Day Care Centers are generally for the purpose of caring for children on an all-day basis. Nursery Schools generally provide experiences in socialization and play. Preschools are oriented toward educational experiences, combined with socialization and play.
In most preschools the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In the Montessori preschool the children learn by working independently with specially designed materials in a prepared environment.
Dr. Maria Montessori, using the scientific method, observed classes in the children's houses in Rome. Based on these observations, she developed unique learning materials for a child-centered environment. She revolutionized educational thought by discovering the critical "sensitive periods" for learning. She stressed respect for the child, freedom of expression, self education and training through use of movement and the senses.
Montessori classroom materials are designed for "auto-education." The child is taught how to use the materials. The classroom design is beautiful and interesting to the child in order to facilitate learning. Maria Montessori said, "The child, left at liberty to exercise his activities, ought to find in her surroundings something organized in direct relation to her internal organization, which is developing itself by natural laws." The teacher carefully prepares the classroom and is available to assist children and give instruction as needed. The Montessori method is based on the child's need to discover order in her world.
The main purpose of the Montessori method is to develop a classroom environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater person within. As the child begins to develop his inner self, his love for learning continuously expands.
The Montessori world is a child-size world. Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully into the Montessori classroom. Careful selection of materials by the teacher creates an environment where the child can explore life on a level easy to understand. The materials and exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration. The prepared environment entices the child to proceed at her own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. A child's natural curiosity is satisfied and he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world about her. Materials and curriculum focus around Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Geography, Science, Art, Music and Dance.
As the children develop their sense of pride in their "work," a feeling of confidence, well-being, and joy is manifested in the child. There is respect, love, and cooperation among the children as they socialize and learn. A classroom of Montessori children is a joy to watch!
The Montessori teacher is sometimes called a directress because she facilitates the classroom activity but does not lecture. She carefully plans the environment in the interests of the children and she helps the children progress from one activity to the next. She is trained to educate each child individually and allows him to choose from many activities within his range of ability. The child works freely on his own allowing him the satisfaction of discovery.
The concept of freedom within the classroom is one of freedom within limits. A child may work freely so long as he does not disturb others. Children allowed the freedom to choose their own work generally are happy and self-controlled so the classroom, in turn, remains orderly.
Maria Montessori outlined various periods of "sensitivity." During these times, a child is more capable of, and interested in, learning specific concepts. Between the ages of 2 and 3, a special sense of order, concentration, coordination, and independence begins to emerge. This time is ideal to begin a child's academic training in Montessori as she is building the foundation for all her future learning.
Children that have been in a Montessori environment typically are very flexible and adjust quite easily to the public school situation. They are generally better students and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-direction and positive attitude toward learning.
Socialization is very much a part of the Montessori method. In the classroom children interact continuously, often choosing to work on projects together. Very often older children help younger ones. Each day, there is group activity time and there is ample opportunity for socialization during daily outdoor play.
The Montessori method is an "approach to learning" and as such has no distinction of class or intelligence. It has been used successfully in all parts of the world and in all types of programs, i.e., Headstart, gifted children, learning disabled children, average children, etc.
Tuition in Montessori schools throughout the country is comparable to other tuition-based schools. Fees may sometimes be a bit higher due to the nature of Montessori classroom materials, the pristine environment, extensive curriculum, and Montessori-trained professional staff. To give your child the finest possible experience in her "sensitive years" is to give her a strong foundation throughout her life. Many educators believe to invest in a preschool education is of even greater benefit than in a college education. It is of inestimable benefit for the child to enjoy learning and become self-directed during the critical preschool age.
Yes. Montessori is not a static or closed system of education. While there are certain materials and methods that have proven effective over the years, Montessori is as much an attitude about education and children as it is a specific method with certain materials.
We encourage parent involvement through conferences, observations, discussions, volunteer activities and the Board of Directors. The staff feels that the more parents can become involved with the experience of the child in the classroom the better able they are to support and mirror Montessori techniques at home.