CASA Observation Guidelines
Welcome to Prince Edward Montessori School. We are pleased to invite you into the children’s casa. As a guest of the children, we ask that you please take a moment to read the following guidelines. They will assist you in understanding the Montessori Casa (classroom), provide you with the information to have an enriching observation experience, and allow the children to work within their environment undisturbed. It is for this reason we ask you to attend without your child. It is important for you to have an uninterrupted observation in order to assist in your decision making process.
The Casa is orderly and beautiful. You will notice that shelves, furnishings, artwork and materials are designed to be at the child’s eye/hand level. This careful and deliberate preparation of the environment makes children feel at home. Materials are grouped by subject around the room.
This is a Children’s House; the casa, the Italian word for house, truly belongs to the children in it. They are responsible for, and take pride in maintaining the room, working with the materials in a careful and thoughtful manner.
Casa Observation Guidelines
Please, turn off all cell phones and pagers before entering the classroom
- Please plan to observe for a period of 15 to 20 minutes
- A chair will be provided for you in the casa. It gives you a good vantage point into our environment. In order to see the casa as it normally operates, it is important to remain as unobtrusive and quiet around the children as possible.
- Children are naturally curious and may engage a visitor in conversation. A simple “hello” is acceptable. If they are persistent, smile and quietly let them know that you are there to watch them work. If you have a pen and paper for jotting down notes, you may also tell them, “this is my work, I am here to watch children work.” Please do not encourage conversation.
- If you are observing your own child, they may become shy, try to “perform” for you or seem to act in a silly or other unusual way. They may also become possessive of your attention. This is completely normal. For this reason, try not to compare your child with other children during your observation. Just smile and then remind your child that you are an observer today and you can see them from where you are sitting.
- Please respect the children’s confidentiality and do not discuss individuals and their behaviors with other parents.
- Kindly remember that the directress’s responsibility is with the children. Please make a written note of any questions or comments as they arise. You may discuss your questions with the administrator or during your parent teacher conference.
Relax and enjoy your visit!
What to look for during your observation of the Casa
Look for these key elements of a Montessori casa:
- Children of varying ages working independently: alone, in pairs, or in small groups.
- Children concentrating on work, even though there is activity and work going on around them.
- Children choosing their own work.
- Children engaged in quiet conversation.
- Children cooperating and helping one another.
- Children settling their own differences.
- Children caring for the environment—putting work away when completed, cleaning up their messes and handling the materials with care.
- Adults interacting with children but not as the central focus of the classroom.
- A child at an individual lesson with a directress.
- Peaceful and calm body movements.
- Children demonstrating a secure sense of independence.
You may also observe a child walking seemingly aimlessly. Often this child is actively watching the other children and absorbing information through observation. Watch with ease and joy with which the children work.