Parents Observing in Classrooms

We actively encourage all of our parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, etc) to spend some time observing in the classrooms - if we could make it mandatory, we would, because of how much is gained from spending time watching your child work and thrive within the Montessori curriculum. Of course, we particularly encourage this around parent-teacher conferences, and during transitions, but any time of year, we'd love to have our parents check out all of the exciting things happening in our classrooms. Below is a general list of guidance for things you may want to look for in your child's class environment, but obviously, each observer will have a completely unique experience of their visit. If you are interested in coming to spend sometime in your child's classroom to observe, please check in with your child's Lead Teacher to schedule a time that will work best for both you, and the classroom as a whole. We hope to see many more parents learning more about Montessori, and observing the magic that happens in our Family Star classrooms!

Guidance for Observing in Family Star Classrooms

When you are observing children, it is useful to maintain an objective outlook on their individual experiences. In our work with children, we try to see the child for who he really is and what his needs really are, to accept, with love, each changing moment in his life, and to trust that he is progressing on his own path of human development. Observation is the primary teaching strategy we use to determine the changing needs of each child and to provide the appropriate tools and support to meet these needs. When you are observing (especially if you are observing your own child) try to balance between observing an individual child and observing the larger environment; “focus in” for a few minutes, and then change your focus to include the “bigger picture” of the entire environment for a few minutes. In this way, you will get a feel for how children experience a Montessori work cycle. Some target questions about the Montessori triad of the environment, the adult, and the child may help you notice key aspects of this Montessori classroom.

The Environment

Is the physical environment orderly, simple, and beautiful?

Is there a minimum of synthetic materials and commercial toys?

Are routines in places that promote care for the environment?

Is the climate calm, peaceful, and respectful?

Are materials and activities available that meet the individualized needs of the children?

The Adult

Do adults use language that is rich, informative, and respectful?

Does the adult appropriately guide children to engage in meaningful work?

How does the adult set limits and promote self-discipline?

Do adults strike a balance between individual children’s needs and group management?

Do adults seem knowledgeable about Montessori education and child development?

The Child

Are children engaged in concentrated work?

Are children communicating with each other and with adults?

Do children value their environments and the people in them?

Do children initiate activities and independently complete them?

Do different children simultaneously enjoy different activities?