Observation Guidelines

We're thrilled to have you observe one of our programs. Of course, what you see while you're here will be influenced by your presence, so to minimize the disruption factor we ask that you please keep this in mind:

  • Observations are typically for 20-30 minutes. Please be on time.
  • We'll have a chair for you, placed in a specific area of the classroom. Please remain in your seat and refrain from moving it.
  • Children are busy, so please avoid approaching them or engaging them in conversation. If a child talks to you, smile or nod, but do not encourage him/her. Take time to observe other children if your own child is distracted by your presence.
  • At the close of your visit, please exit the room quietly.
  • Please don’t talk with classroom guides unless approached by them. If, during the course of your visit, questions come to mind, jot them down, and we'll be glad to discuss them after your observation session.


Below are some aspects of the Montessori classroom you may want to watch for. As you observe, watch the group so as to be aware of activities and routines as a whole, and then concentrate on one or two specific children.

  • Is the child independent in choosing his own work and completing it?
  • Does the child concentrate on a piece of work for a long period of time? Does he change his work? What are the signs of his concentration?
  • Are his movements coordinated or uncoordinated? Orderly or disorderly?
  • Does the child need constant assistance from an adult or can he mainly work on his own?
  • Does he socialize? wander? daydream?
  • How is the environment prepared for the child?
  • Note which activities are initiated by the child and which ones by the guide. Also, notice how the guide initiates and presents lessons and the varying reactions to the presentations.


For your reference, these are the basic ground rules followed by the children:

  • A child’s work is his own; no one else may touch it unless invited by that child.
  • The material a child has chosen to work with is taken from and returned to the shelf by the child when he has finished.
  • The materials are used on a rug (when working on the floor) or a mat (when working on a table.)
  • Walk and speak softly while inside the classroom environment.