Observing a Montessori Classroom

montessoriobservations.jpg

One of our absolutely favorite things to do is to showcase our classrooms. We believe in transparency, thinking that the more people can see, the more they’ll come to understand. In our estimations, a lack of transparency has been one the greatest obstacles to the success of Montessori, and it’s our desire to try to open things up. Having the opportunity to see a Montessori classroom in action can be an incredible experience. In the least, it prompts a number of questions, both simple and complex. Ultimately, and this is our greatest hope, it can help observers make an informed decision, not only on the education of their children, but also on the perceived societal value of early childhood education.

We encourage current parents to schedule a time to observe, keeping them up to date through photographs and daily conversations, but we do not make it a requirement. With prospective families, however, especially those with no previous experience of Montessori, we do make it a condition of acceptance. Of course, the way we see it, it’s not about us, but it’s about them. Primarily, we want to ensure that Montessori is the right fit for their family. It also, and at the same time, provides a wonderful opportunity and insight into how people think about education.

With anything, the further down the hole you travel, the harder it gets to try to keep that surface perspective. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that this is the only way to do things. We must always try to keep in mind that different families have needs, expectations and desires that might exist outside the parameters of what they envision as Montessori. It’s not our task to tell families what to do, but merely to showcase what we do, seeing if it’s the right fit for them.