At Stonecreek, we consider ourselves an extension of every student’s family. We encourage parents to visit and become involved in helping us make Stonecreek the best school possible for their children and others. Our open door policy is designed to help parents more fully understand the Montessori philosophy in which their children are being immersed.
We desire for each parent to observe his or her child’s classroom for at least 30 minutes each semester. A popular Montessori parental observation experience, “Fill the Chair,” is designed specifically for this simple but wonderful activity of sitting in a chair and observing. Only through seeing the children and the teachers interacting in a natural way can one begin to appreciate the environment in which the child is learning. No amount of reading or discussions will suffice. After observations in the classroom, parents will meet with the Executive Director and teachers to discuss any questions or details they wish to highlight.
Eat, Play, Read at Community Events
One memorable session at the 2013 American Montessori Society Conference highlighted what parents can do to best support their children’s development. The research clearly demonstrates the enormous value of three simple and free tasks: eat, play, and read.
Well, what is good for the family is also good for the school community. To nurture our community and strengthen our relationships, we have a number of ways parents are actively involved on our campus and with each other off campus.
Eat: Breaking Bread
There is a reason cultures around the world value breaking bread together. Eating together allows us time to exchange stories and learn about each other. As such, we invite parents to join us and to eat lunch with their children once a month. Come see the pride in your younger children’s eyes as they invite you into their classroom and serve you. While the older children “might protest too much” at first, eating together is a fun and enjoyable way to connect with your child, his friends, and their parents.
Our Definition of Play
While we certainly will have fun outdoor family events together, our definition of “play” also includes anytime we are engaged in creatively dappling with ideas, such as learning something new together or sharing in our excitement of learning. As such, we have two ways in which we can get together and “play” as a community:
~ Montessori Moments
We all know how children enjoy sharing their creations or performing. Montessori Moments are designed to bring parents and children together in the evening twice a semester for our students to share a talent or any other form of learning. The performances can range from a child sharing her Lego creation to several students acting out a play they have written or a dance they have choreographed. This is a time of celebration where we can enjoy different children’s interests and allow them to gain confidence and public speaking skills.
~ Community Café
Last but not least, we combine eating together and learning from each other at local restaurants. Families are invited to come and hear a parent in our community talk about her current research or other forms of learning on the job. You might be aware of Science Café. Community Café is the same principle, only we are not limiting our conversations to scientific research. Montessori parents have so much to share in terms of how they are continuing to learn. We want to not only learn the information, but also have the chance to learn more about each other. Again, as an extension of your family, it is our goal for our community to develop relationships that foster connectedness at a meaningful level for families.
Upon joining our community, each family agrees to read the book, Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler. It is an easy, quick read; he is a Montessori parent writing for other Montessori parents. The book not only clarifies simple Montessori misperceptions, it also highlights how parents can expect their children to benefit from a Montessori education.
Throughout every family’s time as part of Stonecreek, parents will be encouraged to participate in book clubs with other parents and teachers. These are informal discussions at people’s homes, and they keep our community alive and learning.