Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Perceptions of Family Priorities and Stressors
Teachers of young children work closely with families. One component of teacher-family partnerships is teachers’ understanding of family priorities and stressors. This study examines Montessori early childhood (ages three through six) teacher perceptions of family priorities and stressors through an analysis of responses to two parallel surveys. Eighty teachers (37% of those who received the survey) and forty-nine family members (representing a 55% response rate) completed the survey. Significant differences were found between teachers’ perceptions of four (of seven) family priorities and families’ actual responses. Teachers ranked “making academic progress” as the most important of seven possible family priorities. However, families stated that “developing kindness” is the most important priority for their young children. No significant differences were found when comparing teacher rankings of family stressors with actual family responses. Montessori early childhood teachers ranked “not having enough time” as the most stressful of six possible stressors. Families confirmed that time pressures cause them the most stress. Maria Montessori’s recommendations for teachers and families are summarized. Recommendations for building stronger family partnerships in the context of Montessori’s philosophy, for example on-going self-reflection, are provided.
Keywords: Montessori, teacher-family partnerships, early childhood teacher perceptions
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