I have been an AMS accredited Montessori Lead Teacher since 2008 in Redmond, WA. When I first started using Bloomz in the Fall of 2014, it completely changed my classroom community. Just taking a few minutes each day to post a picture and a description of beautiful learning moments my students had, virtually eliminated my need for the hours of parent communication I was doing each night. My parents now feel engaged, educated, and enthusiastic about what we are doing daily in class.
If you were to ask any Montessori teacher, what are the most frequent questions they get from parents, they’re “What is my child doing all day? Why am I getting 100’s of cut up pieces of paper… Shouldn’t they be learning important things like reading?” In some form or other.
The best advice I can give you is to use Bloomz as mini Parent Education Nights. It gives you a rare opportunity to highlight core lessons throughout the continuum. I have included two posts from my class feed so you can see what I mean. One highlights an older child working on a Cultural Extension material I created. Instead of snapping a pic and saying something like , “Zoe had a great time working today.” (which I also do daily) I highlighted what the outcome was for her. The other post is one of my three year olds scrubbing a table. This also conveys the amazing things he is gaining from such a “simple task.”
This does two things:
First, this becomes that take home piece parents are missing because of our concrete curriculum. All of the sudden those cutting strips make sense because they are understanding what there is to gain from the act of cutting a paper strip.
Second, it creates less work for me. Every parent of my 20 children can see a picture and associate it with their own child. Parents start to learn the scope and sequence of the curriculum, and I find they already know what materials are, or what comes next.
We spend so much time at parent nights trying to craft that perfect presentation of materials and philosophy. But if we take Dr. Montessori’s advice, and we step back and allow the children to shine, parents understand in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Parents also have a chance to “like” and “comment” on posts in Bloomz, opening up a dialogue that was never possible before. I have had more parents show up to class functions, and class volunteers this year than ever before. Here are a couple of tips to increase your parental engagement using some of the calendar features
1. Events- I list everything here from sound of the week sharing to class outings. I use the alert feature to set up reminders for parents so they don’t forget, and can attach item requests right to the event. Everything is in one place now!
2. Volunteers- I have my “room mom” coordinate all of my parent volunteers in my classroom. She goes in and sets up reoccurring events for volunteer tasks in our class calendar. Parents can go in and sign up on their own, making managing parents a breeze for both of us. I can open the volunteer hand at any time to see who is coming when, and what still needs to be filled. It has been a complete time saver! Here is an example–
When the creator of Bloomz (who is the parent of one of my students) came to me and asked me to use the app, I was really reluctant. I felt like it was going to be one more thing I would have to do, and it would end up being more work for me. Man was I wrong. I know firsthand what this app can do for teachers, and I want to share that with as many of you as possible.
If you have any questions about the app, how I use it, or what it can do for you, you are welcome to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And please, if you use it and love it, let me know! (even if you don’t) I would love to hear from you how Bloomz changed your classroom community…
Here’s to engaged parents, and more ME time!
Montessori Lead Teacher
Bloomz Community Manager