Our Traditions

Plants

Each student can choose to bring a small house plant with them to school. This is a way for them to contribute to the classroom environment by beautifying their classroom. It is also a way to teach caring and responsibility as the student takes care of their plant throughout the year. When they bridge to the next classroom they will take their plant with them

Classroom Shoes

Students frequently choose to work on the floor in either a sitting or lying position. To keep our classroom environment clean and the floor an enjoyable place to choose to learn from, outdoor shoes are not worn in the classroom. Both children and adults bring slippers or indoor-only shoes that they leave in the classroom for use while in class. Shoe cubbies are provided for both indoor and outdoor shoes

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life is a beautiful Montessori ceremony that celebrates a child’s life. This ceremony is done during a class circle. The teacher places a candle in the middle of the circle to represent the sun. The birthday child carries a globe to represent the earth and walks around the sun once for each year of his/her life. After each circle around the sun, the children sing and the birthday child shares a photo of him/herself at that age, as well as something important that happened that year.

Bridging Ceremony

Our bridging ceremony is a beautiful ceremony that marks a significant period of growth in a child’s life. Students who are transitioning from one stage to another (ie: Junior to Senior) are honored for the person they are and the growth they have made. Students cross the bridge and are greeted by a teacher of the next stage. The bridge is a concrete representation of crossing into a new stage of development. This is ceremony is a special ceremony that is cherished at PDMA

Observations

Observations are a great way for parents to gain more insight and understanding of how our Montessori classrooms work and the experiences that students are having at school. Observation times are scheduled with the classroom teacher. There are specific procedures that we ask observers to follow so that the classroom environment is maintained and student work periods are not disrupted. The best way to think of an observation is that the observer is truly an observer watching and listening to the goings on in the classroom. This is not a time for a conference with the teacher as the teacher will be focused on teaching and observing students.

Normalization

In our Montessori classrooms, we recognize the time needed for students and classrooms to fully transition to a steady flow. Maria Montessori referred to this transition period as “normalization” and recognized that it lasts approximately 6-8 weeks. The normalization period is a time when our teachers and classroom communities are continually focused on helping students settle into the classroom. Emphasis is given to ensuring students are fully comfortable with the routines and gain the focus, time management, and drive needed to be highly productive in our classrooms. At PDMA, the normalization process lasts until Fall Break. During normalization, our focus is to keep the classroom environment consistent and normal.