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Classroom Observations at Wheaton Montessori: Frequently Asked Questions

Categories: For Parents / Visiting Wheaton Montessori

Classroom Observations Have Begun

Classroom observations for WMS parents have just opened for the 2019-2020 school year.  We encourage all parents to observe at least once a semester. If you are new to Montessori, we think you will find that our classrooms are unlike most you have ever seen before. Montessori classrooms are made of mixed-age groupings and the children are free to move about the environment if their movement is purposeful and serves their work.

We know you will have some questions and maybe some comments after your observation experience, and we are here to support you and answer those questions to the best of our ability. This sheet covers some guidelines we ask all visitors to observe and it covers some of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Please take a moment to read this sheet before you begin your observation experience.

What if I am running late or have to cancel?

Kindly call the office (630-653-5100) if you are late or can’t make it at the last minute. If you made your appointment online through Calendly, you can cancel online as well.

What am I expected to do?

Montessori classrooms are dynamic places. Each day, every classroom is a little bit different because of the work the children are doing. The classroom teacher will guide you where to sit while you are visiting your child’s environment. Keep in mind that this is a “child-sized world” designed with the students’  developmental needs, and their scale, in mind.

At any given time, we ask that you try to make yourself as unobtrusive as possible. Please do not initiate conversations with students, correct or comment on their work, or move about the classroom. If you are observing with another person, please refrain from having conversations with them. Your voices are naturally louder than the students’ voices, and they carry farther; this will be a disruption to the students and their work.

Following these guidelines will help the students and teachers continue their work and ensure you have an authentic observation experience. You will get a chance to see a real classroom in action.

 

What might my child do?

The exciting thing about visiting the classroom is that you are witnessing a spontaneous moment in time. Your child’s behavior, depending on her/his age and developmental stage, will vary. Your child might stand next to you. He or she might appear to be “embarrassed” by your presence. Or, you might observe your child “casually” try to show you every lesson they have had. Sometimes children are overwhelmed and behave exuberantly. Just go with the flow by turning your attention to the whole environment and follow the lead of the teacher.

 

What should I do if a child comes over to talk to me?

You can politely tell him or her that you are doing your work (the students are familiar with that concept) and continue to observe. The classroom teacher will always step in and facilitate in any situation where a child is focusing more on an observer than their classroom work, so don’t worry.

What if my child gets upset when I leave?

Each child reacts differently to this separation. Be confident and gently remind your child that you will see him or her later. The teacher will see to it that your child is consoled and guided back to happily finish the school day.

When can I talk to the teacher?

Your child’s teacher might be available to speak briefly before you leave. If she can’t speak to you before you go, she will try to step out and catch you at pick up or drop off times. Conferences are scheduled two times a year, but if you have a question for your child’s teacher, you can call the office to set up a time to chat.

What if I have a question about something I saw?

The teachers want to reassure you that no question is irrelevant or insignificant to ask. Paper and pen are available for you if you would like to jot down a few notes. It is the goal of your observation to see how your child “lives” in the working environment of Wheaton Montessori and then to have a meaningful conversation with his or her teacher.

What do I do if someone asks me to discuss things I observed about their child during my experience?

Politely refer that person to the Parent Handbook, which clearly outlines school expectations and protocol for confidentiality and respect. Observations are designed for you to have a chance to see your  child or children at work. It is never appropriate to discuss what you observed about another child; even positive comments can be taken the “wrong way” or out of context. We ask that you honor these boundaries and use classroom observations only to learn more about your child’s school experience.

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