As a parent and now a teacher in a Montessori setting, I have some thoughts on what it means to have a successful parent night.
How to Have a Successful Parent Night
- Let parents know that you love their children and will care for their well-being in your classroom
- Teach the 3 period lesson. Easy and they can put it in their back pocket.
- Keep parents engaged by walking them around the classroom and introducing the various areas in a Montessori classroom
- Give a lesson on an early and later stage material
- Give an overview of what's to come in the next week, month, first half of the year and end of the year for their children
- Give them resources to integrate Montessori at home like this eBook or a simple handout
- Make sure they have your email address on an overview hand out
- Offer opportunities to contribute to the classroom beyond “typical” parent volunteer duties. A parent may have a special talent, interest or connection that would be of great interest to the children in your classroom.
- Address trouble spots before they do (e.g. their children eating the right foods and drinking enough water)
- Emphasize PROCESS when talking about the work the children are doing in the Early Childhood classroom (even art!). Math, in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom, is about developing a mathematical mind and problem solving skills, not learning multiplication, for example. Describe brain development going from concrete to abstract during those first six years of life.
- Make them feel comfortable about their children developing social skills. What does it mean to be social in a Montessori classroom? Socialization is about learning how to respect others time, work and space. The Grace and Courtesy “curriculum” is impressive to parents because these are often the struggles we parents face in the home.
- Help them understand that Practical Life is not about learning how to polish silverware. Sure, there are plenty of real life terrific indirect aims. Practical Life is about completing a work cycle and developing fine motor skills. Montessori get criticized often for the work being outdated – especially in the Practical Life area – but that is a matter of education on the purpose of Practical Life.
- Explain your role, that of the director, in the classroom
- Give them a hand out and resources on Positive Discipline. Talk about how the approach might be used in the classroom.
- Offer Montessori quotes for insight into the Philosophy and the life of Dr. Montessori (Wh0 was Dr. Maria Montessori?)
- Make it fun and have a sense of humor!
- Always offer time for questions and answers.