As some of you may know, yesterday was my first day volunteering at a Montessori preschool in Prescott. I'll be volunteering there four more days (spread out through the rest of April), then working (paid!) for the first half of May (1st-12th), after which we'll be heading out on our road trip (they were actually only looking for me to work two weeks total in May, to get a feel for it before the summer program, but they weren't picky about which two weeks-so the road trip fit in well with that). We get back from the road trip May 31st, and their 2-month summer program starts June 1st! The timing couldn't have worked out more perfectly. It'll be interesting jumping right into the summer program only a day after we're scheduled to get back from the road trip (no time to recuperate), but I'm really looking forward to it.
The Montessori Method is something I learned about when the parents of the girls I babysat in Phoenix were looking into which school they wanted to put the girls in for kindergarten. Villa Montessori was one that they looked into, and although they chose a different one, I found it interesting to know about the different methods and ways of teaching that are out there.
In looking for a child care job here, I discovered two different Montessori schools, and the one I'm now volunteering at is the only one (out of many) that invited me to observe their routine for about an hour, and discussed with me the possibilities of my employment there (rather than just saying, "fill out an application and we'll call you if an opening comes up, which might happen in the summer but we don't know for sure"). They had the same situation as the other schools, possible openings in the summer but none until then, but they were a lot more pro-active about it. So, because of that and being able to observe (and the fact that I really like the Montessori Method), they were by far my favorite of all the places I looked at.
Yesterday went well, they were really helpful on transitioning me into things. I was able to be involved in their activities, without any actual responsibilities to worry about, so that I could mostly learn by doing and by observation of the way they do things. I know about half the kids' names now (no small feat, with a group of 20-25 children), and they seem to like me for the most part. I had a lot of fun, and I'm really glad to have the opportunity to be paid for doing something I love (I haven't really experienced that a whole lot, so far). They made me feel like an asset, too, in that they're teaching the kids Spanish and Sign Language, both of which I know semi-well (I'm extremely limited, but I know enough to carry on a simple conversation, which is all they really need for the kids). In all, it went great, and I'm really excited about the possibilities.