March 27, 2020
Distance Learning Update & Overview
Thank you for your continued and unwavering support of MSM through this unprecedented situation. We are so proud to be part of the MSM community!
As communicated earlier this week, teachers and staff are working diligently to pull together Phase 2 of the Distance Learning Plans at each program level, to be implemented after Spring Break (some will be ready to go home by the end of next week). MSM faculty and staff have been consistently meeting virtually since the building was required to close. We are committed to ensuring that distance learning will not only continue to solidify and augment the educational progress of each student, but also add value to your child's day. Please know that we are completely aware that each family has unique commitments throughout these unusual days and we are striving to provide your students with a manageable education routine, yet allow for family constraints.
Distance learning is certainly new for all of us! So, with all of the fantastic work and packets that our teachers have prepared and sent to your students, we still believe flexibility is key to the success of distance learning.
In an effort to ensure Phase 2 continues to meet our high academic standards, yet respect each family's unique situation during these uncharted times, please take a moment to fill out the quick survey included in your Friday Note about your child's experience with distance learning so far. If you have more than one student at MSM, please fill out the survey for each child.
Please see below for a description of what we are providing in Phase 1, and what we plan to add in Phase 2.
We are honored that you have chosen MSM to educate your children.
Distance Learning and Montessori: We have been preparing for this for over 100 years!
Dr. Maria Montessori was a physician, educator, and innovator. She believed children are not only hard-wired to learn, but also truly enjoy learning. Technology has obviously changed since Dr. Montessori started her first school in Italy, but innovation has not. MSM faculty and staff welcomed the challenge of distance learning and quickly created Distance Learning Plans for all program levels. As a result of such extraordinary dedication from the entire MSM staff, all of our students, toddlers through 6th graders, are continuing to find joy and purpose learning from home.
What does distance learning look like at MSM? Here is what we rolled out for Distance Learning Phase 1 for our students at all program levels on Monday March 16, as well as a snapshot of what is to come for Phase 2 after Spring Break (Enrichment classes will be added at all levels):
Phase 1: Our 2-year-old students received packets of daily art project materials and a little bit of video calling and connection. We really struggled with how much time we thought toddlers can handle being on screens!
Phase 2: Teachers will be adding in Circle Time for the youngest students, to provide social continuity from the classroom. The toddlers will be able to see all of their friends and find out what kinds of fun activities they have all been doing at home. The teachers will connect individually with toddlers and their parents more frequently. Our toddlers will be encouraged to spend time outdoors just observing nature, feeling the warm sun on their faces, and enjoying the sounds of spring!
Phase 1: Our 3 to 6-year-olds have Montessori material prompts and ideas to provide continuous learning from all areas of the classroom, including practical life, cultural, math, science, language, and sensorial. Our Kindergarteners are continuing their journey towards reading and writing with child-specific packets prepared by their classroom teachers. Each classroom checks in virtually each week so the students can see their friends!
Phase 2: Primary teachers are preparing additional packets and learning materials for all of their students to include additional math, language, practical life, science, geography, and cultural components. Primary children will enjoy more time for whole class meetings to interact with their friends, sing songs together, practice mindfulness, and discuss what they are enjoying about spending time at home. The students will have opportunities throughout the weeks ahead to spend some virtual time with their Enrichment teachers to enjoy Spanish, art, music, and peace. Teachers will also have check-in meetings with each of their students multiple times while we are away to see how they are doing with their distance learning and just give them a virtual hug!
Phase 1: Our 1st through 3rd graders have home practice materials for creative writing, math, science, reading, and history. They have multiple weekly video conferences with their classmates and teachers for presentations of new material and just checking in. Our 3rd graders are able to learn the practical life skill of working in Google Classroom to complete some of their assignments and collaborate on projects.
Phase 2: Lower Elementary students will continue to receive new lessons in all content areas both as a group and by grade level. Their follow-up work will be carefully chosen to reinforce these lessons. Teachers will host regular check-in meetings with teachers and students, as well as time to virtually meet to discuss each child’s individual needs and answer any questions he or she may have. Our 3rd graders will be able to use Google classroom as they work through the capstone project of Lower Elementary: The Fourteen Points Project. Towards the end of the school year they will be able to give their presentation to the class via Zoom!
Phase 1: Our oldest group of students, 4th through 6th graders, meet multiple times a week virtually to learn new material, discuss upcoming projects and maintain the social fun of the classroom! They work through their math, history, science, reading and language work each week and submit their work through Google Classroom. They use their planners to navigate their distance learning schedules that mirror their typical schedules that include enrichments like science lab, music, Spanish, technology, and art.
Phase 2: Upper Elementary students will continue to meet virtually every day to receive new Montessori lessons from their teachers and then work through, and submit, their assignments on Google Classroom. They will expand their virtual meetings to include enrichments class meetings with technology, science lab, Spanish, PE, and Art. They will even meet virtually to practice their Recorder and work on their Shakespeare play together! To stay true to Dr. Montessori’s belief that it is important for elementary students to “go out into the world,” Upper Elementary students will be able to take virtual field trips and then discuss what they liked most about the experience as a group through Zoom.