Maria Montessori was born in the town of Chiaravalle, in the province of Ancona, Italy, and in 1870, she became the first female physician in Italy. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn and build themselves from what they find in their environment.
In 1906, she accepted the challenge to work with a group of sixty working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded the first Casa dei Bambini (’Children’s House’). What ultimately became the Montessori method of education, developed there based upon Montessori’s scientific observations of these children’s almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do ‘naturally’, unassisted by adults.
This system of education is both a philosophy of child growth and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits in a carefully prepared environment. Materials and experiences are designed to take full advantage of children’s unique ability to develop their own capabilities and motivation.
Goals and Objectives of a Montessori Classroom
- To develop the child’s love of learning;
- To guide children in their development;
- To inspire critical thinkers;
- To foster independence;
- To provide tools to help acquire skills;
- To stimulate growth and socialization;
- To facilitate cultural awareness;
- To provide an enriched experience.
Multi-Age Classrooms The classrooms are multi-age, allowing the child a three-year cycle of development to acquire specific skills. In contrast to age/grade level classrooms where the child has one year to cover certain learning objectives, the Montessori classroom provides flexibility over three years. The areas that do not attract the child’s interest this year may hold great fascination next year. The child can explore them whenever the interest arises, without ever being ‘behind’. Children are, however, encouraged to choose materials from each area of the classroom, and are assessed according to developmentally appropriate benchmarks. Multi-age classroom also enhances learning. The youngest children receive stimulation from the older children’s activities before the younger ones even receive the lessons. And of course, they want to emulate the older children’s progress. The older children, in turn, benefit from helping the younger ones. They reinforce their own knowledge by ‘teaching’ the younger children.
Is Montessori By The Sea Right for Your Child?
Children from a variety of cultures and backgrounds all over the world have benefited from a Montessori education. Your child will as well! In addition to following the Montessori philosophy, Montessori By The Sea is currently evaluating the viability of the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) program in our Elementary and Middle Years Programs, which will further enhance the educational experiences at the school. The I.B. is an international program that uses educational research to develop a comprehensive and balanced curriculum. The ideal of the I.B. is to challenge and assist the development of individual talents in order for students to reach their full potential. The program sets high standards and believes in creating compassionate thinkers and life-long learners. There are over 1,300 registered I.B. schools world-wide, with several Montessori schools presently going through the coursework. To date, two of our teachers have received I.B. training in Language Arts, Math and Science. The Administration of Montessori By The Sea are scheduled to attend an I.B. conference February 18th-21st 2010.
Academia is only one aspect of a Montessori environment and is not paramount. Personal excellence in all areas of development is facilitated. The Montessori teacher is interested in the child’s cognitive, physical, social, emotional and spiritual development, and it is with this mindset that the classroom environment is prepared.
You, as the parent, sense that the time may be right for your child to come to school. Perhaps the toys at home no longer seem interesting. Maybe your child has already had some positive experiences away from you. You feel that the child is ready for new experiences, challenges and friends. Now your child is ready to benefit and grow in a Montessori By The Sea classroom.
Here, he/she will feel connected to a caring community, in which his/her individual developmental needs are assessed and guided toward satisfaction through manipulative materials. Here, he/she can learn at his/her own pace, free from the time pressures of our fast-paced society. Here, he/she will gain independence, self-esteem, respect for others and life skills. Childhood happens only once. An education at Montessori By The Sea ensures that your child will make the best of his/hers!