Montessori Education During COVID-19

Updated November 16, 2020

As Montessori guides, we are tasked with adaptation and innovation every day. As we embark on a new school year—whether your school remains virtual, moves back to the classroom, or some combination of both—AMS is committed to helping you explore the possibilities by providing a platform for resources that we hope will be of help to you. We are adding items on an ongoing basis, so please bookmark this page and continue to check in.

 

A Message from Our Executive Director

Communicating with Parents

  • Communicating with Parents [VIDEO]. Join Andrea O’Brian, assistant head of school at Princeton Montessori School (Princeton, NJ) for a conversation around how to best work with Montessori families. Includes suggested favorite applications and communication techniques. Added 8/25/20.

  • Communication Ideas [VIDEO]. Hear from Beth Yoke of the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library and Chris McGilvery of the Leaders Readers Network to learn how you can implement communication best practices into your learning plans and effectively communicate with your families and networks. Added 7/30/2020.
  • Learning from Home Handbook.” Generously shared with us by the Montessori School of Tokyo, this handbook is available for you to customize for your school and distribute to your parents. Adding photos and your school logo will help bring it to life. All editing can be done in Adobe. 
  • Montessori Terminology. Aid in better communication with your families by sharing with them this webpage, which explains words and terms commonly used in Montessori education. Added 7/30/20. 
  • Parent Stories [VIDEOS]. In this 3-part video series, hear Montessori parents discuss the challenges and small victories they have been experiencing in this unprecedented time. View Part II here. View Part III hereAdded 8/3/20.
  • Teacher Parent Communication Worksheet. Use this editable document for planning a strategy for communicating with parents at your school. See a completed example. Added 7/30/20. 

Using Technology to Teach

How Tos

  • Fast Facts for Effective Online Videos [PDF] Learn how to film clear and organized lessons for your online learning needs from an expert video producer. 
  • How to Create a Video. Learn about making videos to support student learning. You'll get tips on personalizing your video, crafting engaging content, and setting yourself up for success in recording. 
  • Seesaw Training and Professional Development offers daily webinars on remote learning as well as other free resources for teachers and administrators. 
  • Using Technology Efficiently [VIDEO]. Learn how to use technology as an asset, rather than viewing it as a stressor. Tips from Jill Segerman, lead online learning instructional designer at AMS. Added 7/31/20.

Learning Platforms

  • Google’s Teach from Home platform was created to help teachers create learning communities from home. If using the Google platform is something your school is currently doing or considering, this is a great resource to get ideas about how to best use the Google tools.
  • Zoom online video platform is supporting K – 12 schools affected by the coronavirus by removing the time limit for free account users.

Resources

  • Audible Stories. Free audiobooks for small children and teens for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Environmental Education Program. Visit the Environmental Education playlist featuring 5 videos co-produced by AMS and Nature’s Classroom Montessori School in Mukwonago, WI. These lessons are built around the Early Childhood curriculum but will delight all ages.
  • Find Your ‘Virtual Park’ with the National Park Service. Online platform with digital opportunities to engage with the parks through multimedia galleries, webcams, virtual tours, and more.
  • The Learning Network. Free resources for bringing the world into your classroom, from The New York Times. Includes daily writing prompts using Times journalism.
  • National Emergency Library. Over 1.4 million books are now available through this digital library. Sign up for a free account (from anywhere in the world) and get reading!
  • Virtual Museum and Art Gallery Tours. The Guardian shares breathtaking and interactive tours for cultural experiences from around the world.

Applying Montessori Philosophy

  • Care of Self. A conversation with Montessori educator Kate Riley about what it means to be Montessori both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Engaging with Nature [VIDEO]. Jean Lomino, director of The Wauhatchie School in Chattanooga, TN, discusses the importance of getting children outside and provides suggestions for creating nature engagement for your students. Added 7/31/20.
  • Human Tendencies Checklist. Use this checklist as a guide to reflection for yourself, your team, and your staff. Added 7/30/20.
  • Improvisation in the Prepared Environment [VIDEO]. This video reminds us to view the prepared environment as an opportunity for improvisational thinking. And, visit this handout for tangible examples of games and songs you can use in your classroom. Added 8/3/20.
  • Improvisational Games & Activities [VIDEO]. This longform workshop will help you understand how the Montessori prepared environment allows students and teachers to improvise when any new demand arrives. Gain insight into how improvisational thinking relieves anxiety for students and teachers and practice games and exercises to use with students that build acceptance, establish trust, and encourage communication. Added 8/3/20.
  • Introduction to Instructional Design [Video] Join Jill Segerman, AMS's lead online learning instructional designer, as she breaks down what instructional design is and how to create effective recorded lessons. Added 7/30/20.
  • Montessori in the Now [Video] Hear from Gina Taliaferro Lofquist, AMS senior director of education & strategic initiatives, about how you can apply Montessori philosophy beyond the classroom, especially in these uncertain times. Added 7/30/20.
  • Philosophy Now [Video]. Join Montessori veteran teacher Meher van Groenou to hear about using Montessori philosophy to guide our work today. Added 7/30/2020.

