Friday, August 31, 2012

Buon Compleanno, Maria Montessori!

Happy 142nd Birthday, Dr. Montessori!  You've certainly changed my life and the lives of millions.  Thank you for your knowledge, your patience, and your perseverance.  We are doing our best to keep your Method as pure and authentic as possible.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A New Goal for a New Year

At the end of every summer, our teachers get together on our first work day for a group staff meeting.  We review last year's primary goal and discuss whether or not we met the goal.  Next, we take that response and create a new goal for this school year.
Last year's goal at our school was:  Get the Parents in the Door!
We wanted our parents to learn more about what we do and figure out why they send their children to a Montessori school.  Some parents remark that they can't believe their children "behave" for us in school because they are so "bad" at home.  I cringe because children are neither "good" nor "bad".  They just respond to their environment and the people interacting with them in that environment. It is up to us to help create a positive response to that environment.  We wanted to get the parents in the door, so they could learn some tools from us to use at home.  Simple remarks or gestures used with children go a long way.
So....the consensus was..... we were not as successful as hoped in getting them in the door.  We did have more guest readers and career talks than the previous year, but parent workshop attendance was at an all-time low.  I sent out an email asking parents what we could do to make a change and the responses were shocking.  Many parents said, "We're just so busy, if you want us to have to require it."  Yikes.  I'm a Montessori teacher, I'm not really into "forcing".  However, I'm also a busy mom of three and I know how it is after school.
So..........this year's goal became:  Educate our Parents.
We will continue to encourage parents to come into the classroom.  But, in addition, we will now require attendance at several workshops.  We will continue to offer transition meetings for kindergarten and toddler levels, but we will also present a Montessori 101 Parent Education Series.  The workshops are short and sweet, only about an hour each, and are meant to be informative and inspiring.  Many Montessori schools across the globe require these parent workshops, and it makes all the difference.  As a result, many parents feel a closer connection with their child and the school community.
We strive for our parents to:
  • understand why we call our activities "work" and not "play"
  • address and diminish some of those pesky Montessori myths
  • reflect on why we send our children to a Montessori school
  • be able to give some differences between traditional preschool and Montessori preschool
  • explore the materials in our Math, Language, Practical Life, Sensorial, and Cultural areas
  • identify ways in which they can bring Montessori into the home
I'm looking forward to working as a team with our children, parents, and teachers in order to create a respectful, joyful, peaceful community of multi-age learners.