Welcome

My, How Things Have Changed

My name is Vanessa and I am a Montessori Assistant in Washington, D.C. Montessori is an educational theory in which children are allowed to learn by following their interests which in turn leads to them being naturally motivated to learn new things and practice skills until mastery. Learning is individualized so each child follows their own path to learn different skills, such as focus, memory, sensory acuity, counting, reading, writing, and operational math, biology, geography and more. Authentic Montessori classrooms have a mix of children within a 3 year age range. Each classroom is overseen by a certified Guide, a role which is somewhat comparable to a lead or head teacher in a traditional school. 

I haven’t posted much in the past few months because so much has changed and I was looking for the courage to write again. Well, I’ve found it.

For the 2018-2019 school year, I happily accepted a position at a Public Charter Montessori School in Washington, D.C. After becoming entrenched in the difficulties of carrying out a high fidelity Montessori program, on an ever-tightening budget, I realized this school was not going in a direction that I wanted to follow. As I would tell my students, if what you’re doing doesn’t make you feel good, let’s find something else that will. So I made the leap to leave the school before the end of the school year.

3 Ways to Encourage Self-Regulation

My name is Vanessa and I work in a non-profit Public Charter Montessori school. Montessori is an educational theory in which children are allowed to learn by following their interests which in turn leads to them being naturally motivated to learn new things and practice skills until mastery. Learning is individualized so each child follows their own path to learn different skills, such as focus, memory, sensory acuity, counting, reading, writing, and operational math. All authentic Montessori classrooms have a mix of children with a 3 year age range.  Each classroom is overseen by a certified Guide, a role which is somewhat comparable to a lead or head teacher in a traditional school. I am an assistant in a Primary classroom which is for children who are 3 to 6 years old.


A few weeks ago our Guide Lily went on her maternity leave. She is the first guide to take maternity leave at our school so we have no protocol. For months our school administration tried to find a suitable maternity guide but they weren’t able to do so. The solution was to split the duties of the substitute guide amongst two people.

Supporting Indoor Physical Activity

My name is Vanessa and I work in a non-profit Public Charter Montessori school. Montessori is an educational theory in which children are allowed to learn by following their interests which in turn leads to them being naturally motivated to learn new things and practice skills until mastery. Learning is individualized so each child follows their own path to learn different skills, such as focus, memory, sensory acuity, counting, reading, writing, and operational math. All authentic Montessori classrooms have a mix of children with a 3 year age range.  Each classroom is overseen by a certified Guide, a role which is somewhat comparable to a lead or head teacher in a traditional school. I am an assistant in a Primary classroom which is for children who are 3 to 6 years old.


Instead of restraining wiggly children to their chairs, my school has chosen to bring additional items into our classrooms and playrooms so we can further support the physical development of our students while indoors.

Every Monday afternoon the instructional staff gather for Professional Development (PD). Last weeks’ PD was a Child Study on one of our PK-4 students. Child study is how my school supports any child having difficulty reaching their full physical, academic, social, or emotional potential at school.

Lily and I chose one student for Child Study due to this child moving around the classroom more often than they are working. Most of our students spend a fair amount of time wandering around the classroom, playing, and improperly using materials- to the point where they are asked to put that particular work away. Our Primary Child Study Team was focused on supporting one particular child, but this PD helped me realize that multiple students’ constant movement and improper use of materials may stem from their need to physically develop their muscles.

The Tent Will Remain

Our tent has been working wonders for the emotional self-regulation of our students. During a neutral (calm) moment, each child was given an individual lesson on how to use it. Here are our rules for the tent.

  1. Only 1 person can use the tent at a time
  2. You can only use the tent when you a very sad or very angry
  3. You may not play in the tent
  4. You must leave the tent once you are feeling calm

About Me

I am a Primary Montessori Assistant at a Public Charter Montessori School. This my first experience in an AMI certified Program and I’m becoming a dedicated Montessorian. I’m a contemplative person, so I decided to create this site to record my thoughts. In doing so I hope to be able to look back on the changes in my thoughts over time, but also to share my experiences with others and to receive their thoughts.

I’ve spent my whole life in the public school system, and never felt as though it was adequate to prepare me for life. I won’t say it was inadequate to prepare me for the ‘real world’ because that implies that children aren’t apart of the real world. Children draw value from learning to regulate themselves, engage with others, and to question the effects of their actions.

These skills are impactful to humans at each stage of their lives. These skills are lacking from many traditional public schools in the United States.

Hello 2019

This was our first week back from Winter Break!

I came in prepared to wipe lots of tears and to go home covered in snot. But as a whole, our children were having a very easy time readjusting to our routine. The class was noticeably more calm than usual. I believe that was due to 8 children not being in attendance! That makes quite a difference, considering we have 26 children enrolled. With a third of our class not yet back from break, Lily and I were able to give more individual attention to the children who were there. She was even able to give a lesson on the addition bank game for about 40 minutes without being interrupted.

It is also possible that the classroom was calmer due to a new addition.