Head of School’s Letter

Remote Learning for Montessori

Posted by Joanna on April 9, 2020

We, and most of the nation, have had to adopt a remote learning platform as schools have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Distance learning has been around for quite some time, even dating back to the 1700s. At that time, learning was done by post. The advent of the internet has been a game changer, and now, distance learning has proliferated within the higher education learning community.

Theories of education for younger students do not address the concept or reality of remote learning. Pedagogy tells us that the youngest students engage in learning very concretely and then advance to more abstract learning. Our Montessori classrooms are a perfect example of this.

Children’s House classrooms have beautifully designed materials, which children manipulate and explore through all of their senses. Lower elementary students use a different set of Montessori materials which help them to learn more complex concepts. As students acquire phonetic skills they begin to use literature and texts to complement their learning. Upper elementary students continue to use some materials and steadily increase their reading, writing and verbal skills to understand more abstract concepts and to express their knowledge. By middle school, students have developed strong critical thinking skills and mathematical skills that they apply to solve abstract problems. All students form strong connections with their teachers and rely upon them for guidance, encouragement and feedback.

Remote learning is particularly challenging for young learners. We cannot come close to replicating their classroom experiences. We are planning, creating and adjusting our strategy as we go. Parents are being called upon to provide the guidance and encouragement that comes from personalized interactions. You will need to use your judgement regarding what feels right for your child in terms of workload and the balance of free time. Play is an amazing outlet for children in terms of creativity, stress reduction and the development of reasoning skills.

Please speak to your child’s teacher during your conference check-in next week regarding concerns you may have for your child. They are experiencing the same feelings that we are, and have fewer coping skills than we do. Our main concern for them is their health, safety and emotional well-being. Experts in the education field believe that the amount of time that students spend in the remote learning environment will not have a long-lasting, adverse impact on their education. We look forward to resuming our normal school routines in the near future!

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