Monday, October 31, 2011

Orientation of New Students at Start of School - Montessori Summer Transition

Part 2 of 3 - Summer Transition

NAMC montessori new student summer transition orientation child looks at natureIn Part 1 of this three-part series, I began with some ideas for a phase-in approach to orienting new students in the Montessori 3-6 environment. This basically involves the introduction of new students through a shorter daily work period with a focus on grace and courtesy lessons, rules and routines, along with a phasing-in of the multi-age student body over the first weeks of the school year.

A further option for phasing-in new students came about with the implementation of summer camp at our Montessori school. I found that for many years, my new students often attended our summer camps before the beginning of the school year in the fall. This was an excellent way for new children to acclimate to the school environment. I felt that having a phase in period was not as necessary as before. When I did get some new students later in the fall, it was not difficult to give them the time they deserved to acclimate to the school environment.

Orientation of New Students at Start of School - Montessori Summer Transition

In this instance, I felt that having a formal phase in orientation was not as necessary at the start of the new school year. When I did receive new students in the fall, it was not as difficult to give them the time they deserved to acclimate while the rest of the class, already accustomed to the environment, worked independently.

With the summer camps, I also found this a way to help parents by not having their children attend only an hour and half a day. We would spend the first half of a full morning class time outdoors or in the gym space for free play. Then we would enter the classroom and spend the rest of the morning there. Many of the students enrolling had been in day care in the years before starting Montessori, so they were used to being away from parents.

A shortened day did not seem as necessary as before, especially if I utilized our wonderful outdoor environment. This allowed new children the less structured approach of free play outdoors balanced with a shorter work period. And with the regular class times being utilized it was more convenient for parents. Some years I would start some children a day or two later than the original group, but once the regular school year began they continued their set schedule of attendance.

Related NAMC Blogs:
NAMC thanks Maureen Northacker for this blog contribution.
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 Monday, October 31, 2011.

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