journey, the child excels, but also makes mistakes, but learns to draw conclusions, make predictions, and solve problems.  These characteristics lead the child towards independence and in acquiring the life skills he/she will someday need in order to be a productive member of society.

Parents are our partners in helping their child find success and joy in learning.  Good sleep, food, routines, and friends matter a great deal in the life of children.   A day goes much better for a well rested and nourished child.  However, we are all allowed to have the occasional bad day, children are no exception.   Whether the child is having a bad day at home or school, both teacher and parent need to be in communication in order to help the child move through his/her feelings in a positive manner.

It is true that parents are the child’s first teacher.  School teachers are responsible for serving the parents and children as mentors and guides in his/her educational journey.  It is the partnering together, even in the home that leads to your child’s educational success.  We encourage families to explore and discover together, and create opportunities for independence and responsibility for the child.  The child is a productive and contributing member of the family unit.  The child feels empowered when included in the daily activities of family life.   For advice on how you can help your child at home, please contact your child’s teacher.  

Kelly Whisenhunt

Observing your Child in the Montessori Classroom

Very soon, your child’s teacher will invite you to come in to see his/her classroom environment where you will spend some time observing him/her work.  Typically, this invitation happens after about the six week mark.  This six week naturalization period allows your child to transition and become comfortable with his/her classroom routine.  

As you observe, you may notice a peaceful, home-like setting.  You may notice materials which draw your attention, and perhaps activities that seem new and look  fun to touch or use.  Our spaces are designed to spark interest, to ignite exploration and discovery, and to give each child the experience of working with materials and activities that are real and meaningful.

Many Montessori materials and activities are designed with built-in controls of error which give children  the opportunity to correct mistakes on their own. The ability to self-correct their work  builds children’s self-confidence in learning, and sets them up for success in working with each activity; this also creates a joyful learning experience.  Students still need their teachers, at times, of course.  The teacher is always available to guide and assist each student. He/she gives lessons, making sure the child understands what they are learning, the concepts and materials and is able to repeat, and then finally masters these activities.  Each teacher sets up clear expectations for learning and for how the community should function by modeling grace and courtesy and by showing love, kindness  and encouragement.

In the Lower Elementary community, there are cozy, intimate spaces as well as larger, more open spaces.  Each unique space serves a particular purpose for reading, writing, and other academic work.  These spaces also encourage exploration and group discussion.  All community areas are designed around the distinctive developmental characteristics of children at that level.  A Montessori classroom’s spaces support a  child’s natural need for movement, independence and personal responsibility.  As each child  embraces the freedom to explore his/her classroom environment,  she begins to discover her interests and learning style, as does her teacher.

Montessori is like a bridge from home to school.  You and your child’s teacher are partners in your child’s emotional, social and academic development.  In order for a child to feel a sense of stability and have a positive outlook regarding school, the child’s home and school environments need to be cohesive. Montessori education is an education for the whole child and family.  The Practical Life activities found in the Primary 3-6 year communities are reflective of tasks that can be incorporated in the home environment.  If you have a Primary aged child, please consult with your child’s teacher for advice on how you can help your child in this area of his/her development.  

We enjoy connecting and partnering with our parents throughout the school year with a variety of activities including parent information events.  Please consider joining us on Saturday, September 17th at 10 am (prior to our school wide picnic) for our "Montessori at Home” information session.  And, as always, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher if you would like advice particular to your child’s development.  We are here to support you, and are honored to be in partnership with you for your child’s success!

Kelly Whisenhunt & Lara Hrinko

 

Our Admissions Procedures- Simple Steps, Extraordinary Decision

The admissions processes vary, sometimes greatly, by school and may, at times, be daunting.  At The Carolyn Barron Montessori School we have developed the admissions sequence below in order to ensure our application and admissions process is comfortable, thorough and streamlined for everyone involved. 

We feel it is of utmost importance that our potential new families and students feel at ease during this important decision making process and that they walk away informed and ready to make the decision to join our school community.

We require the following steps in order to complete our admissions process:

 

1.     Parent Observation of Community and Campus Tour:  We welcome and encourage you to come in to get a feel for and understanding of CBMS and the Montessori Method of education and how your child will fit in and thrive in this unique-child centered environment.  Parent observations are conducted by adults only.  Once you have observed, you will have to opportunity to discuss our school and programs with our administration and admissions staff.

2.     Submission of completed application for admission along with application fee.

3.     New Parent, Student and Teacher Meeting:  This step allows prospective students to interact with director/directress of their community and move through and familiarize themselves with the environment and materials.  This is a time for the teacher to evaluate each potential student on an individual basis.  Parents will have the opportunity to ask the teacher questions and get to know him/her. These meetings are conducted in an open, friendly and informal manner.

4.     Classroom Visit:  This step is required for Primary through Middle School applicants; we require a classroom visit for at least one hour- half a day, depending upon class level, during a day in which school is in session.  Classroom visits give students and teachers a second opportunity to interact, evaluate and get to know each other, this time within the community of their peers.  Student are introduced to working within the Montessori Method. 

5.     Receipt of Complete Transcript from former school. This step does not apply to Toddler/Primary students who have had no previous schooling. 

6.     Upon completion of above steps, families will receive an admissions acceptance/decision letter from our admissions department.