The Joy of Learning
A Montessori education is unique in its profound respect for a child’s sincere desire and ability to learn, and in its recognition of his need for independence. A balanced attention to intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development is regarded as fundamental to their progress and enjoyment in learning. Children have an innate curiosity and love of work, and of order, that can become life-long traits if encouraged appropriately. This is the role of our staff and their joy of teaching.
The Mixed-Age Open Classroom
Following the Toddler Community, children are grouped in ages of three to six and six to nine years. This environment encourages cooperation between the children, who learn with and from one another. The emphasis is on individual achievement, however, rather than class instruction, which allows each child to excel in pursuing his or her innate intellectual gift.
Freedom of choice is an integral part of a child’s education. This key concept is often misunderstood. When observing children who are free to choose their activities, to work at their own pace, and to share their work with others, it is clear that the environment is neither permissive nor restrictive. Parameters are set and managed by the teachers from the outset. Freedom and choice are exercised in a way that promotes each child’s progress, and also respect for the progress of others.
Essentially though, the children thrive on independence, on making discoveries about themselves and the people, places and things in the world around them. By making these discoveries on their own, they learn with greater retention and pleasure, while developing invaluable life skills.
The Prepared Environment
All of the material and furniture in the classrooms is designed to meet the needs of the children and is arranged in a way that favors their educational development. Work is arranged on shelves within easy reach. The children learn quickly to choose a task, use the material carefully and return it to its place when they have finished. This movement also accelerates their physical development. With a place for everything, and everything in its place, the children are part of an ordered environment that becomes their pride and joy!
A combination of knowledge of children’s needs, and a judicious use of the material, the Montessori classroom introduces vast areas of knowledge usually believed too sophisticated for young children. Given the opportunity to work independently and to satisfy their curiosity, the children become increasingly confident and motivated to reach their fullest potential.
To prepare, carry out and clear away their work, the children move naturally around the classroom, using valuable motor skills. In this way, physical development is an inherent part of a Montessori education. In addition, the children are given regular access to the gymnasium and outside play areas.