The parent observation is an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of what life is like in a Montessori classroom. We welcome your visit to our classrooms. It may be your first exposure to the Montessori experience, your first time at our school, or you may be observing to find out more about your child's day. In order to give you as clear a picture as possible, we ask that you observe the following procedure when you visit. We also offer hints for observing and interpreting what you see.
A Guide to Observation in the Classroom
When you enter the classroom, you will find an adult-sized chair. This chair is for observation. Please be seated.
When you sit down, children may come up to you. Please try not to engage them in conversation. A polite "Hello" and a direct response as to who you are is fine; then quietly ask the child to return to work. The children understand that observers come to watch them working and they will understand your response in that context. Please do not move around the classroom.
Don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t respond to having you there in the way that you might expect. Children sometimes respond differently to having their parents in the classroom than they do in the normal course of the school day or at home. The skill of the teacher will allow her to guide your child, and depending on the circumstances it may be suitable for you and your child to spend the observation time watching the class together if she/he is not able to separate; however we do encourage parents to wait until their child is settled well into our classroom before observations take place so that the child is not confused about this observation process.
The teacher will not be able to take time from their classroom duties to converse with you during or immediately after your observation. If questions occur to you while you are watching, please write them down. We will be glad to answer these questions by telephone or in person at a later date. Please call to set a mutually agreeable time.
If you are undertaking an observation with another person please refrain from chatting together during this time. Observing a Montessori classroom is a quiet, contemplative experience that you will be able to speak together about when you have left the environment.
Observations are usually undertaken for an hour however you may be able to make arrangements to stay longer prior to your visit. When you have finished your observation please exit the classroom quietly and leave your question sheet on your chair if you wish discuss any areas of the classroom environment or the activities you observed your own child undertaking.