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