In a Montessori classroom children learn by directly engaging with a variety of beautiful, multi-sensory materials carefully designed to organically develop skills required for reading, writing, math and other academic subjects. “Directresses” (as opposed to “teachers”) introduce children individually, and in small groups or pairs, to various types of “work”—appealing activities designed to foster cognitive, social, physical and personal development. A Montessori classroom belongs to the children, not the adults, and the children learn to respect and care for themselves, each other and the classroom through the guidance and example of the directresses. Children choose the materials they work with as they are ready, at their own pace, rooted in their own interests, strengths and curiosity.
Each classroom at MSCU houses children for three years, beginning at age three. Children are naturally challenged by the achievements of others and learn patience and compassion while dealing with younger peers. Children who have mastered a concept are able to reinforce their own learning as they demonstrate skills to younger children. Mixed-age learning groups also builds more nuanced social skills than single-age groups alone.
Absolutely! Children work individually, in pairs, in small groups and in large groups, sometimes teaching or reading to each other. They interact with adults and children of various ages throughout the day. They are actively taught both cooperation and conflict resolution.
Recent neurological research supports the Montessori method. Dr. Steve Hughes, pediatric neuropsychologist, refers to Montessori as “the original brain-based method of learning.” In 2006, Angeline Lillard published a study in the journal, Science, that showed advanced academic achievement, social cognition, executive function, and creativity in a randomized sample of Montessori students versus their peers at other kinds of schools.
A short adjustment period is expected any time a child moves from one school setting to another. Montessori children are independent, self-disciplined learners with strong organizational skills. These skills assist the child in adapting quickly while encouraging strong achievement.
As of Fall 2017, we have approximately twenty-five students enrolled in our Elementary program. We have three full-time staff including a trained Directress, a Directress-in-Training, and an Assistant. We have two additional part-time staff that help with lunch and aftercare, and one trained music instructor. This gives an average ratio of 6:1 throughout most of the day.
Students devise a plan, agreeing to complete specific works each day and throughout the week. They choose the order of their work and whether to complete them alone, with a partner, or in a small group. This allows the student to exercise choice while the teacher can monitor progress.
Creative writing and research skills become important in the elementary level. Reading is integrated into the curriculum, as children are introduced to poetry, folk tales, non-fiction, and classic literature. Word study includes grammar principals such as antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, as well as the parts of speech.
The Montessori math materials quickly move students to an abstraction of math concepts, including problem solving, fractions, graphing, measurement, long division, and algebraic equations. Experimentation with the geometric materials leads students to their own discoveries of spatial relationships, including congruence, symmetry, and equivalency.
Students will explore the life and physical sciences through experimentation and independent research.
History of world civilizations and geographic concepts will be explored through reading and hands-on activities.
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