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The Evolution of Parent Communication Tools

Having been in the Montessori community for well over 20 years now, I have seen first-hand the evolution of parent communication tools.

We have come a long way from handwritten notes, long forms, unnecessary repetition, photocopying and other time-consuming low value-add activity.  Things improved some as we evolved from paper updates to email and websites.

The last several years have brought further evolution in the form of education centric systems and most recently systems with deep subject matter expertise such as Montessori Compass.

At the Montessori School of Silicon Valley, we began our Montessori Compass journey about two years ago.  It was so exciting to have this great tool that enabled us to improve the quality of the communication between parent and lead guides.  Over these past couple of years, the guides have been able to keep tidy and thorough records for the children.

Constantly Striving to Improve

Those of you who have been with us for any length of time know that we are always reviewing our people, programs and processes to identify opportunity for improving the quality of the experience for all members of our school communities.

This spring was one of those times.  We brought in all our lead guides for a workshop to review and evaluate all our work in Montessori Compass.  Our focus was to understand:

  • What’s working, what’s not
  • What’s effective and what’s not
  • We looked at the time required to use the tool
  • What families like and what they would like more of

Observing the Child

If you have read much about the Montessori philosophy and the role of the guide, you know that observation of the child is front and center to the philosophy.

Montessori guides are specially trained to observe the child, know what the child is ready for and what to present next.  In addition, guides are trained to know when to intervene and provide guidance as well as when to step back to allow the child to proceed independently.

During our workshop, it became apparent that while we were doing many things very well in Montessori Compass, there was a great opportunity to improve how we used the available Observation and Planning tools.

At that point, the decision was made to dig in even further to reimagine how we could be using Montessori Compass to provide greater value to our entire community of children, parents and staff.

Timing is Everything

As it turned out, the timing could not have been better as the developers of Montessori Compass recently went through the same self-improvement process and launched a new and improved version of their system.

The Compass development team gathered feedback from Montessori schools all over the world and ten completely reimagined and how MC could best serve schools.

They apparently did a FANTASTIC job of listening and responding to their customer base because not only are the updates in the redesigned Montessori Compass completely AWESOME, they align perfectly with our objectives for the summer!

Our Turn

Following our workshop, we asked a small number of our most experienced and highly regarded lead guides to determine how to leverage the new capabilities in Montessori Compass to meet the objectives that we defined at the spring workshop.

Trust me when I say that these ladies did an AMAZING job learning how to use the new tools and then collaborating to create a working set of procedures and guidelines for how we use Montessori Compass.

Our lead guides will now be spending the summer learning our new approach with Montessori Compass so that when the new school year opens in September the staff at all our sites will be able to maximize the benefits of using the record keeping tool for progress reports as well as:

  • Work Plans and Idea Plans
  • Recording lessons Parent Communication Tools
  • Observations of children
  • Posting photos
  • Weekly Summary Reporting  Parent Communication Tools
  • Trackers for the younger children in Nido and Pre-Primary for food, sleep and toileting

What to Expect

In July and August, existing MSOSV parents will continue to receive a weekly summary report from your child’s classroom.

Please note that while we are in the training process this summer, we will NOT be sending recorded lessons and individual notes.

If your child is in our Nido or Pre-Primary Programs, over the summer you will begin to see our work with the Trackers.  The Tracker feature has been completely revamped and will likely take us a little time to figure out how to best use.

Since we plan to work out the kink with the Trackers over the summer, I want to thank you in advance for your patience.   We also would appreciate your constructive feedback and support as we define the best use of the Trackers.

The full roll out of our new and improved Montessori Compass Recordkeeping System will be on the first day of school, September 5th.

Also, please keep an eye out for an invitation to a Parent Education Night featuring our New Montessori Compass Program.

In the interim, I have posted some related links below for your reference.  We hope you are as excited as we are about this update.

Sincerely,

Colleen Noll
Founder & CEO
The Montessori School of Silicon Valley

“Children First, Always.”

Parent Communication Tools

Montessori Compass website

Child Observation and the Montessori Guide

More on Child Observation in the Montessori Environment