Montessori Grace and Courtesy

Classroom Meetings

This is a Blog post from our classroom’s page that I thought was worth sharing here…Hope you enjoy! and please feel free to comment with the resources your classroom uses for Classroom Meetings as well!

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(Even though I am posting this in early June, it is clearly from earlier in the year because we are only on point two! haha! One of these days I’ll catch up…)

One of the most important values we hope to nurture in the classroom is respect. Respect for each other and respect for our environment. We directly address this by starting every day with a class meeting. This meeting creates an opportunity to greet and encourage each other, discuss problems and solutions, and share important information. Our class meeting format is based on the Positive Discipline books written by Jane Nelson. She references eight essential skills necessary for successful class meetings. They are as follows:

  1. Forming a Circle
  2. Practicing Compliments and Appreciations
  3. Respecting Differences
  4. Using Respectful Communication Skills
  5. Focusing on Solutions
  6. Brainstorming and Role Playing
  7. Using the Agenda and Class Meeting Format
  8. Understanding the Four Mistaken Goals (the reason behind the behavior)

We start each meeting with compliments and appreciations. We all benefit from both giving and receiving compliments, especially in the morning, as we begin our day. We have discussed the difference between “inside” and “outside” compliments, i.e. the difference between complimenting what someone is wearing or something they have done. We have recently created a basket of adjectives from which one child can choose a word and give it to a teacher to use during our compliments and appreciations. This is fun for the teachers to have to think quickly and for the children to hear the varying ways of showing praise or thanks.

Most recently we have been discussing respectful communication and role playing certain scenarios. We are talking about the roles of the speaker and the listener and what they look like, as well as how to communicate effectively when you are upset by something. These are skills that we work on throughout our lives and we can always use a little extra practice. Both the teachers and the children enjoy these opportunities to challenge our patterns of behavior.

Sometimes during these meetings we see glimpses of children’s thoughts and feelings that we don’t ordinarily see. We may touch on subjects that are more sensitive and raw to some at that moment. We are trying to create a safe place to talk about and model positive behavior. The reasons why people behave the way they do is often not considered enough and we hope to have an honest discourse about this with each other. Please ask your children or any of the teachers about the class meetings if you have any questions.

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