Please schedule your visit with Joan, so we don't have too many new adults in the classroom at any one time. Due to the wide interest in the Montessori approach and our responsibility to the children, we ask to please allow the children four to six weeks to adjust to their new setting before visiting.
Understanding how the Montessori classroom works may help you with your observation and assist your understanding of the goals we are pursuing.
The teachers are present to guide the children in their learning. This includes presenting new materials and work, assisting children with chosen work, and reinforcing ground rules that permit all the children to engage in their activities in an orderly and undisturbed manner.
1. Please be as unobtrusive as possible. For the first 20 minutes or so please remain in the place designated for you and observe the classroom at large. If you would then like to move around to better observe a specific activity or child, please do so in a way that will not distract the children from their activities.
2. The children are used to being observed, but if you are asked why you are visiting, give a brief reply that you are here to see the children work.
3. Ask yourself:
Is the environment conducive to learning?
Are the children able to move about freely and choose work that interests them?
Are the materials easily accessible?
How is the noise level (speaking tone of teachers and children)?
Are the children kind to each other?
Do the children learn from one another?
4. Once you have observed the group as a whole, concentrate on one child working or a group of children working.
What seems to be the length of time spent on an activity?
Is the child choosing the work and staying with it?
Is the child interested in the work?
Does the child seem positive and happy with what he or she is doing?
5. Teachers should be the catalyst for the child’s learning. Observe the adults working with children or presenting materials.
Do the teachers display patience and enthusiasm?
Are the teachers aware of the children’s needs?
Do the teachers reinforce appropriate behavior in the classroom?