Primary Observation Guidelines
We are happy you are able to visit us today and hope your visit is an enjoyable one. Please plan to observe for a period of 25 to 30 minutes. You will find the experience informative and interesting. You might want to jot down comments and questions during your observation to share with administration after your time in the classroom.
Most of the work being done falls into five major categories: practical life, sensorial, exploration, language, and mathematics. Each category is represented by a series of exercises arranged in roughly sequential order (left to right, top to bottom) on the shelves grouped together in that category. The rug and table mats in the classrooms are used by the children to isolate and organize their work. Please be careful not to step on the mats.
The children who are engrossed in practical life exercises, such as washing a table, polishing brass, or pouring water, are developing independence along with their abilities to concentrate, to control their movements, and to follow a procedure composed of sequential steps. Children working with materials for sensorial exploration, such as the pink tower, the geometric cabinet, or the touch fabrics, are further classifying impressions perceived through the senses and becoming clearly conscious of differences of quality among objects in the environment. Children working with language materials gradually become aware that language is an expression of the spirit of man and a powerful means of communication between people. Children working with mathematics material are learning that in mathematics there are all kinds of exciting relationships and patterns to be explored.
You will note that some children are able to become absorbed in their work, while others are not. The degree of this absorption in a task is an indication of the degree of the child’s normalization. The normalized child is one who works purposefully, intently, independently, and with a spirit of joy in his work.
If you have a child in the class, please keep in mind the fact that your own child will be excited by your presence. He may try to perform for you, he may become shy, he may not be able to tear himself away from your side. In any case, his behavior in the class will probably be somewhat different that usual. For this and many other reasons, it is unwise to try to compare your child with the others.
Remember that the more unobtrusive you remain, the better your chance of seeing the class as it normally functions. Try not to engage the children in conversation. If they come up to you and ask you a question or show you something, a simple answer such as “I’m a watcher today”, a smile, or a nod of acknowledgment should be enough to satisfy them.
Thank you for coming.
We sincerely appreciate your interest.
A Few Observational Tips
Please sit quietly. We try to use quiet voices in the classroom so that we do not disturb the rights of others who are working.
Please keep interaction with the teacher to a minimum unless approached
Observe the entire classroom
Look for qualities of independence, self-discipline, social interaction, attention, concentration and joy.
In the teacher look for: awareness of class dynamics, sensitivity to individual children, helps the children initiate work, provides requested assistance, and demonstrates use of materials through individual lessons.