Montessori education offers a unique experience designed to help children maximize their potential; an educational environment that is purposefully designed to meet their developmental needs. Working in an optimally prepared environment, the trained adult will observe and connect the children with exactly what they need at that very moment to thrive.
A school is a group of people who come together with a common purpose; education is the experience that your child has with these people. Montessori education is known as an aid to life so their experience will serve them now and for the rest of their life.
The conventional educational system was designed during the industrial revolution, when the masses moved into urban areas to work in factories.
They created an effective method of training the next generation of factory workers. Children were instructed to memorize and regurgitate facts – to stop working when the bell rings – to sit in nice, neat rows of desks and ask for permission to move. This approach is no longer relevant in our modern culture.
Today, successful people work on comprehensive projects, not factory lines. They are rewarded for creating and inventing things rather than following orders. And, they are expected to adapt quickly to change within their profession, rather than working at the same job for 50 years.
As we peek into the ever-changing future of the 21st century, Montessori programs offer a safe harbor for parents: a century-old, research-based method that has been proven to develop some of the brightest minds of our times and is well positioned to develop the movers and shakers of tomorrow.
But what exactly is Montessori education?
At its core, it simply is a way of being with children that allows each child to develop fully into the person he or she was destined to be. Just as you make every effort to ensure your home is loving and safe – so your child feels secure and well-adjusted – we work diligently to ensure the physical environment, the teachers and the student community will meet your child’s needs with respect and support at each step in his educational journey.
The Montessori environment has three essential parts: the teacher, the materials, and the children. Instead of expecting that he pays attention to the teacher in front of a class of 30 children, it is the Montessori teacher, or guide, who observes and responds to your child’s needs and interests which fosters a trusting relationship – an education partnership of sorts – in which he will have faith that the adult truly understands and respects him for the human being into which he is transforming.
The uniquely designed materials offer first-hand experiences for the children to discover and apply their newly acquired knowledge.
The children in the community observe and learn from each other through free movement and choice within the environment. All three work together in sync with the needs of the community and the individuals it’s comprised of.
Our world doesn’t need more test takers, memorizers or followers. Now, more than ever, we need critical thinkers, entrepreneurs and do-ers. Montessori education prepares children to take on the future with confidence and zeal, propelled by the gift of self-knowledge and a lifelong passion for learning.
The children have really enjoyed the beautiful fall weather and the changing of the seasons. What better way to celebrate then by jumping in a pile of leaves? Thank you Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography for capturing these carefree moments of childhood for us.
We have openings in our Toddler Program for January 2019
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The afternoon primary class is akin to the kindergarten level of a traditional school, and therefore is entered around five years of age, or as the teacher sees readiness in the child. The time in the afternoon class is very important, as it is an opportunity to solidify concepts learned in the first years of the classroom.
The Golden Beads are a math activity that allows children to concretely explore the four operations in math - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In the photos below, the children are doing an addition problem.
The children start by setting up cards to represent the quantities. (Yes - they are using 4 digit numbers!)
Then, they choose cards and get 'golden' beads. The beads are a concrete representation of the abstract symbol (the number).
There are 4 types of golden beads - 1000s, 100s, 10s, and units.
Setting up the beads and cards is a process that requires concentration, memory, fine motor skills, and following a sequence.
Once everything is set up, the children combine all their beads together. Then they organize and count the beads by category.
Finally, they combine the big number cards to see the total. These exercises give the children a very real idea of what it means to do any of the 4 operations. In the above example, they are physically combining 3 smaller numbers to make one larger number. They are also learning about exchanging - 10 units are exchanged for 1 ten, and so forth.
After a lot of practice with sounds and symbols (letters), she is reading phonetic cards. In addition to phonetic reading, the children learn 'puzzle words', also known as 'sight words'.
Geography is an important part of the curriculum that encompasses many other subjects, such as reading and writing. Montessori aims to create 'citizens of the world', and the classroom brings in countless opportunities for the children to learn about other countries and cultures.
