At Home #9: Montessori House Zoom: Primer for Parents

We wanted to provide our Montessori House families information on our Zoom sessions, to help make them fun and productive for students who attend.  We have multiple formats for Zoom sessions — some require preparation for children to participate (for example if we do food preparation together, you’ll need to gather ingredients ahead of time),  others are intended to teach students how to do a project on their own after the session (with parents’ help of course, for example a science experiment), and many have little or no preparation or follow up.   If a session is aimed at older students (e.g. Kindergarten) or younger students (under age 4), we’ll let parents know.  Below you’ll find a chart of our different session formats (note, certain formats may have no limit on participants, while others are intended for a limited, small group of students).  Following the chart is further information and a few pointers for parents to make our Zoom session with your children fun and successful.

Format Student Role Parent Role Example Size Limit
Presentation Listen and Watch No prep.  No follow-up. Storybook n/a
Interactive Respond individually with Ms. Maria’s prompts Minimal prep. No follow up. 
Help child respond and stay focused.
Ensure child has materials needed for session.
Show & Tell 12
Demonstration Listen and Watch.  Do the project with parent’s help on their own after the session. No prep.  Significant follow up. 
Listen and Watch.  Follow up to assemble materials with instructions to do the project with your child, on your own time after the session.
Art or
Science Project
Follow the Leader Follow instructions provided to the whole group, and participate. Minimal prep.  No follow up. 
Ensure your child has space needed for the activity.  Help your child understand and follow the instructions.
Show & Do Listen and watch how it’s done, then you do it with everyone else. Significant prep.  Minimal follow up. Assemble materials and review instructions before the session.  Then  accompany your child as they “do” with everyone else. “Cook” together 12
  • About 15 minutes before your Zoom session starts, we’ll email you the Zoom log-in URL.  That URL will have the Zoom meeting information and password embedded — you will not need this information sent to you separately, it’s all in the URL. The email will come from TimeToSignUp, and will be sent to the address provided when you registered for the session.
  • Each Zoom session has a unique set of log-in credentials — so you’ll need the Zoom URL unique to your scheduled session.  We do that to limit participation just to those students registered and to mitigate Zoom-bombing.
  • When you join the Zoom session you’ll first be placed in a Waiting Room.  When Ms. Maria is ready to start, she’ll admit you from the Waiting Room.  (If you arrive after the session has started, you still have to pass through the Waiting Room until admitted — that may take a few minutes.)
  • When you join the session you will be on MUTE.  When it’s appropriate, Ms. Maria will UNMUTE you.  Sometimes she’ll unmute everyone at once, other times one-by-one (e.g. for your child’s turn during show & tell).  When Ms. Maria unmutes you, you may need to acknowledge on your screen before you can be heard by the group.
  • In the upper right-hand corner of your screen, you have the option to toggle between “Speaker” and “Gallery” (which may appear as a checkerboard icon).  We recommend that you set this toggle to SPEAKER, especially when Ms. Maria is reading a book or presenting, or when other students are participating in show & tell.
  • During show & tell, Ms. Maria will go to children one-by-one.  When she comes to your child, she will unmute you, and set your video to spotlight.  Normally, Zoom will focus on whomever is speaking (and that person will pop-up as the speaker).  When you’re in the spotlight, only you will display as the speaker — but the audience will hear both you and Ms. Maria.  This avoids the jumping back and forth between Ms. Maria and the child presenting, but still lets her ask questions and prompt the child who’s doing show & tell.
  • At the end of most sessions, Ms. Maria will unmute everyone to say goodbye and end the meeting.
  • Ms. Maria chooses the books she presents carefully — providing you guidance on books best for “younger” children or for “older” children.  “Younger” generally means children ages 2 – 4 (in other words, in their first or second year at The Montessori House).  You know best if your child has the patience for a more complex story, and these stories for “older” children generally assume more general knowledge of the world.

We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!

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