Frequenctly Asked Questions:
What is Montessori Education?
· The aim of Montessori education is to foster competent, responsible, adaptive citizens who are lifelong learners and problem solvers.
· Learning occurs in an inquiring, cooperative, nurturing atmosphere. Students increase their own knowledge through self- and teacher-initiated experiences.
· Learning takes place through the senses. Students learn by manipulating materials and interacting with others. These meaningful experiences are precursors to the abstract understanding of ideas.
· The individual is considered as a whole. The physical, emotional, social, aesthetic, spiritual, and cognitive needs and interests are inseparable and equally important.
Respect and caring attitudes for oneself, others, the environment, and all life are necessary.
What makes Montessori education unique?
1.The "Whole Child" approach-
The primary goal of a Montessori Program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The holistic curriculum allows the child to experience the joy of learning and to develop self esteem and independence.
2.The "Prepared environment"-
In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment, material and social climate must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the children's trust, which enables them to try new things and build self confidence.
3.The Montessori materials-
Dr. Montessori's observations of the kinds of "toys" which children enjoy and return to play with repeatedly led her to design a number of multi-sensory sequential and self-correcting materials which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts. Our teachers follow the "Montessori principles" as they develop new materials and activities for the classroom.
Originally called a "Directress," the Montessori teacher functions as a facilitator of learning. She is a role model, designer of the environment, resource person, demonstrator, record keeper and observer of each child's growth and development. She encourages, respects, and loves each child as a special, unique individual; she also provides support for parents and joins them in partnership to nurture the development of the whole child.
How did Montessori Begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of The Montessori Method of Education, based this new education on her scientific observations of young children's behavior. As the first woman physician to graduate from the University of Rome, Dr. Montessori became involved with education as a doctor treating children labeled as retarded. In 1906 she was invited to open a daycare center for the children of desperately poor families in the San Lorenzo slums of Rome. She called it "A Children's House" and developed an environment geared to the size, pace and interests of boys and girls between the ages of three and six.
Dr. Montessori's dynamic theories included such revolutionary premises as:
1. Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who are different from one another.
2. Children create themselves through purposeful activity.
3. The most important years for learning are from birth to age six.
What is the role of the Montessori teacher?
In a Montessori classroom there is no front of the room and no teacher’s desk as a focal point of attention because the stimulation for learning comes from the total environment. Dr. Montessori always referred to the teacher as a “directress, or director,” and her role differs considerably from that of a traditional teacher. She is, first of all, a very keen observer of the individual interests and needs of each child, and her daily work proceeds from her observations rather than from a prepared curriculum. The Directress works with each child individually, allowing her to choose from many activities within her range of ability. The teacher stands back while a child is working, and allows her the satisfaction of her own discovery.
Do you expect parental involvement in the program?
We hope that all parents will become involved through observations, conferences, and other special events. The more parents participate, the better able they are to follow through at home. When parents follow through at home, the child benefits even more because she has a consistent environment in which to grow and develop as a secure, well-adjusted human being.