Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The First Day of Montessori Preschool - Apprehension and Adjustment

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Jordan’s First Day of Montessori Preschool

NAMC montessori preschool first day boy looking at fish
The first day of school arrived, and everyone was full of excitement, anxiety and anticipation. It was wonderful to see all of the returning families and the smiles on the faces of the children warmed my heart! I missed them so much over the summer and it felt great to have them back and eager to be the “big helpers” in the Montessori classroom. Just as thrilling for me was the experience of welcoming all the new students and their families to our Montessori school.

As always, I greeted students individually at the door with a handshake and a warm hello and welcomed them to their Montessori preschool. One of my new Montessori students, Jordan (age 3) entered the classroom looking quite shy and apprehensive. It was clear that he was not yet comfortable shaking hands, so none of the teachers including myself pushed the issue. Jordan was overwhelmed with all of the new faces and I thought he might need a little space to adjust.

The First Day of Montessori Preschool - Apprehension and Adjustment

I bent to his level to make eye contact and asked Jordan if he would like to meet our classroom fish, Monty. Jordan smiled and said yes, so we walked together to Monty’s place in the classroom. As Jordan watched Monty swim in and out of its little castle, I was happy to see the calming effect this had on him.

NAMC montessori preschool first day boy rolling out mat
After a few minutes, Jordan joined circle time already underway and carefully observed. He did not wish to sing any of the songs or finger plays, but he was definitely watching and taking it all in. Jordan seemed to understand the demonstrations of the work mat and table, and the Montessori classroom orientation discussion. He kept to himself for most of the morning and visited Monty each time he heard another child cry or any time he felt uneasy. It is so interesting how a class pet can have such a profound impact on a young child.

NAMC montessori preschool first day elastic board
During work time, Jordan gravitated toward the blocks as well as the elastic band board, and even ate a snack with one of the other boys. He really opened up during outdoor time at the end of the day and was proud to choose the books for story time. He needed a few reminders to use a work mat for the work that he carefully chose, and to tuck in his chair when he was finished at a table, but for his first day at Montessori preschool, he adjusted amazingly well!
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.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.


  1. The first day is hard for many children. I feel so much respect for the way you allowed him to take his time to adjust.

  2. Hi Shelley,

    Yes, the first day is full of emotions for everyone involved and for some children the most important thing you can give them is time.....time to adjust to their new surroundings and time to feel supported and secure. Thank-you so much for your positive feedback!

  3. I found it refreshing to read this story about Jordan. I took time to review my last few days with the students and I realized we often want to rush things. It's important to put ourselves in those little ones' shoes and look around from their perspective. We need as adults to take time with them and observe. We have to be welcoming, peaceful, smily, comforting. The beginning of the school year is a moment where we can use this time to know our little ones and discover what they like, who they are. September is a moment to discover the human being and introduce the routine slowly but surely. It's a time where our job as teacher means something very unique, very special. We bring the children to a new level of possibilities and wonder. I will remember that tomorrow is still September and that my young new students might need more than a pencil and an eraser but need ME and my warmly smile.


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