Maria Montessori was a doctor and a scientist, who believed in making careful observations of the child, their developing skills, the prepared environment etc and utilize these findings to help the child reach their “full inner potential”.
Observation is a key component of a Montessori classroom and is very helpful in lesson planning /classroom management including resolving discipline issues.
Every Montessori teacher should understand the importance of “Observation” and make a conscious effort to set aside a specific time to observe their classrooms.
Some things to look for would be :
How does the different areas of the classroom flow?
Is the water works in Practical life closer to the sink/drain area?
Is anything blocking the exit door?
Are the areas of the classroom defined for Practical life, sensorial, language, math , cultural ?
Are children restoring the works back to their original ‘spot’ on the shelf?
Are older children doing more of Practical life and not challenging themselves enough with Language/Math?
When is the “False fatigue” hitting the classroom?
Which areas of the classroom need more preparation from the guides in terms of set up?
What works are not being used much?
Observe each child and see what skills are emerging, what sensitive periods they are experiencing etc.
How can teachers observe ? When ?
- Allocate a specific day of the week,maybe “Friday” for observations – don’t give any lessons, just “observe” the classroom.
- If classrooms have camera, take some time to observe them in your administrator’s office/lobby to study the classroom flow/children.
- Lead teacher and Assistant teacher should set some time, maybe once a week to discuss /share their observations about the classroom.
- Maintain a daily journal/note down observations in a teacher’s notebook to review.
Ultimate goal of observation would be to ensure “normalization” of the classroom and for the guides/children to be successful.
The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say , “The children are now working as if I don’t exist” – Maria Montessori.