Apple Montessori Blog
Our Teachers Never Stop Learning: Professional Development at Apple Montessori Schools
Children are precious, so we take our commitment to provide the highest quality education and care very seriously.
As a part of that commitment, we provide regular teacher training and professional development activities for all of our caregivers. These trainings and career development opportunities help our staff stay up-to-date on the latest research and recommendations in early childhood education.
Here’s a peek behind the scenes to help you understand how we prepare our teachers to be the best educators and caregivers they can be.
Professional Development Topics at Apple Montessori
Learning is a never ending process. That’s especially true for teachers. As Dr. Maria Montessori herself said, “It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” In other words, teachers can never learn too much or be too prepared.
True educators know that to stay at the top of their game, they need to refresh, review, and acquire new knowledge. Kellyann McNamara, Assistant Director of Training, Policies & Procedures, explains the nature of Apple Montessori Schools’ training:
“Our Professional Development workshops cover a wide range of topics to ensure our staff are fully supported, can refresh and practice their skills and offer many opportunities for continuing education on new topics.”
Here are some of the topics we cover in our training activities:
- Montessori Materials and Philosophy: Teachers participate in workshops that highlight the main areas of our curriculum which include Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Science, Language, and Geography. In each of these areas, there are specific learning materials that children work with. We focus our trainings on ensuring teachers present these materials correctly and know just when it’s developmentally appropriate to invite a child to a lesson. Our workshops include hands-on time during which teachers can practice working with the materials or presenting a demonstration with them.
- Enrichment Programs: Apple Montessori Schools include enrichment programs such as yoga, sign language, character development, STEAM activities, and FasTracks. We use professional development workshops to help our teachers develop skills in these areas.
- Classroom Management: Effective classroom management creates a positive, successful learning environment for everyone in the classroom. With the Montessori approach, we use unique and non-traditional classroom management techniques that achieve excellent results. Often called freedom within limits or structured freedom, this classroom management approach teaches children routines and expectations while also allowing them to make their own choices.
- Time Management: Teachers are busy! We offer time management training to help teachers be as efficient as possible.
- Communication and Professionalism: Not only do teachers need to communicate with children, but they also need to talk with parents. Effective communication helps teachers share information quickly, professionally, and clearly.
- Health and Safety: The health and safety of everyone at Apple Montessori Schools is our top priority. As McNamara notes, “All Apple Montessori staff have completed extensive safety training including but not limited to CPR, First Aid, AED, and Allergy training.” We refresh and update these trainings regularly.
- Stress Management: A teacher’s emotional wellbeing can impact their ability to be a calm presence in the classroom. For this reason, we believe that teachers can benefit from stress management techniques.
- Best Practices in Early Childhood Education: Apple Montessori Schools has a full-time staff of trainers with over 175 years of experience combined. Despite the vast wealth of knowledge and expertise, we all know that it is important to keep learning and growing as educators.
The training team continues to educate themselves on new industry knowledge, trends, and research in the world of early childhood education by attending workshops, webinars, and conducting their own research. They are then able to share that information with all of our staff during our weekly training sessions, classroom visits, and professional development workshops. Apple Montessori is also a part of recognized organizations such as NJMac and the International Montessori Society which offer wonderful resources for our staff.
We make training and professional development a regular part of our teacher’s and teacher assistants’ lives. All teachers, co-teachers, and assistants attend weekly training sessions. In addition, every year, teachers and co-teachers attend 5 professional development days. Our assistants and teachers in training attend 2 additional professional development days.
Our professional development program also helps us earn and maintain our accreditation with groups such as the Middle States. This prestigious group holds schools to high standards, including proof of growth and improvement over several years’ time. Plus, Middle States representatives perform an on-site evaluation during which they observe the school in action and interview parents, teachers, and students.
Teacher Training in Action
Our teachers are dedicated learners who are committed to always learning something new. Kellyann McNamara explains, “I love being there when a staff member opens their mind and makes a connection to Montessori and sees how amazing it is for all children!”
This spark of learning and understanding in teachers quickly translates to our classrooms, where the real magic happens. When our carefully trained teachers work with our students, so much learning and growing take place!
Not only do we see this growth every day in the shining eyes of our students who are excited and ready to learn, but parents tell us about it. Take a look at what Jamia, mother of a kindergarten student, had to say:
“We chose Apple Montessori after looking at other schools and talking to people in our area. We really value the philosophy of the school. It was the best decision we could have made. Our daughter is in kindergarten and can pick any book off our shelf and start reading it herself. My children have gained self-confidence and autonomy. The school provides a holistic curriculum, fostering the children’s natural learning of academics, art, and self-esteem. We love the teachers and staff and will miss being a part of this community when our youngest child graduates.”
We truly believe that our attention to the education of our educators and caregivers is one of the key differences that Apple Montessori offers. By ensuring that our team members are informed and up to date, our students reap the benefits.
Do you have questions about Apple Montessori Schools? Get in touch with your questions or enrolment request. We can’t wait to hear from you!