The girls above are working in the Science area. They are learning the names of the parts of a turtle. Did you know a turtle's shell is called a carapace?
In addition to the academic work, Practical Life remains a part of the curriculum. The girl above is embroidering a design. This requires a lot of manual dexterity and hand control. Here is an interesting article from the BBC about the importance of a well rounded education: 'Surgery Students Losing Dexterity to Stitch Patients'
At the end of the afternoon, the children help get the class ready for the next day. They all contribute to the community in different ways. The girls above are unloading the dishwasher and putting the lunch dishes away for tomorrow. In addition to practical skills, the children are gaining refinement of movement, functional independence, concentration, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Thank you Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography for the lovely images used in this blog post!
We love having our beautiful garden as an extension of our classrooms! Here, the children learn about our world by being in close contact with nature.
They also have the opportunity to form different social relationships outside of the classroom.
Both physical and intellectual development are fostered when the child is using his or her whole body in nature.
Children are very passionate observers. They love discovering small and large things outside. Just taking the time to 'be' and enjoy nature is important for children and adults alike.
When we give our children time to be outside, we are giving them the keys of a wider world to explore. Being in nature will help the child to develop a sense of belonging to the whole world and the ability to appreciate natural beauty throughout life.
"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving" - Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence
Thank you Meg Porter Photography for capturing these images!
We have been raising Painted Lady Butterflies in Primary during the past few weeks, and have learned so much fun information! Meg Porter was so kind to bring some in for us to watch grow and change. They were released in the front of the church and all flew off happily. The kids were proud for raising them and clapped and cheered as they took off.
We have been back at school now for about a month, and the children had a wonderful time returning to the daily rhythm of school life. These lovely images, captured by Meg Porter Photography, offer a glimpse into the important work our children do every day!
P, age 2 1/2 is strengthening the muscles used for writing and fine motor skills when he creates with clay.
M., age 2 is making orange juice which is part of the Practical Life curriculum. In Practical Life, children learn to care for their own needs and to care for the environment. You have probably noticed your own children wanting to help in the kitchen at home. Practical Life activities provide a wonderful outlet for this desire, while building concentration, self-confidence, and hand strength.
Opening and closing containers, and Handwashing are also part of Practical Life! The children love using materials that are sized just for them.
Practical Life activities are found in both classes. When children move from the Toddler to the Primary class, they are happy to find 'old friends' on the shelves!
The dressing frames give the child practice with clothing fastenings. They allow the child to see what her hands are doing and take away the emotional element of trying to fasten their own clothes. The teacher uses 'analysis of movement' to slow down and show how to do activities step by step.
This 4 year old is working with Metal Insets. Tracing the shape and coloring it in carefully is a beautiful pre-writing exercise. As the child gains experience, he may trace several shapes together to create an intricate design.
Pictured here is a Math activity. All Montessori Math materials are based in concrete examples. Above, the child reads the number and put the corresponding number of 'spindles' in the box. But - there is something special - the child experiences for the first time the number 'zero' and that is represents nothing.
This six year old is also doing a Math activity called the '5 chain'. This chain is a visual representation of 5 cubed, and he will count all 125 beads on the chain. They are in sets of 5, and he labels the last bead in each set. This is a direct preparation for multiplication, as well as later work with squaring and cubing numbers.
Making an independent work choice and completing the activity from start to finish helps build focus.
This 5 year old is proudly completing the 100 board - this activity gives the child more experience seeing the numbers 1-100 and the patterns they form.
We enjoy our art area and learning about different artists and styles of art. Recently, we studied Henri Matisse and made our own paper cut outs. Do you see 'The Snail'?
Here are more examples of working on fine motor skills. The picture on the left shows the Cylinder Blocks, which help develop the pincer grasp used for writing.
We love our beautiful garden and natural play area, and we'd love to show you our school in person. We have openings in both classes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and schedule your personal tour!
The toddler community is a unique place for the youngest children at COLM. It is not a watered down version of the primary class, nor is it focused on academic preparation. Instead, it offers children a special time of self-construction in a gentle atmosphere of understanding, respect, and support.
