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Montessori School of Greater Lafayette Blog


Insights and inspiration from our Montessori classrooms.rss


 


Children at work in the Montessori Elementary class.

     October is observation month at our Montessori school. Now that the classrooms have been up and running for six weeks and the children are mostly adjusted to being away from their parents, we invite the parents to spend 15 minutes in the class just observing to see what their children's days are like. Parents are given a clipboard with an observation sheet that asks some general questions about what they see. After class, the teachers read over the observation sheets and respond to any questions or concerns the parents may have at the upcoming Parent/Teacher Conferences. Observation month is offered again in April.

     Parent observations are important to the teachers because they keep us focused on our own observations. "I'm seeing that this child rarely chooses to work by himself. I wonder if his parents will see the same thing? Is that how he is at home or only at school?"

     Observations are important to parents because they can serve as an informative window into a child's day. "I didn't realize she had so many friends at school. Does she ever work by herself?"

     Observations are also important to the children because every child enjoys when Mom or Dad come to visit. "Mom's at MY school watching ME work??? Awesome!" Being a part of your child's day promotes good feelings and almost guarantees terrific dinner conversation.


Children at work in a Montessori preprimary classroom.    

     So what can you expect during your in-class observation? 

  • Your child is going to notice you. If MSGL had the facility of its dreams, each classroom would have a one-way window that would allow you to observe your children from the hallway without changing the dynamics of the class. But, we have the beautiful facility that we have, so we can only offer in-class observations. Your child, especially a very young child, may want to spend the whole time sitting with you and that's okay. You can remind her that she should continue doing what she was doing before you walked in, but don't push the issue. Tell her that you are just watching and not talking, and that may help. With so many children in the class, there is plenty to observe even if your child is sitting on your lap.
  • The teachers will be busy but not in control of the classroom. They will greet you politely then get back to their jobs of presenting, observing, and responding to the children.
  • Children will be doing lots of different things. Some children will be working with Montessori materials, others will be drawing, others will be having snack, and still others may be pouring beans into the dishwater. When you see things that make you curious (or even anxious), write them down! The teachers would love to discuss them with you at conferences.
  • You will see many good things. Ask yourself, are children Concentrating? Cooperating? Leading? Following? Smiling? Laughing? Moving gracefully? Being polite? Write those things down, too.
  • There will, occasionally, be chaos. The children may be adjusted to being away from home after six weeks, but the classrooms are far from normalized. Many children are still learning how to work independently, to share space and materials with others, to care for themselves in the bathroom, to join in group activities peacefully, and to clean up after themselves. Within the span of a 15-minute observation, dozens of things can happen that the teachers would prefer did not happen at all, let alone in front of innocent parents!  But this is also the reason we invite parents in so early: we want you to see the tremendous changes that take place - in the classrooms and within the children themselves - between October and April.


Children working in the Montessori toddler classroom.

​     ​Sign up for an observation time outside your child's classroom. We look forward to seeing all of our parents in our classrooms!

     ~Heather