A teacher reflects on this new classroom environment

A girl explains her artwork to her teacher
A Willow class student shares her art work with her teacher.

By Amy Fujimoto, Willow class teacher

I am befuddled as I create an “environment” for remote learning. I am used to setting up a classroom with “stuff.” These would be materials, paper, pencils, name sticks for lunch time, job charts and binders. Montessori teachers love binders! If you didn’t know that, then here is a tip: Montessori teachers love binders and color-coding things almost as much as coffee. Or perhaps that is just me.

Remote learning has been a challenge to set up for me as I don’t have the things that I rely on to tether me to the task of teaching. One question is, “How do I complete a lesson when there are no materials for myself to use nor for the children to utilize at home?”

Maria Montessori’s early observations of children that led to the Montessori method were observing children taking bread crumbs and organizing them into order based on their size. This idea inspires me as a teacher to use what we have at our disposal in our homes to instruct and likewise, to learn.

Our new environment is sharing our homes. I invite you into my home and yard and reciprocally families are inviting me into theirs. We are sharing our resources, perhaps I am giving a lesson about lines with chopsticks instead of the Montessori stick box. Perhaps children are creating their own math materials like bead frames or stamp games. In this process we get an opportunity to learn about each other. You know I have lots of chopsticks at my house, and I know you have some beautiful beads! J. Krishnamurti, a philosopher and writer of the book “Education and the Significance of Life,” said “Right education is a mutual task demanding patience, consideration, and affection.”

Thank you for having patience with me as an educator adjusting to my new environment and having the affection and trust to let me enter your lives and homes remotely. It feels like an opportunity to know each other in new ways and deepen our relationships.