Education at Home

Student Activities

Talking to Children

Care of Self & Others

  • Care of Self Video Playlist. Self-care videos created by AMS that focus on childcare, nature therapy, and more. We encourage you to bookmark this page and subscribe for updates about future videos. 
  • How Can We Help One Another? The New York Times compiles tips and advice for helping our neighbors in the midst of coronavirus.
  • How to Sew a Face Mask. A step-by-step tutorial from The New York Times teaches you how to make a fabric face mask from common household materials. 
  • Kids for Peace promotes activities to help young children lead with empathy in this uncertain time. Includes self-care tips, peace-focused prompts, and compassion-centered projects for students.
  • Managing COVID-19 Anxiety and Stress The CDC offers guidance for coping with added stress and anxiety related to coronavirus.

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AMS Member Resources

AMS Connect Message Board

Join your peers on our online messaging platform to read about and discuss plans and resources for the new school year. We especially direct you to the Heads of Schools Community and the Teachers Communities, where we have shared an editable spreadsheet that allows you to directly add your favorite technology resources so that others may use and benefit from them. Member login required. (Use the same username and password you use when logging in to the main AMS website.)

AMS Connect Live! Online Events

We are pleased to offer AMS Connect Live sessions, now exclusively for AMS members. Led by director of learning & professional development, Joshua Shanklin, and other veteran teachers, these groups are created to provide our Montessori community with facilitated conversation around the changing COVID-19 environment. 

Groups are organized by program level and meet monthly. Learn more, mark your calendar, and register for the sessions here

On-Demand Webinar 

Managing Your School Through the Pandemic.” If you missed our live webinar by Firestorm Crisis Management Solutions, or would like to see it again, you can now watch a recording. Member login required.

Additional Perspectives

  • Answering the Big Questions for Education Leaders. This article from Edutopia focuses on 3 key areas for schools to consider when reopening: equity, staff, and students and families. Includes conversation around curriculum, communication, and coronavirus-related trauma.
  • The Center for Positive Education offers Longing for Belonging, a free video series that teaches educators about the science of belonging and offers a set of simple activities that can be done either in person or online to bring folks together. Added 8/20/20. 
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting Tips. CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting soft surfaces, electronics, linens, and outdoor areas. Information on what to do if someone is sick, considerations for employees, and alternative disinfection methods.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Schools. In-depth and regularly updated information from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) about federal guidelines, risk management, employee considerations, and more. Added 7/30/20. 
  • Guidance for Open Childcare Programs. Preparedness and planning guidelines from the CDC for childcare facilities. Includes information on social distancing strategies, modified pick-up and drop-off procedures, cleaning protocols, and hygiene best practices. Added 7/30/20. 
  • How Has COVID-19 Affected Anxiety in Schoolchildren? The Online Counseling Program explores the mental health of our youngest population and provides resources for school staff to best support the students they serve. Also, links to further reading on family services, technology, and at-home learning. Added 11/16/20.
  • Mapping Out Plans for 2020 – 2021 School Year. Serving and Accrediting Independent Schools (SAIS) covers key steps and considerations schools must consider to begin planning the 2020 – 2021 school year. Added 7/30/20. 
  • The Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI) has compiled resources for educators and families that are grappling with the impact of COVID-19. Visit their site to find state-by-state policy information, paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave updates, advocacy tools, and more. Updates are ongoing.
  • The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) has curated a set of school closure information kits related to government and policy, Montessori at home, and online experiences for students.
  • The Return to School Roadmap. Developed by Opportunity Labs, this guide helps schools focus their returning-to-school plan across 7 workflows: governance, wellness, instruction, post-secondary, facilities, school operations, and technology.
  • Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom Edutopia shares tips and tricks for engaging learners through “synchronous” (live) and “asynchronous” (on demand) learning. Added 9/25/20.