Homework at LAMB
By Principal Lainie Santos Torres
At LAMB, our teachers observe every child and create an environment that invites students to explore and learn freely within limits set by the teachers. This is at the core of the Montessori method. We know children want to learn and be independent. For us, the teacher’s role is to observe the students and to help them learn at their own pace. Dr. Montessori famously said, "The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I didn't exist.' "
Each child enjoys this freedom at school. This is what helps students become independent learners. If students are free to choose what they want to focus their learning on and to manage their time at school, it follows that they should have the same freedom at home. This is why we don’t do homework in the traditional way.
At the same time, we recognize that most of our students will move on to traditional schools at some point. At these schools, homework is an important part of the academic program, and students are expected to do homework pretty much daily. We need to prepare our students to succeed once they go to another school. We also know that homework is an opportunity to teach students how to be responsible and manage their time.
At LAMB, students who are learning to read already have “homework” in the sense that we ask them to read for 15 minutes in each language every day. Additionally, Upper Elementary students have had some type of homework. Therefore, having homework is not something entirely new at LAMB. Though, this year, we will be giving homework assignments to 3rd-grade students as well.
I am working with elementary teachers to identify the best type of homework to give our students and to do it in a way that rings true to who we are. We want to make sure we teach students an important skill they will need while respecting and being true to our Montessori philosophy.
We haven’t finalized our plans on this yet. Though, I can share that we don’t plan for our homework to be something students have to do from one day to the next. We understand our students and their families have busy lives with busy schedules. Part of what we want our students to learn is how to take responsibility and do something they were assigned to do within their schedules. Most likely, students will have a week to turn homework in. We expect them to find time during the week to fulfill their responsibility by themselves.
Our homework will be designed to be done by the student without your help. We know it may be tempting to help. Please don’t. Remember, we teach students to be independent learners. Homeworks should be done the same way. Of course, if your child is struggling with something and asks you to explain something and help, please do. Though, help your child understand and then leave them to finish by themselves.