Parents Orientation

Last Saturday, we had an impromptu but beautiful parents’ orientation to a Montessori classroom! We had a meeting a week earlier about contribution of food stuffs and the actual preparation of the food for brunch, and water. This meeting was a follow up to these and other matters. By 8:30 a few people had gathered at the school yard. While waiting for more to come we invited those present to visit the classroom where their children spend most of their mornings. And they really took the offer and got to work! They were eager to take out works and try them out so Mary, Issah and I gave a few ground rules and presentations and allowed them to explore and experience a little bit the Montessori Method: finding your work space (mat or table); getting the work, putting it together and returning it at the right place when you are done, and folding and putting the mat back as well. They were fascinated by the objects in the matching activities, the zoology and botany puzzles, the sorting, etc. They really got into it. Eventually, everyone was in the classroom and they started teaching each other. It was moving! You could almost touch their excitement in the air.  They were leafing through a picture story book with such wonder!

Well, for almost all of these parents this was probably the first time they had touched and actually looked through such a book with such beautiful big pictures! Also, they found some of the objects for matching exercise such as scorpion, frog and butterfly so close to the real thing. It took a bit of effort to get them out of the classroom so the meeting could start. I think this first experience also gave parents the opportunity to see concretely and appreciate the work their children do in school. For example, they themselves had to think hard to put puzzles together (they have never had to think that way). 

Following up on the interest and enthusiasm the classroom visit had generated, Mary Azure made a presentation of the knobless cylinders. Issah then focused on the process and its importance for the young child. He demonstrated how knowing how to put the cylinders back in the box is just as important as taking them out and working with them.

We then began the meeting proper. Several parents mentioned their children’s insistence on washing their hands with soap at home after going to toilet and before eating. They refuse to wash their hands in water others have already washed in, which is the normal practice here. This is obviously a challenge for parents. But we are quite pleased that these new practices at school are following the children home already.

Love you all,


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