MDS Distance Learning Program: “MDS at Home”

April 28, 2020

After COVID-19 caused the closing of our campus, we switched our “spring break” from April to March and our MDS staff rolled up their sleeves and spent the week figuring out how to transform Montessori in person to Montessori online. It hasn’t been easy, it isn’t perfect and it continues to be tweaked as experience dictates. Here is a peek into what is currently happening in each of our online classrooms as described by each program’s directress.

From Kathryn Procko: Our Toddler “MDS at Home” program is designed to help support families by providing Montessori education in an online format. This approach is divided into four main areas; two live and interactive circle times, pre-recorded lessons and activities, story time for children to enjoy, and parent education resources based on what our community’s needs are. Although I miss seeing the children’s eyes light up when they first come into the classroom and greeting their friends with a big hug and warm smile, I love seeing the children bringing their parents to circle time and parents dancing and singing with their child. It is so wonderful to see parents and children finding joy in classroom activities and songs while watching their children learn and discover!

From Haleigh Harper: Our Primary “MDS at Home” experience offers live-streamed community gatherings, live-streamed small group lessons and activities for all ages, pre-recorded video lessons and parent education resources. Maria Montessori called her first school “Casa dei Bambini,” or the “children’s house.” I deeply miss seeing the way the children care for and interact within our classroom – a “house” created just for them. However, our current situation affords me the rare opportunity to peek into the children’s real houses and see them from a new perspective. I have met their beloved pets, seen the cozy spaces, and heard the laughter of family members that are uniquely treasured by each child. Although I cannot wait for the day when we can be in the same space again, I am grateful to all our families for temporarily welcoming me into their homes!

From Lael LaRanger: Our Elementary “MDS at Home” experience is designed to provide Montessori education for students in their home. We have several resources for our families. Our live lessons include small group lessons Monday through Thursday, whole class community meetings and a read-aloud each day.
Teachers each have office hours so students and parents can get help and share information.
On Fridays, each student has a conference with a teacher to review their week’s work and to discuss any help they need. Google classroom is used to supply information on follow up work from the small group lessons. It also provides a way for students to share their work with the teachers. We provide additional videos to spark the imagination of our students and encourage them to explore and learn about their world.
We greatly miss being with our students; we miss their interactions, interests, and their joy of learning while at school. It has been wonderful; however, to see them each day in their homes and to meet all of their pets. We have discovered more about children’s interests outside of the classroom during this time. The support of parents has been phenomenal, and we are truly grateful for their continuing partnership in our MDS at Home effort.

Videos by MDS parent and Occupational Therapist Amy Kobelski:
I’m creating short activity videos that families can access at home on YouTube. Some of the videos will provide kids with movement activities, which will be fun, and also reinforce skills that facilitate and strengthen learning. Other videos may focus on calming and self-regulation activities that can be very helpful to use between classwork or just for breaks. These videos are not meant to provide “more work” for the kids and families, but rather, I hope they will provide you with ideas to integrate into your children’s daily routine and learning, thereby making your day a bit easier.

Thanks to everyone for helping us keep MDS up and running!
“Our Montessori Discovery School Community nurtures joyful learners who confidently engage their world.” Community, in all its forms, is at the center of Montessori Discovery School!