Let’s start with the process of “normalization”. This is the time period from the beginning of school to around the 8th week where everyone in the classroom is blooming into a new phase (teachers included). We are meeting each other, getting comfortable with each other, showing glimpses of funny, or serious, or active, or happy, or sad. You get the point. We have strengths and weaknesses. We push forward as far as we can go. Where are the boundaries? What can I do? What can’t I do? We learn to communicate with another human more clearly as vocabulary increases with each new day. We learn how to help one another, how to respect one another and the environment, and how to use the Peace Rose to communicate and make things better. So much is going on every minute of every hour, most behind the scenes, of every day.
We teachers (we like to call ourselves guides in Montessori) are your child’s compass in this new classroom. We teach and show how we treat each other with kindness and respect. After the first 8 weeks, the newness has worn thin and everyone is, more-or-less, comfortable, and a sense of order and calmness prevails. Expectations are understood, rules have been established, lessons have been taught to practice and master, politeness is more prevalent…but don’t get too comfortable. With comfort comes more testing of boundaries. Do they really mean what they say? What will happen if I don’t do as told? This is all part of the process and continues, really, throughout life. We humans are still learning how to treat each other!
The environment, the classroom, is rich with opportunities to grow and learn. We are continually engaged and entertained by the glorious discoveries the children make each day, and we rejoice with them. It is a magical experience and one we do not take for granted. We continually prepare and produce lessons and materials the children can engage in to enhance their learning. We teachers know we have a big obligation to teach your children lessons, but we also know we are nurturing a spirit. As we head into the rest of the semester we will learn more about each other, and we thank you for sharing your little people with us.
Jamie Van Horn