MMS Re-opening & montessori approach

The social distancing of young children is certainly a daunting prospect. But as we have considered these issues, we have realised that the authentic Montessori approach we offer is uniquely suited to social distancing: both in terms of how children interact physically and in terms of their emotional well-being. 

 

Spacious and well-ordered environment

Our classrooms offer an uncluttered and enticing environment specifically designed for children at each stage of their development. At our sites we are lucky that our children enjoy large spacious rooms with fewer pupils per room, but the careful use of the space is also key. Our classrooms are meticulously cared for, which encourages the children to take care of them too. The children return learning materials to the shelf after they have used them, so it would only be a small step to encourage children to clean materials after use too. 

 

Independent and confident children
A central part of the Montessori approach is the focus on child-led learning which nurtures children’s independence and confidence. Our children are given greater freedoms and responsibilities which encourages them to take responsibility for their actions and be considerate to others, making it easier for them to comply with social distancing measures and more emotionally prepared for change. The focus on independence of mind has also stood our pupils in good stead for the remote learning we have offered at this time of “lockdown”.


Hygiene and self-care
From an early age our children are encouraged to practice good hygiene and to care for their own person. They remove outdoor shoes and put on slippers on arrival and hang up their own coats and bags. Children take it in turns to set up lunch and snack tables and to clear up after mealtimes. They are responsible for washing their hands and faces as necessary after eating, going to the toilet or playing outside or with art materials. As the Covid-19 crisis unfolded this March we increased our emphasis on good hygiene further with more frequent hand-washing and our children will be ready to continue these practices and adopt further measures as necessary.


Outdoor learning
One of the main pillars of the Montessori approach is a focus on integrating nature into children’s daily learning throughout the year. Our children are free to work outside as much as possible. They do specifically outdoor activities such as gardening and sports activities, but they are also encouraged to take their indoor learning outside – such as working with math materials, reading and art. As the children already see our outside spaces as learning zones as well as places for play, an increased focus on outdoor learning will be relatively seamless.


Calm and considered behaviour
Many visitors to our school are surprised by the atmosphere of calm they find and even our very young children’s ability to concentrate for long periods of time. This atmosphere is no happy accident but a carefully cultivated way of behaving and interacting with others. Our authentic approach to Montessori includes a focus on “Grace and Courtesy” – this is where we practice and model behaviour such as walking around the room, sharing materials or making an apology. From the age of 2½ years our children use breakable plates and glasses and learn to be careful with them; every one of our desks has a flower in a glass vase and the children carefully navigate the room and the vases are rarely knocked over. This greater self-awareness and self-control will make social distancing more achievable even with the youngest children.
Whatever the future holds, our children’s happiness and safety will always be our first priority but we are reassured that their Montessori education will help them and our staff to cope in these extraordinary times.

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For the health & safety of our community, we will be implementing;

  • Small class sizes.

  • Large open classrooms (to allow for social distancing).

  • Less than 10 students per teacher. 

  • Students will remain with their class/teacher for the duration of the day. 

  • Workspaces will be set up/outlined to ensure social distancing is maintained.

  • Outdoor learning environments will be utilized and encouraged to amplify social distancing. 

  • The children will be required to eat lunch in their classrooms.

  • Daily sanitation protocols of rooms and materials will be carried out durning and at the end of each day by staff. 

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available for everyone entering the building to sanitize their hands.

  • Drop off times will be staggered.

  • Parents will be required to wait outside the school at the pickup station to drop off and pick up their child.

  • Slippers will be worn in the classrooms. No outside shoes permitted past entry.

  • All beddings will be individually stored and will be sent home to be washed and brought back for use

  • Children and staff will wash their hands as soon as they arrive at school, and routinely throughout the day.

  • Parents/visitors will not be permitted inside the school unless it is an emergency or its extremely necessary.

  • All visitors will be required to wear a face-mask and to take off their shoes.

  • Occupancy will be limited to <50% capacity at all times.

  • Over 100sf of indoor space per person will be available.

  • All teachers and staff will be encouraged to wear masks and/or face coverings in the limited circumstance when distancing is not feasible. 

  • All staff will be trained in recognizing/detecting the signs of covid-19 infection.

  • In the case of suspected infection, students will be isolated until their immediate pick up from the school. 

  • Children with temperature the 100ºF , coughing, sore throat, fast breathing, shaking, or chills, headaches, or lethargic will not be accepted back until fully recovered and fever free for 48 hours.

  • If a child/family had been out of the state of New York, the school must be to notified, and a 14 day self quarantine may be required.

  • Remote learning work will be provided to any student infected/exposed that will be quarantined at home.

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