Friday, July 17, 2009


It's the beginning of the school year. New children are nervous. Teachers are nervous. Returning children are bursting at the seams with excitement. Some parents are spent and in a need of a few hours of silence! It's a transition time for all of us. Phase-in is a gradual start to the school year, intended to give the children (specifically the 3's) a positive introduction to the school year. Some of these little ones have never left their primary caregiver, and they're not sure what this whole "school" thing is about.

Here's how phase-in works at our school:
  • First Day- 1 1/2 hour session. Focus: "our peaceful classroom". Some presentations include: sitting on the line, unrolling and rolling a mat, walking around the mats, walking on the line, obtaining snack.
  • Second Day- 2 hour session. Focus: "my name is my sacred sound". Some presentations include: finding my nametag, raising my hand, finding my cubby, carrying a tray, pouring.
  • Third Day- 2 1/2 hour session. Focus: "the peace table". Some presentations include: using the peace table, using the phrase "please do not touch my work", discovering peaceful playground rules, getting the teacher's attention (a single, gentle tap on the shoulder).

This critical period is designed with the child's best interests in mind. The gradual exposure to a new school environment ensures that each child feels safe and secure when leaving their loved one. I thank parents for understanding the importance of this transition time, and I do understand the hassle involved with the short class sessions. I simply remind them that this is just a small step toward their child's positive and healthy, three-year Montessori cycle.

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