Toddler Teaching and Assessment

Self-directed learning requires the most masterful, most prepared, most actively engaged teachers.

In the MSR classroom, there is no predetermined, daily lesson plan that assumes that every child needs the same lessons at the same times. Our Montessori-trained teachers plan responsively—preparing individual lessons that implicitly demand students acquire and apply the necessary knowledge and skillsets. They prepare the environment—daily attending to everything from placement of materials to the beauty of the space in ways that harmonize with the changing seasons and progressing lessons.

Then they listen. They actively observe. What is he drawn toward? Where does he struggle and need support and guidance? When is he ready for a bigger challenge? MSR teachers follow your child’s progress, help him stay on course, and draw him toward ever deeper inquiry, genuine engagement, and constant skill-building.

And at MSR, your teachers assess your child’s progress, not with letter grades or percentage points, but through keen observation, scaffolded lessons, and careful record-keeping. We incorporate testing and other standard assessments when the time is right (e.g., testing begins in Elementary School when documented progress helps inform instruction and showcase growth; grades begin in Middle School when students are ready for more formal commitments, responsibilities, and accountability), but not before. From the very start, children practice directing and evaluating their own learning. Every day and in every subject area, we invite your child into a process of wondering, observation, problem solving, and joyful accomplishment, ensuring that he finds his deepest motivations not in external markers of success, but in the self-sustaining and irrepressible desire to learn.

When a child is working on a ‘work’ in a Montessori classroom, so many parts of their mind are being used and we’re paying attention to every aspect. With the bells, for instance, they’re using fine motor skills, systems thinking, using a sequence to understand steps, then conversing with a peer or with me, using language and social skills to seek or offer support. It’s amazing to participate in this process with them—to see them discover and become who they are as whole people.
–MSR teacher