Children's Choice Montessori

Why i chose to become a montessori teacher

When I was a senior in High School, I worked at a Day Care Center near my home after school.  It was just a Day Care; There was no attempt made to educate or enrich, it was a place for children to be while mom and dad were at work.  I enjoyed working with the children, but I had no idea how much more a preschool program could offer.

In college, I looked for work at a nearby Child Care facility and found a Montessori School. I had no idea what Montessori was, but it was only a few blocks from my apartment. So, I applied and got a job teaching music to a group of 4–6-year-olds. During my interview, the Director told me that she only admitted children of single parents, or parents who were in school. I expected the children to be ill behaved and in need of constant direction. Boy was I wrong!

On the first day of work, I observed the children to be extremely polite and well behaved. I was teaching a song with hand motions and movements, which the kiddos at my old Day Care loved, and during my lesson one of the children kept moving away from the group towards the classroom shelves.  When I inquired about it, one of the other children said, “She wants to work.”.  Work? I thought to myself.  Why would a child want to work when they can play?  I had never known preschool children to behave this way.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was the Montessori method that had helped shape these young children’s behaviors.

When College was out for the summer, I started to work full time in one of the Montessori Classrooms.  I had a wonderful supervising teacher from Pakistan who took me under her wing and taught me a lot about the Montessori method.  I was determined to take the Montessori training for my Teacher Certification.  I paid $900 for that training, which seemed like a fortune to me at the time, but it was the best investment I have ever made.  I taught for many years for other people, and then decided that I was never 100% in agreement with some of the philosophies and practices of my school Directors. So, in 1993 I started Children’s Choice Montessori in Springfield, Oregon.  It has been so rewarding to provide a Montessori program for so many children, and these days, children of former students.  We appreciate your trust in our program, and our talented staff.

Carla McQuillan, Executive Director

Children’s Choice Montessori

Tips and tricks for Birth to six continued

First Day of School

Wait a few weeks before coming to visit. Depending on the child, once s/he has become familiar with the new process and its program, it is then acceptable for the adult to schedule a visit or remain a little bit longer in the environment. Generally speaking, after two to four weeks the child has internalized the routine and understands the environment to the extent that s/he no longer perceives the parent as a part of it. This makes visits and separation a little easier. Please note: for whatever reason, the third day in a new facility tends to be the most difficult day for separation. If you can successfully complete separation with the child as described earlier, it is likely that subsequent days will become easier and easier.

Though it is not at a conscious level, the child thrives on the attention that is given and the ability to keep the adult engaged for as long as possible. Once the pattern develops, it is very difficult to break.

Sometimes, as the child has adjusted to a new school environment, the parent will actually facilitate separation issues. Calling the child back for a last hug after s/he has begun to get involved in an activity brings the child‘s attention back to the parent’s departure. The child’s involvement is your golden opportunity to slip away without event. By all means, avoid returning to the child once you have walked out the door.

Sometimes children regress in their behaviors even after months or years in the same school. This does not always indicate that there is a problem within the program. It is more likely that something has changed in their day-to­ day routine to encourage the child’s hesitance or tears. For example, moving to a new home, the addition or absence of family members in the home environment, or a change of routine can result in separation behaviors on the part of the child.

Remember that what may seem to be an insignificant change from the adult’s perspective could seem monumental in the eyes of the child. Something as simple as eating breakfast before dressing, the absence of a familiar morning greeting or arriving to school a few minutes earlier or later than normal can trigger this change in behavior.

Dr. Maria Montessori understood the importance of routine and consistency in a child’s life. It is said that you have struck the perfect balance of home and school when the child does not want to go to school in the morning and is not quite ready to go home at the end of the day.

Carla McQuillan, Executive Director

Children’s Choice Montessori

Patterns of Behavior: First Day of School. Copyright© 2008 by Hope in the Children, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tips and Tricks for birth to six

First Day of School

When a young child starts in a new school program, it can be a very intimidating process. By the age of two­ and-a-half, three, or four, the child has become accustomed to being at home, being in a home daycare, or in another childcare facility. The child has come to understand and be comfortable with the process of whichever environment s/he has known. Any type of change requires adjustment.

Contrary to the adult perspective, it is quicker and easier for a child to adjust to the new school environment if the attendance is regular and consistent. In other words, five days a week is easier for the child’s adjustment than two, three, or even four days per week. This is in part because children have virtually no concept of time at this age. A regular schedule presents more repetition, and therefore, a consistent pattern emerges more rapidly than in an intermittent schedule.

With all this in mind, there are some basic procedures that will make this transition easier for both adult and child.

  1. When bringing the child to the new facility, be sure to enter with confidence. Be cheerful and positive. Give a quick hug and kiss, wish the child a good day, and depart from the center as soon as possible. Lingering in a school will only give the child the impression that either you are apprehensive about the situation or that you intend to remain. The longer you stay, the more you become a part of that environment in the child’s mind, and the more difficult it will ultimately be for you to leave. Please remember, if you are comfortable and confident with your departure, the child will be as well. If you break down and cry, the child will react to you and become concerned. This transition is typically more difficult for the adult than it is for the child. For the child’s sake, please try to refrain from showing negative emotions.
  2. If the child shows hesitation or reluctance, it is imperative that you smile. Reassure the child that it will be fine. Say your goodbyes and move quickly out of the facility. A lengthy interaction meant to address the child’s concerns will only make the situation worse.

Stay tuned next week for more tips and tricks!

Carla McQuillan, Executive Director

Children’s Choice Montessori