Montessori Adults 6-12

What is the role of parents and teachers in the Montessori 6-12 community ?

What qualifications do Montessori teachers have?

Essential Elements 6-12
Montessori teachers need specialist Montessori qualifications for the age group they teach eg. 6-9 years, 9-12 years. These qualifications are in addition to NZ primary teaching qualifications.

What this results in …
There is a diversity of Montessori qualifications in New Zealand and  schools decide individually which Montessori qualifications they will accept.
Montessori qualifications can be achieved through distance learning, face-to-face diplomas and as part of a teaching degree. There are NZ-based courses and many overseas courses.

MANZ acknowledges that Montessori teacher education programmes or training courses can be hard to access throughout New Zealand but recommend Montessori courses that provide face-to-face instruction, especially for Montessori curriculum. Montessori teachers will be better prepared when the face-to-face component of the course increases.

MANZ recommends that the number of hours of face-to-face instruction by a Montessori lecturer qualified for the age-level focusing on Montessori curriculum and philosophy be a minimum of 320 hours moving to a full-time face-to-face course over nine months or more.

MANZ recommends that the Montessori course should include a number of supervised practice hours by a suitably (as above) trained and qualified lecturer of at least 160 hours for Montessori primary and that the qualification should include a minimum of 75 hours classroom based practicum.

Questions you could ask the Montessori teachers
What Montessori qualifications and experience do you have?

Questions you could ask yourself while you observe the class
Does the teacher speak knowledgeable and confidently about Montessori philosophy and practice and can the teacher answer my questions clearly?
Is the teacher implementing Montessori in a way which is consistent with these guidelines?

How many adults should be in a Montessori classroom?

Essential Elements
The real work of learning belongs to the individual child, not the teacher and so the Montessori learning community reaches its full potential when the number of adults is kept to the minimum.

What this results in …
There should be a minimum of adults present; in primary the ratio should be between 1:28 to 1:35, unless there is a high number of children with special needs or a narrow age range of children in the class. Sometimes the ratio can be ven higher and the mixed ages and learner-centred approach enable this to be successful.
Parent involvement will be welcomed for specified times and community activities but the Montessori classroom focuses on the children becoming independent, which is possible only when adults are scarce!
Constant interruptions by adults or an imposed timetable detract from the child’s ability to learn to concentrate and to become absorbed in their chosen activity or work.

Questions you could ask the Montessori teachers
How can I contribute to the classroom?
What do you need for me to do to respect the children’s learning space?

Questions you could ask yourself while you observe the class
How many adults are there in the classroom?

How do Montessori teachers develop respectful communities of children?

Essential Elements
The Montessori educator deliberately models the behaviours and attitudes that she wishes the children to learn.

What this results in …
Teachers are exceptionally calm, kind, warm, and polite to each child.
Teachers look like they are enjoying being with the children!
Teachers give frequent ‘grace and courtesy’ lessons to children – gently modelling and showing what behaviour is desirable.

Questions you could ask the Montessori teachers
What grace and courtesy lessons do you give and what is the purpose of these lessons?
How do you help children to understand the behaviour that is acceptable in the classroom?
How do you support children to find solutions to conflict?

Questions you could ask yourself while you observe the class
Are the teachers very dominant and loud in the classroom – or are they calm, quiet and engaged respectfully with the children one on one or in small groups?
Can I see teachers who seem to be enjoying the children?
Is the relationship between the teachers and children warm and interactive?

Why do Montessori teachers spend so much time observing the children?

Essential Elements
The Montessori teacher is a trained observer of children's learning and behaviour. These careful observations enable the teacher to guide the child’s learning.

What this results in …
In order for the approach to be truly child centred and child initiated, teachers are constantly observing what the children’s interests, strengths and dispositions are.
Montessori teachers are hard to spot in a classroom – they will be quietly working with individual children or small groups, presenting new lessons or quietly observing. 

Questions you could ask the Montessori teachers
When you observe my child what kinds of things are you looking for?
How does this support your planning for my child?

Questions you could ask yourself while you observe the class
Do the teachers take time to stand back and observe or are they constantly engaged with children

How do Montessori teachers keep up to date?

Essential Element
Montessori teachers need professional development to enable them to be reflective practitioners and lifelong learners.

What this results in …
Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand suggests teachers should attend 10-12 hours of Montessori-focused professional development each year, in addition to other teaching professional development.

Questions you could ask the Montessori centre staff
How do you stay current with what is happening in Montessori and general education in New Zealand and the wider world?

What is the role of parents in Montessori primary schools or classes?

Essential Elements
Montessori schools work in partnership with parents for the benefit of the child.
Montessori centres foster a dialogue with parents to promote understanding of Montessori philosophy and values.

What this results in …
There is an orientation process to the Montessori learning environment for both the parent and child.
There are opportunities for parents to learn about Montessori philosophy and practice.
There are Montessori books, magazines and resources available to borrow.
Regular dialogue with staff and other written feedback provides parents with information about their child’s learning and experiences.
Montessori is not something that needs to stop at the end of the session. Schools offer suggestions about what you can do at home to support the work that happens at Montessori.

Questions you could ask the Montessori teachers
How can I be involved with my children’s learning in the Montessori environment?
What support do teachers need?
Is there a role for parents on the PTA or parent trust?
What kinds of parent information evenings are offered and how will I know when they are being run?
Are there any books and resources I can borrow that will help me understand more about Montessori?

Questions you could ask yourself while you observe the class
Look at the notice boards in the school – what information is there for parents?
Ask if you can talk to other parents about their involvement in the class.

What is the vision for Montessori in the school?

Essential Element
The Montessori class or school has a clear vision for how it delivers Montessori education.

What this results in …
The Montessori class or school provides written information about its philosophy and vision for its students and its ongoing growth.
The operations manual or management folder with policies and procedures are available to parents at all times.

Questions you could ask the Montessori centre staff
Is there an operations manual or management folder with school policies that I can read?
How does the school promote Montessori to the wider community?
If the Montessori class is part of a NZ state primary school, is there a clear agreement with the the school to ensure that Montessori philosophy is protected?