Many, many years ago, when Dr. Maria Montessori was in the process of developing the Montessori method of guiding the development of children, she realized the importance of the outdoor environment. At our school, we are surrounded by thirteen wooded acres, and a wonderful natural area for the children to enjoy. Our outdoor area is also a Certified Schoolyard Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
Our "backyard" offers a wonderful teaching playground for the development of the whole child.
“In the world of nature, there is scope for the perceiving and thinking mind in coming up against the unexpected and exercising the senses and muscles. These help develop coordination and integration and enhance the powers of intelligence.” (Dr. Maria Montessori, The Child in Nature)
Core strength, balance, and self-awareness are developed as the child is allowed time to explore, at her own pace, in the natural world.
In the same way that we guide the child in the casa, we follow the child independently through the natural world.
"The land is where our roots are - the children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the earth" - Maria Montessori
I think all Montessori teachers find the beginning of a new year to be an incredibly exciting time. This year was especially exciting because we made some minor updates to the classrooms including new furniture and artwork for the Primary room.
Dr. Montessori referred to the Primary Class as a 'Casa' because it is a house for children. It is a place where children belong, where each child is a valued member of the community. It is a beautiful place, carefully prepared for just for the children who dwell in it. Creating a Casa is truly a labor of love completed with attention to detail and a thorough knowledge of the Montessori method.
Child sized tables and chairs allow children to be seated comfortably while working
Framed art as well as beautiful objects surround the children, rather than garish alphabet posters or plastic clutter. After all, would you have a poster with the numbers or letters of the alphabet taped to your living room wall?
Children in a Montessori school learn through the use of all their senses - color coded beads aid the child in preforming math operations, sand paper letters introduce the sound and shape of our alphabet, and three dimensional objects like the Brown Stair introduce fundamental concepts of shape, size, order and spatial relationships.
Pictured here are the Geometric Solids, one of the Sensorial Materials used for introducing Math concepts. Think about the difference between looking at a picture of a sphere or cylinder on a computer screen and holding it in your hand feeling it's smooth curves, experiencing it's weight, and noticing how it rolls so easily in your palm. Montessori understood that children, in fact, all people, learn best when as many of their senses as possible are engaged.
In the Montessori training we learn that objects in the environment should 'call out' to a child, enticing him to work with that material. Imagine the thrill of being able to carefully handle beautiful depression-era glass, open a mailbox to discover a hand written letter from a friend, and balancing a bean bag or carrying a bell so precisely that it does not ring - while walking on the line. The children love participating in these activities and our teachers love to present these new experiences to children. We have already gotten started and our on our way to a wonderful year!
We are an AMI accredited Montessori school growing daily in spirit & intellect!