COMPASS MONTESSORI SILENT OBSERVER GUIDELINES
“When dealing with children there is a greater need for observation than of probing.” -Maria Montessori
Guidelines for Observing a Montessori Class (Open to current parents/guardians and professional development.)
Welcome to the Compass Montessori School. We are pleased that you are taking the time to observe one of our classes. Please complete the form below to request observation. Our goal is to provide a loving, respectful, and supportive environment in which children will blossom into human beings who:
- Respect themselves and others
- Are self-motivated and take responsibility for their own work
- Initiate tasks with interest and enthusiasm
- Complete the tasks they begin
- Respect and care for the environment
- Live in peace with their fellow human beings
The Compass community is guided by “be” statements:
- Be authentic
- Be curious
- Be motivated, intrinsically
- Be socially conscious
- Be inclusive
- Be respectful
- Be in community
- Be connected to the natural world
- Be ready to change the world
Observer Behavior: We have high regard for the children’s classroom environment and take great care to avoid interrupting their concentration and focus. Please follow the following guidelines:
- Please sit quietly
- Do not engage the children or staff in conversation.
- If a child asks who you are or what you’re doing in the class, a polite “Hello, I’m (state your name). I’m here to watch you and your friends work” is appropriate.
- If a child attempts to involve you in a longer conversation, please attempt to redirect them back to work.
- If you have a child in the class, please keep in mind that your own child may be excited by your presence. In any case, his or her behavior in the class may be different than usual.
- Please do not compare your child with others.
- Remember, the more unobtrusive you remain, the better chance you have of seeing the class as it normally functions.
Classroom Environment: A great deal of thought is devoted to the “prepared environment” of a Montessori classroom. Each piece of material has been placed on the shelf to help the child independently develop a particular skill. Each of our classes includes children of different ages so they can help and learn from each other; this is an intentional practice, which naturally creates mentorships within the classroom.
Self-Direction: Notice that children learn in different ways. With some types of materials, you will see groups of children working cooperatively, and with others, you will find an individual child working intently. Still, other children may be walking through the classroom seemingly not engaged in a direct activity. This type of child is often engaged in absorbing the other children and the materials through observation, or their work may involve movement around the classroom.
Role of the Lead and Assistants: The Lead Guide/teacher is a facilitator of the child's autonomous learning processes. The guide prepares the classroom and gives the children the tools to utilize the materials. Sometimes the guide provides direct encouragement or indirect appreciation, and at other times judicious absence. There is a basic respect for each individual child’s particular style of learning in the Montessori classroom. You will also notice that classroom assistants may not seem to be actively involved in teaching. Sometimes, their intentional purpose is to be a calm and gentle presence in the classroom, quietly helping to maintain the environment and unobtrusively supporting and guiding the work with the children. This looks different from how teachers lead classrooms in traditional schools, but it’s an intentional practice.
Sociability: Watch the ways in which the children offer assistance to one another – with the materials and with everyday tasks. Note how the younger children absorb the older children’s work simply by being near them and how, conversely, the older children will assist the younger ones with work they have already mastered. The child’s natural desire to make friends and be part of an ongoing community is ever present in the Montessori classroom.
COMPLETE THIS FORM If you'd like to request an observation, please complete the request form at least four weeks prior to your requested dates.