The transition to online school was most challenging for our primary students. For a young child who can not see COVID-19, it is difficult for them to understand what it is and why the world had to instantaneously change as a result of the virus. The children are grateful to be home and have more time with their parents, while at the same time they miss being at school enjoying time with their teachers and friends. The transition to online presentations and the absence of love and interactions from their teachers has been difficult for our primary children. Removing the child’s ability to choose what they are interested in at the moment and transition throughout the day and instead having to attend a pre-planned group presentation has been challenging. Although our “new normal” routine is different the children have proven to be fast adapters (as well as our teachers!). Some days go more smoothly than others, some presentations are more successful than others, but there is never a session without smiles, joy, love, and learning. We are so proud of our children.
Our Primary on-line education began with groups of four children. We quickly learned that in an on-line environment, where only one person is able to talk at a time and where lots of noise makes communication and flow of information impossible, we reduced the group sizes to two children. The smaller class environment greatly improved the child’s ability to focus and absorb the Montessori concepts being introduced. In order to make on-line Montessori possible, the teachers are working very hard to create printable materials for all lessons such as stamp game, decimal system, zoology, botany, geography, and more! Materials are uploaded for parents to print and have prepared for the children to use with the teacher when presentations are given in their online classes.
Creativity is of the utmost importance in making this all happen. The teachers use substitute bead material, such as beans to work with multiplication. We continue Montessori traditions such as singing the continent song but adapt to online maps instead of our treasured puzzle maps. The teachers continue to present sounds using our sandpaper letters but have had to adapt to having children trace the cursive sounds on their screens. The parents are provided sound printables for home use and are able to supplement our on-line word-building lessons at home. The partnership of parents and teachers has proven invaluable, as our sessions are five days a week, but only 30 minutes a day. Together, teachers and parents are also ensuring our kindergartners have the essential tools for starting first-grade next year.
Our kudos to our talented staff who are working harder than ever to create and maintain their online classroom and come up with creative ideas and for making our online Montessori experience a real and enjoyable one for our children! Enjoy the pictures below of the rewarding days we have been sharing while helping one another.