What is observation?
Seeing our children with fresh eyes, removing any preconceptions or judgment. It’s a window into your child’s experience in the classroom.

Maria Montessori believed that observation is necessary to understand children as individuals. She also believed that the child needs to be able to express themselves without interference.

Simone Davies explains observation, “It’s like being a scientist for the day. Imagine you’ve never met your child before, be curious, and write down in objective language everything you see.”

It helps you experience the classroom environment first-hand, see how the children communicate and socialize, and observe how they complete their work cycle, use the materials, and gain independence.

3 Reasons to do Observation

  1. We see more detail and learn to know our child better when we observe.
  2. We can see the progress in their development; watching them master something they used to struggle with.
  3. We see who they are and not who we want them to be. They show us how they want to learn and we come up with ways to support them.

What we can observe

  • We can choose to focus on one thing at a time, like fine and gross motor, and document everything we observe.
  • We can create a running record, describing everything they do, including language, movement, social and cognitive development, etc.
  • We can observe any behavioral concerns and observe when this happens and what they are trying to communicate.

How teachers use observation
Observation is a key component to the Montessori method. Teachers use it in their weekly practice to support the needs of children.

Observation helps teachers set up a classroom environment that best supports each child. Teachers are able to observe what children are capable of and what they want to learn.

Follow the child, they will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves, and what area they need to be challenged in. The aim of the children who persevere in their work with an object is certainly not to ‘learn’; they are drawn to it by the needs of their inner life, which must be recognized and developed by its means.

Additional Resources
A Guide to Parent Observation in the Primary Class
Observing the Montessori Classroom
How and Why to Observe Your Child in Montessori

Day of Guidelines
STEP ONE: BE PRESENT. Turn your cellphone on silent.
STEP TWO: CONFIDENTIALITY. Photography of the children is strictly prohibited.
STEP THREE: ENJOY. Use fresh eyes to observe your child and the classroom.

Children go through stages of development in their work—from learning to use the material to using it with focus and under-standing—and on to mastery.

Some things you may look for as you observe:

  • Observe your child.
    • Is your child choosing work independently?
    • How do they make their selections?
    • Do they move with purpose?
    • How long do they concentrate?
    • Do they demonstrate care for the environment?
  • Observe the other students.
    • Are they working alone or in teams?
  • Observe the teacher.
    • Watch the teachers giving lessons.