Montessori Education is based on the principle that every child carries within, the potential of the adult he is to become. Dr. Montessori believed that no human being is educated by another person. The aim is to assist the child to educate himself. The aim is also to develop within the child a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge which will remain long after the regular school day or school years are over.
The Preschool Classrooms
The Montessori classroom is geared to the size, pace and the interests of children three years old through six. The Montessori materials are divided into five areas; Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural. Practical Life Exercises help to develop the hand-eye coordination, concentration, a sense of order and organizational skills. The Sensorial Materials provide the means by which the child learns to discriminate by using all the senses. The Academic Materials awaken the child’s interests in language and mathematics. The Cultural Materials include Zoology, Botany, Geography, Art, Music, Dance, Cooking, and Science.
The environment, rather than the child, is structured and controlled so that each child has maximum freedom of using the material which will enhance his/her current stage of development. Montessori combines freedom and structure I a truly integrated way. Children are free to do what they want within the framework of the materials, which are themselves structured teaching tools. The materials lead the children gradually through a series of structured steps, to a higher level of competence. Dr. Maria Montessori started a quiet revolution. Many of the materials she developed can be found in the mainstream early childhood classrooms, but the philosophy and the deep respect for the integrity of the child are only found in a Montessori preschool classroom.
Teach Me To Teach Myself
Effective learning requires an attentive disposition in each learning opportunity. Through a series of absorbing activities and experiences, the child forms habits of extended attention, thus increasing the ability to concentrate. The application of these principles promotes the following:
- A positive attitude toward learning
Children engage in learning tasks which appeal to them. They achieve success, so building a positive attitude to learning and confidence in themselves.
- Self-Confidence as an independent learner
Each new step is built on what is already mastered. This removes the negative experience of failure, thus building an inner confidence, assuring the ability for self-motivation.
- Development of sensory-motor skills
Tasks are designed to involve large and small muscles, enabling the child to gain control over movements.
- An abiding curiosity
By being provided a rich learning environment the child’s natural curiosity is expanded. This is an essential element in learning.
- Initiative and persistence
The child selects the work, completes the task, and finishes by replacing the materials. This full cycle of activity promotes initiative and persistence.
- Discrimination and judgment
By working with the materials the child is able to learn how to categorize and sort out the different aspects of the environment.
- Social Development
The complete classroom environment develops an understanding and appreciation of what is meant by respect for others.
- Inner security and a sense of order
The organized classroom and the materials help the child’s need for order and foster its development within the child.
- Development of creative intelligence and imagination
The child is encouraged to implement the feelings and perceptions gained from this total experience. By taking thousands of clear perceptions from will planned exercises, the child acquires the mental building blocks needed later for grasping the meaning of words, ideas, and concepts required for “learning how to learn” effectively.
The Average Preschool Day
(This is a general outline of our day, special events may take priority and all outside activities are subject to the weather)
7:00 am: School Opens (unless arrangements are made in advance for a 6:30 am drop off)
8:00 am: 1/2 day Drop Off
7:00 – 8:30 am: Independent work time
8:30 – 9:00 am: Outside Play for Full Day Children
9:00 – 9:30 am: 1/2 Day Outside Play
9:00 – 11:30 am: Montessori Work Time
11:00-11:30 am: Outside Play Time
11:30 am: Circle Time
12:00 pm: Lunch and 1/2 Day Dismissal
12:30 pm: Nap Time and Afternoon 1/2 Day Drop Off
1:00 – 3:30 pm: Montessori Work Time
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Outside Play
4:30 pm: 1/2 Day Dismissal
4:30 – 6:00 pm: Block Work
Children ride horses when the weather is above 32 degrees, the wind is less than 20 mph, and the area is dry and safe. French is open every day.