Parent Engagement at School
Parents are a critical element in the learning of their child both at home and at school. Most attempt, with time available, to become involved with their child’s schooling in some way. Many rely on their child to share information about their day at school to know how to support them and when they ask the question “What did you do today at school?” it is not unusual for children to reply “I did not do much today” or even “Nothing”. So, where to from here?
In most traditional schools it is through the work children bring home, that some evidence of work accomplished is understood by parents. In a Montessori environment, children use the Montessori materials to learn sensorially and concepts get transferred to paper and pencil only once there is understanding of concepts. The lack of evidence of work completed, unfortunately, supports the view of the child not doing much at school.
Helping Parents understand the truth about school work
Nothing could be further from the truth. Children work consistently in a Montessori class. At the Caboolture Montessori School, children enter their class at 8.15am and become engaged soon after with ‘work’. Montessori children work really hard and their level of concentration has to be seen to be believed. It is not unusual for a 3 year old child to concentrate on the puzzle map of Africa for 30 minutes or more. Older students engage with selected activities for hours and most work is self-directed, as is the Montessori way.
So, what about parental figures in this environment? We want carers/parents to be engaged and not just involved. This means that parents are welcome to come and spend time in a class to observe: how children learn, how they freely move, choose work, socialise and support others with learning. Alternatively, providing talents to the class or generally within the school is most welcome. Parents can be part of school function by joining the Parents & Friends Association or School Board.
Parents are there to support their child’s learning, by understanding how our environment supports growth; they are there to foster discipline of their child with teachers; they are there to work as a team with the school in ensuring we know each student personally and meet their needs.
Parents are welcome
Parents, you are critical in your child’s learning, come and enjoy being part of a Montessori class!