A key pillar of the Montessori Method is hands-on learning – so when social distancing was announced, our staff began planning how to best incorporate the Montessori style of teaching into distance learning. As time passes, our teachers, students and families are adapting to a new style of learning that includes virtual meetings and lunchtime, independent learning, one-on-one meetings and featuring pets on video calls.

Keep reading to learn more about how Maria Montessori School is adjusting to social distancing and at-home learning.

Elementary 1
In Elementary 1, we’ve created ways to continue learning and socializing daily. Our class is using Zoom and Google Drive to remain connected. In the morning, we have lessons together on screen, and in the afternoons, we have meetings and independent work. We have made our own journals, stamp games and grammar boxes to use at home. Parents are involved in weekly online meetings, as well.

One of our favorite things we have done so far was Show and Tell. For our first gathering, we took time out of our day to show something special from our homes. For our second Show and Tell, we had work presentations. We know social distancing is very important right now, so we have found ways to “see” each other and continue learning and talking daily. – Santina Campbell

Elementary 2
The Elementary 2 community has made the transition to online learning! In the last 2 weeks, we have set up a daily schedule that includes morning Zoom meetings for the whole class, daily lessons in all subject areas, read-aloud time and even show and tell. Our personal favorite Zoom meeting so far was themed “bring your pet to Zoom!” It was hilarious seeing all the students with their pets on camera together. 

We are making time throughout each day for one-on-one instructional sessions with students and one-on-one conversations with parents. We are also enjoying our weekly parent Zoom, where the adults are invited to discuss home learning with us. We know it’s a challenging time for everyone, but we are so grateful to have the opportunity to keep learning from each other. Our E2 community is stronger than ever, and we can’t wait for the day we get to see each other in person again! Sending all of our families the very best. – Julie Meiman and Emily Farris

Middle school
In middle school, we were fortunate to begin working remotely the week after spring break. As we’ve moved through the last couple of weeks, we have been working diligently to refine our schedule to provide structure to our students’ days while fully supporting their at-home learning and emotional well-being.

We have daily Zoom “today in history” meetings every morning. This gives our students a chance to not only see each other’s faces but also to reflect, process and share their thoughts on the things they are reading and hearing in the news. These meetings have provided our class community a unique opportunity to connect daily with each other from home.

We are also able to meet with students individually via video chat to help them with projects, listen to their concerns and get their feedback as we design classes online. The students meet daily with their math groups. These are smaller group sessions where they have lessons, ask questions, and take quizzes and tests just as they would in our classroom at school.

We have also implemented three google classrooms, one for language arts, one for independent projects, and another for today in history, science and novel seminar.

In language arts, students are continuing grammar and writing lessons. They are even creating and sharing illustrations for their work. The class is currently revising essays on a utopian society of their own design and starting a unit on poetry. The students are also keeping a daily “coronavirus journal.” Their entries are funny, poignant, sad and beautiful. Our hope is that this journal will provide them with a unique memento of this extraordinary time.

The class meets twice a week for novel seminar. This is essentially a class book club where we discuss themes, plots, social impact, character motivation and other topics. This year, our books all connect to our overall theme for the year, “Who are we?” The class just finished Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Next week, they will begin a book of their own choosing, give the group updates and summaries of what they are reading and share their thoughts.

The class also meets via Zoom twice weekly for science. This is a more traditional class where students have lessons, read from textbooks, answer questions, and have tests and quizzes. Students are also being presented with ideas for science experiments that they can complete at home.

Our independent projects are an essential part of our curriculum, and we are proud to say that the students did an excellent job completing their early 20th century projects from home. We had our first ever virtual museum, and students were able to present their PowerPoints to their parents and elementary students via zoom. They were fantastic! Now the students are beginning personal interest projects. They are covering a wide variety of topics ranging from molecular gastronomy to Japanese mythology. Some will be creating animations, others will be making instructional videos and writing songs to go along with these projects. Stay tuned for more details in the next few weeks!

We are also doing our best to share joy with our community as much as possible. Sometimes we post funny videos or pictures of our lunch, sing Happy Birthday to pets, or send ideas for fun at-home projects.

We feel so fortunate to be a part of this class community, albeit from afar at the moment, and we are forever grateful to our parents for entrusting us with their children’s education. – Rachael Grant, Josh Campbell and Jessica Samuel