Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Vacation for the Montessori Teacher: Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reflect!

NAMC montessori teacher summer vacation relax reflect woman gardening
Ah, summer vacation. A time for Montessori teachers to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate. I know that has always been the case for me and my Montessori colleagues. So enjoy – you deserve it!

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.

NAMC montessori teacher summer vacation relax reflect father reading map with children
Research your local resources (historic homes, nature centers, etc.) and begin to determine what field trips or service learning experiences would be best for the new school year. I am always amazed at the rich cultural, historic, and natural venues that are available, right in my home town. Coordinate your master schedule for the year with the school administration and other team members. Once you are confident about the schedule, you can begin to book your field trips.

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.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.

2 comments:

  1. I do love this blog and the information it contains - it always helps me to be a more reflective, thoughtful educator. That said, I sometimes wish that the assumption of posts here wasn't always that of the 8:30-3:00 school day, 9 month school year. Advice like suggesting a teacher set aside time to speak to his or her co-teacher before and after school doesn't help the classroom where one teacher works from 7:30-3:30 and the other from 10-6, with no time available WITHOUT some children in the classroom. Taking time to reflect during a break in the summer doesn't work when you don't have a summer vacation. Although much of your suggestions can be adapted to the more challenging format of all-day all-year Montessori school, it would be awesome to see some specific thoughts about how these teachers can still somehow carve out the time they need for development and communication. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You make a very good point, and we have recently posted two more articles on teacher collaboration that may offer some alternatives for teachers who are challenged to find time for face-to-face meetings. Thank you!

    http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2011/01/collaboration-among-montessori-teachers.html
    and
    http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2011/02/collaboration-among-montessori-teachers.html

    ReplyDelete

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As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.

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