Going back to school can be challenging for children, but even children who traditionally adjust well might need additional support this year. As a school, we have collectively decided that it’s important we return to the classroom as Maria Montessori’s intended method requires a classroom setting and peer-to-peer interaction. But our return will come with some adjusted practices. Because of this, it’s important to prepare your child for the differences this school year. Below we’ve listed a few tips and guidelines that will make that transition easier for you and your family.

Adjusting to face coverings

One of the largest adjustments at MMS this fall will be the use of face coverings. Face coverings are meant to protect not only the wearer but the people around them. All students and staff will be required to wear facial coverings throughout the school day. We recommend letting your child wear a mask around the house for varying amounts of time. For example, if they are helping you cook a meal for the family, ask them to wear their mask during the cooking process. Practice wearing the mask at varying lengths of time to help them feel more comfortable with elongated spans of mask wearing. Preparing your child for this adjustment is key to ensuring a smooth transition into the classroom.

Practicing hand-washing

While keeping the environment clean is always important in Montessori learning, it will be crucial throughout the 2020-2021 school year. One way we plan to enforce cleanliness is through hand-washing. Each day, little people will be required to wash their hands at the following times:

  • Upon arriving to the classroom and after breaks
  • Before and after each work choice
  • Before and after eating or handling food
  • After using the bathroom
  • After coming in contact with bodily fluid
  • After playing outdoors or in sand
  • After handling garbage
  • Before touching the eyes, nose or mouth

Practicing thorough hand-washing techniques at home is a meaningful way to prepare your child to go back to school. Here are five steps to wash your hands, according to the CDC:

  • Wet your hands with hot or cold clean, running water, turn off the tap, then apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers and underneath your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to remember how long is to sing “Happy Birthday” beginning to end twice!
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Removing outdoor shoes

A daily routine practiced in our Toddler Community is the removal of outdoor shoes upon entering the environment. This ritual teaches our little people the basic motor skills needed to self-dress while keeping our environment clean. During this time of social distancing, however, guides are unable to assist in the removal of outdoor shoes upon entering the environment. This is a great opportunity for you to work on shoe removal at home with your child! We recommend only helping as much as they need – as Dr. Maria Montessori said, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

We are so excited to get back into the classroom this fall. Following these tips and guidelines will make for a smooth transition for your child and us!