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Help - Need some info about what to look for in a Montessori preschool.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My daughter is going to be 3 this fall, and I am researching different Montessori preschools in my area. I'll l be observing a Montessori classroom on Tuesday.

I'm not that familiar with Montessori classrooms and how they are set up and conducted, so not sure what is relevant and what isn't.

Since this is my first time observing, what should I be looking for?
post #2 of 4
As calm an atmosphere as possible. Polite students, who work in groups or alone doing their "work" that they most likely have chosen. The teacher in the role of a guide. During introduction of new work you should see the adult teaching by 1)watch me do this 2) we'll do this together 3)child doing the new work. In my dds' last school there was also an emphasis on the environment; recycling, gardening, and ideas for the kids to take home to their own families/ houses. Their current M school has a heavy emphasis on community service and is a requirement to advance, as well as something they practice almost everyday through their work and socialization. In some M schools the children have a certain way to walk through the halls, come together for group and complete classroom chores. There should not be yelling, screaming or violence of any sort. At recess there are no bells at the schools we've been a part of, the teacher will raise her hand in the air, not say a word, and the kids gather to re-enter the building/classroom. Have fun, I hope you like what you observe.
post #3 of 4
Hi! Yes nice description Gr8fulmom. Calm, peaceful, lots of activity but not chaos, especially by this time of year. But sometimes there can be a bit of unsettling occuring before summer. Also, depending on what time of day you go, you will see a different aspect of the work cycle. For example, between 9 and 10 it is generally a settled period (if the work cycle goes from 8:30 to 11:30). Then there is an occurrence called "false fatigue" that hits about 10:30 (restlessness), after which the children choose work that is their biggest challenge or period of highest concentration (from about 10:45 to 11:30) for the day.
There should be a 3 hour work cycle during which the children exercise their ability to choose materials guided by the Directress who works with children individually or in small groups throughout the morning. Both the Directress and Assistant should speak in a soft voice and move slowly and gracefully about the room. There should be a wide variety of work going on: sewing, memorizing math facts, drawing maps, labeling objects, painting, singing, polishing, writing on chalkboards, scrubbing tables, geometry, the pink tower. The children should demonstrate care for the materials and one another. You should see children spontaneously helping one another without being asked, young children avidly watching an older child's work, children giving lessons to one another. The children should place materials back on the shelves in good order. This should be an atmosphere of cooperation and joyful learning.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you both. I have a good idea of what to look for..
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Montessori › Help - Need some info about what to look for in a Montessori preschool.