Observation Guidelines

Observing in a Montessori classroom is a bit like watching animals in their natural habitat—the less intrusive your presence, the more you will see of the children’s natural activity in the environment. For the best experience, we ask that you follow our observation guidelines.

  • Please turn off your cell phone and leave it put away.
  • Stay in your chair unless you are invited to move.
  • Please do not initiate conversation with the children. If a child greets you, respond appropriately of course, but do not seek to prolong the conversation. If they continue to speak to you, you can say, “I’m here to observe the children.”
  • The Guides may be in a lesson or working with children and not be able to engage or answer questions. You will have time for questions after the observation.
  • A staff member will come to collect you after 20-25 minutes.

Some Things You Might Look for During Your Observation

Settle into the observer’s chair and take a moment to get oriented. Notice how the classroom is
organized – the practical life, sensorial, language, math, science, geography areas, the snack table, the
easel, furniture arrangement, and so on.

  • Look at the children to see if they are engaged both as individuals and as members of the classroom community. Are you observing collaboration and social interaction?
    Watch for children’s sense of order in how they do their work. Does s/he get out a rug, and then
    fetch the material to put on the rug? Work with the material in a purposeful way? Return the
    material to its place on the shelf? (The physical order of the work is helping the children build
    mental order.)
  • Look for ways the children are working toward independence: choosing their own tasks, working at
    their own pace, and repeating tasks as often and for as long as they wish.
  • Notice some examples of respect children and adults show both for others and for the materials,
    such as how they offer someone assistance, walk around work rugs instead of over them, clean up
    spills, put away materials, so they are ready for the next person, and so on.
  • Look for concentration. If a student’s concentration is interrupted, it is interesting to note whether
    s/he gets permanently sidetracked or eventually returns to the work.
  • Notice which academic skills the children are building.
  • Look for joy in learning. It may be manifested loudly with “I did it!” or quietly with a sigh or a
    relaxed demeanor.

You are in for a treat! We look forward to sharing more of Sunstone with you.

Resources for You

Independence and the Montessori Child

Freedom Within Limits

Sunstone Montessori FAQs

Our Programs

What is Montessori?