Observation Report: Infants And Toddlers In Montessori School

My observations took place at Forever Kids Montessori School that is located in Lima, Peru. It was a great experience to be able to meet the teachers and children in this wonderful school. This school is conveniently located in a suburban area, majority of parents live within three miles of the school. The school operates from March to December, the days and hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 A.M.-6:00 P.M. and is closed during holidays. The cost for this type of program start at $300 and can go up to $1300 depending on the extra services needed. Most of the teachers I was able to speak with at the school seem to be very happy and have been there for a minimum of four years. Activities include numerous things depending on the time of day. In the morning, as children arrive, they walk up to an apple shape board and find their names to place them on the apple to show they are present. Shortly after the do a circle time to greet the children and take advantage of this time to speak to the other teacher and assistants about the the plans for the day and week.

During the day, the teachers give lessons individually based on the skill level each child, which is what makes the academics Montessori related. The afternoons consist of lunch, monitored nap time (depending on age), more work cycle separated by Pre-kindergarten & Kindergarten, snack, and physical play which mostly takes place outside.

Parents can visit at any time and there are no expectations for parent participation. Field trips are very voluntary, and parents are not required to attend them at all, though mostly choose to come or send their secondary caregiver. There are parent teacher meetings three times a year, at the begining of the program, towards the middle, and before graduation. Parents are required to attend on behalf of their child/children.

The quality of child care stands out in this school. Caregivers are always happy, warm and friendly and ready to jump and assist children with anything they could need. A perfect example that i got to see was when a Micaela got very upset after Pedro took the toy she was playing with during circle time. Ms. Paula, without hesitation turned the situation around by directing Micaela towards the toy bin and picking out another toy. Using a distraction method, Micaela forgot what she was crying about and started playing with a stuffed animal. The teachers are very sweet and soothing but also have a firm attitude to be able to maintain a blanced learning environment.

For the evaluations, the teachers had the students do things – such as somethin the children are very skilled at and something that could use more work, like as sensorial work with blocks. I was also able to observe a child struggling as we was trying to seperate his building blocks, Mrs. Ramirez noticed his struggle and knealed next to him and told him what the best way to get those stuck blocks was to let them to seperate.

All staff are First Aid and CPR certified and are also required to be immunized. The playgrounds are inspected monthly and provisions are made for the safety of the children. The Director checks the playground at least three times a week to make sure there are no holes or cracks in any of the children’s play structures. If there is, the structure is removed or fixed immediately and replaced with something. Teachers are always in ratio in according to the number of children and no matter where a child goes they are always supervised. Around the center is fenced and gated so there is no place that the children can run free.

During my observation period I had the time to witness the State Licensing come through the school and observe everything. The center passed the licensing and everything was in tip top shape. I observed all classes and while all the teachers displayed good handwashing techniques, I was most impressed with the toddlers. The toddlers learned how to get up on the sink (using a stool) by themselves and wash their hands to get ready for snack or lunch. Their diaper changing station was very clean with sanitizers and sprays within an arm reach to clean the station. All sanitizers are not in reach of children and are kept up high.

The environment is overall very neat and kept clean. Teachers have children help clean up their work and messes often, so they learn to clean up after themselves. All classrooms have heat and air condition and can be adjusted manually. The center was very big and had enough extra space for the children. The normal number of children in a room was around twenty-nine with three teachers although, this number changes to less children with a lower age group such as 1-2 year old’s but still have the same amount of teachers. Every child had adequate space and their own person space known as a cubby. What I enjoyed most about this center was, the classrooms all had something known as a ‘Peace Corner.’ This is where children can go and be alone (while a teacher is in the room) and find their peace by reading a book, writing, or simply gazing at the fish tank.

During my time, I observed a child who was not making very good decisions with friends. This child separated himself from his friends and went into the peace corner with a book to find his peace and not get in anymore trouble. The classrooms had very strict but normal rules for the children to follow, one of them being to sit on the circle line quietly and patiently. Normal rules meaning to be quiet when in the line or when someone else is talking, using your words with friends instead of crying, and being honest with everyone. The children did this very well and waited for their turn with whatever the teacher was doing.