Of fundamental importance is the separation of the child from his or her primary caretaker. As the toddlers become comfortable with their new environment, they learn to trust the teachers and the other children in the community. Often times, this is his or her first school experience, and it's very important to us to make sure it is a positive one.
The toddlers start their day by changing from 'outside' shoes to 'inside shoes'. This routine gives them a sense of security and a few moments to settle into the classroom. Ms. Oana greets each child individually and helps get the day off to a great start.
Simple sensorial activities in the classroom respond to the toddler's urge to use all their senses - indeed their whole bodies - to explore everything around them. The toddler program also accommodates the child's sensitive period for language by offering many opportunities to expand their growing vocabularies. Conversations, stories, poems, games, and objects all nurture budding language skills.
Many activities in the toddler classroom highlight self-help skills that lead to independence. Children are gently encouraged to do things for themselves and problem solve. Since this is an age of very strong imitation, the teachers constantly model appropriate social skills, good manners, and consideration of others.
Through song, dance, and freedom of choice, the toddlers have access to a variety of large and small muscle activities. These activities offer opportunities to jump, climb, balance, cut, draw, squeeze, peel, pour, spoon and so much more. The freedom in a safe space is crucial to developing skills that will build a foundation not only for later academic work, but for independent life skills.
Pictured above is a Practical Life material. The dressing frames aid the child in learning how to zip, button, and snap. We also have tools for taking care of the environment. You have probably noticed your child loves to help at home. The activities pictured allow the child to sweep, dust, water plants, and wash windows.
Food preparation is always a popular practical life activity in the toddler community. The child pictured below is making orange juice. First, he squeezes the orange, then he pours it into a small cup. Finally, he enjoys the homemade fresh-squeezed orange juice!
This is another Practical Life activity - dish washing. After using dishes for food preparation, snack, or lunch, the children wash their dish in the basin on the left. They place it in the drying rack on the right to dry. Later, the adults wash and sanitize the dishes. The children love contributing to the community in this way.
Washing the napkins and place mats used for lunch and snack is a practical life activity that incorporates concentration, order, and motor skills.
Above is the art and music area. The children are able to explore making sounds with different types of instruments, as well as listening to music and singing together daily. Some of the art materials include gluing, painting, and using clay. Clay is wonderful for developing hand strength.
The fish tank is always a source of interest for the children. Feeding the fish is a great way to help care for living things in the environment. The toddlers love seeing the fish's fins move and their mouths open and close.
As we mentioned before, language is an essential component of the Toddler Community. This is the reading corner, where the children can 'read' their own special chair. We also spend time daily reading as a group and playing various language games. Ms. Oana is our French teacher and she incorporates age appropriate vocabulary games, poems, and songs into the day.
The toddlers enjoy spending time daily outside in our garden. This natural play area is designed to encourage creative play, and the children help take care of the flowers, vegetables and herbs grown here. It is also a certified Schoolyard Habitat.
We have a delightful group of toddlers in our community this year, and we are excited to grow with you in 2018! Thank you for joining us for a glimpse into our day. If you'd like to read more about the toddler curriculum, please click here.
Recently, we had a garden work day with our children and some parent volunteers. Many thanks to our volunteers for helping to keep our garden beautiful! Did you know our outdoor area is 'Schoolyard Habitat' certified by the National Wildlife Federation?
We love having a beautiful outdoor space for the children to explore! The children always have a wonderful time playing in the garden. I think these pictures capture this quote from Maria Montessori perfectly:
"Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning."
Thank you Meg Porter of Meg Porter Photography for capturing these moments of childhood!
We had a great time at our Valentine's Day parties. Many thanks to our wonderful parent volunteers who made this happen, and to Meg Porter Photography for capturing the smiles and memories we made. Enjoy these photos of our fun parties!
"We love because God first loved us" 1 John 4:19
We are an AMI accredited Montessori school growing daily in spirit & intellect!