Role of the Teacher
The role of the adult in a Montessori school is different than you will find in a traditional preschool. It is the prepared environment that calls to the child to interact with the materials he finds there; the adult does not engage in direct teaching in the traditional sense. Instead, when the adult sees that a child is interested in a particular material, the adult invites the child to a lesson, shows the child how to do that work, then steps back and allows the child to work with that material until satisfied.
Because the child works directly with the materials in the environment, the adult’s role here is to prepare and environment that is ideally suited to the child of this age. The adult makes sure that the material is clean, beautiful and in perfect working order. The adult enhances the environment with beauty by including cultural décor, plants and flowers.
The teacher in a Montessori prepared environment will model the behaviours she would like the child to adopt. Through observation as well as formal instruction, children are taught proper lessons in grace and courtesy, how to protect workspace, the correct use of language, and of course, respect and kindness for all.
The Role of the Parent
The Montessori experience for the child ideally is consistent throughout the day. The main tasks of the young child are to gain mastery over his own body, take responsibility for most self-care routines, assist in caring for one’s environment and learn many of the rules and social graces that enable us to live together. It is essential that the school and the parents work together to provide the child with as much consistency as possible. Parents and the school should engage in on-going cooperation through in-class observations, attending parent talks and one-on-one dialog with the school to foster the optimal experience for the child.