I also know that while you are relaxing, many Montessori teachers are also reflecting upon the school year and looking ahead to the start of a new one. We can’t help it; we think of our Montessori students – what worked for some, what did not, how we can bring new extensions to activities that were really successful, what areas of the Montessori classroom need updates or enhancements? Creative ideas seem to come when we have the chance to unwind and gain new perspective away from the classroom. Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy the anticipation and preparation of a new school year.
Summer Vacation for the Montessori Teacher: Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reflect!As you are lounging by the pool, pull out your observation records from the school year. Do you notice any patterns? Were there any aspects of the physical Montessori environment that did not work? Were there any specific materials that were problematic?
Perhaps you can visit your Montessori classroom as the new school year approaches. Ask a fellow Montessori teacher to come with you. With their fresh and objective eyes, what do they see that may be improved in your Montessori environment? What changes can you implement to help things run more smoothly? How can you help the flow of movement and the sequence of Montessori materials?
Use your observation notes to think about specific students and what you can do to address their changing needs in the upcoming school year. Consult with the teachers of students who will be new to your Montessori classroom for input, suggestions, and pertinent history. Offer to meet with the teachers of students you had that are now moving to another class. Review the cumulative and official records of all of your students, taking into account any Individual Education Plans and other plans that may help in your preparation.
Planning a mid-summer or back to school mixer for your Montessori students and their families is a fun way to stay connected. If you have a class parent representative, be sure to coordinate with them. Also consider writing a mid-summer or back-to-school letter to your students. Let them know that they are special to you, year-round.
Professional development opportunities are available, even during the summer months. Montessori and education organizations offer conferences, the local board of education might offer workshops, and local groups (such as your city’s zoo) will often target teachers for classes and workshops. Check the class listings at the local community college and through the community education program (often through the county government). Don’t overlook the federal government. For instance, every summer the National Endowment for the Humanities offers highly interactive and interesting workshops for educators that include a small stipend.
While traveling with your family, gardening, playing at the beach or lake, or cooking up some new recipes on the barbecue, look for inspiration for the upcoming school year. Visiting new places, family, and friends can provide insights for refreshing your Montessori curriculum. Books, websites, and activities can find you at the most surprising time. When you relax and prepare during the summer break, you will be able to return to school in the fall as a rested, enthusiastic, and prepared Montessori teacher.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.