© 1996-2019 The Innovative School. All rights reserved.

12280 Westheimer Road #50, Houston, Texas 77077

Visitation &  Observation

Planning on a Montessori Education for your child? Congratulations, you are about to give your child the finest gift that will last a lifetime. Montessori is not just an educational method, it is a way of life… a journey that unfolds the human potential.

You must be asking yourself: "Why is there so much variation from one Montessori school to another? How can I know if I've found a 'real' Montessori school?" The following information will help you find the right Montessori school for your child.

Parents are always welcome to visit our school. Please make an appointment with the office prior to your visit. The Innovative School serves as a model for other schools, teachers, and student-teachers, as well as parents. In order to preserve the "normal" classroom atmosphere, we prefer to schedule only one visitor or observer per classroom at a time. Classroom visits are allowed by appointment only and scheduled from October through May.

There is no mandatory accreditation process for a school to call itself Montessori. Parents must ask these important questions and look for a few essential classroom characteristics during a school visit to find a quality Montessori early childhood program.

A Montessori school should be either AMS (American Montessori Society) or AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) affiliated to ensure that all teaching staff is MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) credentialed and is following the Montessori standards set forth by these organizations.

Please follow the listed guidelines below to observe our Montessori classrooms. Understanding how the Montessori classroom works will help you with your observation and assist your understanding of the goals we are pursuing. Our Montessori classroom is a "prepared" environment. Each piece of work has been placed on the shelf to help children independently develop a particular skill. Our environment operates on the principals of freedom within limits and based on the core Montessori beliefs, respect for each other and for the environment. Students are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher is a facilitator of the child's independent learning. The teacher relies on observation of the children as a continual assessment to determine which new activities, lessons or materials may be introduced to an individual child. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery within the whole group community.

This is the student's classroom environment, so please be mindful to sit quietly as you observe. We ask that you stay seated and not engage the children in conversation as this will interrupt their concentration and focus. A courteous "hello" and a direct response like "I am here to watch you work" would be appropriate. Please use these questions while observing our classroom. Enjoy your visit!

Questionnaire

Please use these questions while visiting and observing Montessori schools.

 

Environment

  1. Is the environment conducive to learning?

  2. Are the children able to move about freely and choose work that interests them?

  3. Are the materials easily accessible?

  4. Do the materials seem to be logically arranged?

  5. Are the children kind to each other?

  6. How is the noise level?

Children

  1. Do the children learn from one another?

  2. Are the children choosing work and staying with it?

  3. Are the children interested in their work?

  4. What seems to be the length of time spent on an activity?

  5. Do the children seem comfortable and relaxed in their environment?

  6. Do they concentrate for extended periods of time?

  7. Is their work orderly and are the materials returned to their original location?

  8. Does the child seem positive and happy with what he or she is doing?​

Teachers

  1. Do the teachers display patience and enthusiasm?

  2. Does the teacher demonstrate materials clearly and seem aware of the child's response?

  3. Are the teachers aware of the children's needs?

  4. Does she speak softly and gently?

  5. Do the children obey her cheerfully and readily?

  6. Do the teachers reinforce appropriate behavior in the classroom?

  7. Does the teacher have a MACTE accredited credential in the level they are teaching? 

  8. How long has the teacher been teaching? How long have they been with the school?

School

  1. Is the entrance clean and inviting? Is the school organized? 

  2. Are all the classrooms fully equipped with appropriate Montessori materials? Are multi-sensory "hands-on" materials in regular use?

  3. Are the management and staff credible? 

  4. Does the faculty have the proper (MACTE accredited) teaching credentials?

  5. Are the administrators friendly and knowledgeable?

  6. Were you given appropriate information to make an informed decision regarding entry into the school? 

  7. Does the school seem happy? Does the school feel home-like or business? 

  8. Is the staff passionate about Montessori? 

  9. Are the school administrators Montessori trained? Where did they obtain their Montessori credential?

  10. Does the school offer parent support and education?

  11. Does the school offer regular faculty and staff continuing education? 

  12. Would you as a parent want to attend school there?