In the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and all toddler rooms, all activities and toys are age appropriate for their specific age range. In the toddler rooms the ages consist as young as twelve months and as old as two years old. In the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten rooms the ages are three-year-old to six-year-old. Each classroom has a very good mixture of toys and activities to keep their minds active and busy. Younger children also get the chance to try some of the older age activities. During my time here, I witnessed a six-year-old helping direct a three-year-old on how to count with the appropriate material. I noticed a lot of older children helping younger children and the teachers were very aware and stepped in when it was needed for them to do so. Activities included anything from practicing writing names and words to languages and pulling sounds together to make a new word. Children in the pre-primary classrooms start at the age two and a half and go up to age six. All these children (no matter the age) are required to try and practice writing their names. This helps teachers see where the child is academically and what they need practice on. Teachers also help with highlighting the name or sentences for children so the child can learn how to write in the lines properly.

Infants and younger toddlers have plenty of room to explore, crawl, and walk safely. All the materials and activities are spaced out nicely against the wall, leaving the whole center section of the room empty for children. All infant material and activities are meant to help their senses as well as to help them grow and acquire certain skills. Puzzles seem to be a major activity in these rooms and the infants seem to really enjoy trying to put them together. I observed two twelve-month-old working together on an animal farm puzzle as while they were laughing and having a good time.

The caregivers at the center support quality child care in a way that I have not seen before. I believe these teachers are unique in a way they show their passion for children. The teachers take the time to observe each child and figures out in what area they need help with and pushes them to do their best all while not being too forceful. I noticed a child that has sensory problems and he didn’t know how to express himself properly. The head teacher noticed his difficulties and gave him a hug and put him in something called the ‘peace corner’ and allowed him to separate from everyone to find his inner peace. When this child found their peace, he quietly walked to the circle and joined his friends for story time.

Since the school I observed is a Montessori School, the schools approach and discipline are based on Love and Logic. Love and Logic is the approach of choice among leading educators, parents, and other professionals worldwide. This approach is intended for parents and teachers to make learning and discipline fun and rewarding instead of stressful and chaotic. Misbehavior is usually handled with a distraction. The teachers don’t frown upon the children but instead make consequences for their behavior. For example, a child is being loud during story time, the teachers called the child by name and says, “Oh I guess I’ll have to take your job away for the week if you’re not quiet.” Or “I bet you can’t catch a bubble and sit quietly for me to finish. Let’s see!” Positive behavior is encouraged through a system called “Peace Hero” where children can collect heart stickers for good behavior and are rewarded with a poopsicle once a month.

As an assistant teacher myself, I really enjoyed observing a Montessori School. I really enjoyed learning about the love and logic approach. Another thing I love about the school is, the work and activities for the children are independent based and children have the freedom to choose what they would like to study that day (in moderation of course). One more thing really stuck me about these classrooms, the nature. All the classrooms are filled with flowers, plants, and pets. The nature in the room made the room so peaceful and really brightened it up – not just

Although I love the Montessori approach, I did have some concerns about a few things. My first concern was, there are so many children, sometimes one or two slips away into their own section and do what they like and eventually the teacher notices. If the child is doing what they want every day, how long does this go by before a teacher makes sure they are learning appropriately? Second, I felt as if there should be more teachers to cover breaks and sick days (expected and unexpected). There are only three substitute teachers on call/available when a teacher is away. It seemed very unorganized. I dislike the technology through the school as well and feel it can be updated. Majority of the businesses today have programs which allow employees to clock in and out or fix their times through a computer; this school still has a punch card for their employees and does not offer direct deposit which I feel is very outdated and inconvenient.

I believe this program can improve in just having more available teachers and substitutes. The more teachers, I feel is better and can be very beneficial to a child’s education. More teachers mean more observers in the classroom work setting and allow children to have more support in their everyday learning. I also think it would be better to have a schedule for each child and everyday make sure they are learning a certain subject. For instance, one day they’re learning science and next they’re learning language. It is important to always keep track of what they are doing. I think if they did establish this schedule children would have more room to grow.

16 December 2021
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