Entering The Montessori Preschool Classroom
A teacher or helper will greet each child at the classroom door in the morning. We encourage the children to enter using a quiet voice. This is the first of many “Grace and Courtesy” lessons in the Montessori curriculum. You can set the example by speaking in a quiet voice to your child as well as to other parents. Kindergarten children may enter the classroom independently and begin their morning work.
You can prepare your child for this separation from you by explaining that The Children's Schoolhouse is a special place for children to work. (Parents have special work in other places.) Parents may not enter the classroom with a child. Give your child a hug at the door and allow him/her to enter the room on their own. You may want to practice this at home. Have fun praising your preschool child for such independence! According to Montessori philosophy, a child of 3-3 ½ years old should be working on a measure of independence from adults. The Montessori classroom offers this experience to the child.
It is natural for some children to experience some degree of discomfort while adjusting to a new environment. We have a strategy planned that helps to ease this transitional discomfort. The plan is as follows: if your child begins to cry when entering the classroom please allow the teacher to take your child from you and into the classroom quickly. This approach is the least painful for the child. This gives the child the opportunity to recover quickly, rather than lengthening the process of separation at the door. Too many hugs and kisses at the door prolong the separation process. Give plenty of hugs in the car and one big hug at the door. Preparing your child for their one special hug at the door will help. Be assured that this is a process and may take a little time.
If your child does cry on entering the classroom, please follow the policy guidelines and wait around the corner in the hallway. We will have this designated space marked for you. When your child settles down, a teacher or helper will come and let you know that this has happened. You may leave at this time and enjoy your day! If, after a reasonable length of time, your child remains unduly distressed, a teacher or helper will come and get you. It is harmful for a young child to experience extreme distress for a long period of time. We hope that all the children are ready for such independence; however, we may discover this is not the case. Sometimes a child may need to wait a few months or so until ready to separate from the parent. We want your child to be happy and comfortable with the school environment. Do not project to your child your own anxieties about separating him/her. A child’s prolonged anxiety in the hallway may upset other children who are trying to enter the classroom.
Regular attendance is important to your child’s experience at The Schoolhouse. If you know in advance that your child will be absent for a period of longer than three days, please let us know in writing. When your child is absent due to illness or other circumstances, it is not necessary to call us on a daily basis.
DISCIPLINE - TIME OUT
Discipline is gentle and simple. We use “time out” to encourage cooperation and responsibility. We find no merit in punishment or causing shame in a child. On occasion, a child may be asked to sit in “the peaceful chair” to take a little time to settle down. The Directress reserves the right to ask families to leave the school if a child’s behavior is physically or emotionally hurting him/herself or another child, or who, in her opinion, has physical or emotional health concerns that are beyond our capacity to care for. There are occasions when the Directress may require a child/family to become involved with a family counselor in order to continue in the school.
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION IN THE PRESCHOOL
From time to time, you may want to peek in the classroom through the glass in the door. Please do not let your child see you. You will get a better indication of what your child is doing in the classroom if he/she is unaware of your presence. We want your child’s work or activity to be undisturbed, as well as the other children in the classroom. The school doors are locked. When you want to observe, call the school number from your cell for entry.
Children’s work is sent home on a weekly basis. It is important to remember that there are many types of work done in the Montessori preschool classroom. Most work is not done on paper. If a child does not bring home any paperwork, it is not an indication that works has not been done. Please be sensitive to this. In a Montessori school, children are working on many developmental levels. Each child is encouraged to feel comfortable and safe in his/her individual developmental process. One of our goals is to help the children feel good about what they accomplish as individuals. Another goal is to challenge each child in the developmental process. We do not push children in our program. We strongly believe that learning should be fun!
The children enjoy celebrating their birthdays in school. On a child’s birthday, we celebrate with “a walk around the sun.” The birthday child holds a globe and walks around a candle the same number of times the earth has been around the sun since the date of his/her birth. The candle represents the sun. This is a special moment for each child. If possible, please send pictures of your child from birth to recent birthday age to share at group time. In celebration of this very special day, you may wish to honor your child by donating a book to the school.