Parent education, regardless of where you teach, what philosophy or what age, is important and often a challenge. With Montessori the philosophy and learning needs to extend into the home environment in order to be truly effective. Thus, parent education is even more critical to the success of the child.
“Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.” ~ Dr. Montessori
As part of my training, we had to come up with outlines for parent nights. The one below is focused on giving insight into the Sensorial area of the classroom. Parents seem to want to know that you care for their children across all areas of development, whether fair to educators or not, such as emotionally, socially, cognitively across various ‘disciplines’ (with language and math appearing to be the most popular with parents) and so on. Touch upon those areas as best you can throughout your time spent with them. These evenings are invaluable and, while the time may not always go as planned, are vital to staying connected with parents throughout the year.
Start Time: The evening will begin at 6:30pm to give parents enough time to get to the meeting from work or other engagements and to get home in time to spend time with their children before or at bedtime.
Length: The evening will run for approximately one hour. The event would not allow children in order to maximize parental attention and focus. Plus this evening is an evening for parents to experience the wonders of Montessori on their own time. There would be light refreshments served to parents available in the Practical Life area of the classroom with a few demonstration trays set up for spreading and vegetable chopping.
Introduction to Sensorial: Bring parents to the classroom’s Sensorial area. Give brief overview of purpose and aims of Sensorial materials, noting range of materials, variations and extensions. Offer easy & accessible ways to bring Sensorial learning into the child’s home orally and with a handout for parents to carry home.
Sensorial Lesson: The lead teacher will give a lesson on the Trinomial Cube with assistant acting as child. The Cubes give a visual image of algebraic concepts. Furthermore, the beauty of the material coupled with the indirect preparation for geometric thinking especially in later years is particularly powerful for parents to witness. The idea that a 3 year old can begin to build a math foundation for concepts as advanced as algebra is significant. The lesson will have a positive impact on the view of the Montessori approach and will impress parents.
Parent Exploration: Allowing the parents an opportunity to be hands on with the material is key. I want them to be able to experience the materials within the classroom. I will offer parents an opportunity to present the material to one another (with guidance from a lesson handout and illustration sample from my album) as well as to work with the material.
Environment: There will be a series of quotes throughout the classroom addressing the sensorial curriculum. The entire evening will take place within the Montessori classroom.