What a great time we had. The teachers told us what a typical day for the kids is like. Each morning, the children arrive and sit at their desks. The teacher greets them and asks if anyone wants to sing a song or say something to the class. When a child volunteers, the teachers take the lead of the child to shape the learning of the day. We saw how the teachers used this child centered approach to teach writing and math. They also teach paper folding, drawing and dance. At the end of their morning, the children put on their shoes and go outside to play on the playground.
We had a great time presenting the teachers with gifts for their classroom. We gave them special safety scissors for children that cannot use their hands very well along with pencil grips and specially curved spoons. And, we gave them a big supply of bubbles to use with the children to help them learn to speak more clearly. All of these items will be used with the physical therapists who will soon visit this school to work with the children.
We asked the teachers how things were going and were delighted to hear from the SWI staff member who oversees the children that the orphanage nannies have commented on how much easier the children are to manage after having been in school. The kids are happy and more eager to listen. And, they are always ready for school in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that after a newspaper story about our school described our program, parents of special needs children from the surrounding city have been calling and asking how they can enroll their children in the orphanage school. What a compliment! Families are looking to the good things in an orphanage and wanting to participate in it.
The teachers are happy with how school is going and look forward to additional Montessori training this summer. They are always looking for new ways of teaching their students about the world that they live in…especially as we extend the school day for older children to morning and afternoon sessions next year. We talked about planting flowers or vegetables and they like that idea very much.
If I ever go back to teaching in the classroom and have to attend a faculty meeting, memories of this wonderful faculty meeting will remain in my mind and put a smile on my face.