The Montessori Method was designed to enhance the possibilities of learning for all children.
Maria Montessori observed what she called “sensitive periods” in the development of a child. These sensitive periods are times in a child’s life when certain activities and behaviors are most often observed. If the child is able to participate in these activities, when most interested, then learning will become easier and the child will become more engaged in what she or he is doing.
“The Montessori curriculum was designed to offer children learning opportunities in a challenging and inspiring way as soon as they are ready for it.”
Children in Montessori educational programs are separated into multi-aged classrooms. This arrangement has many benefits.
Increased Confidence –
Being the youngest in a new environment is usually a little intimidating at first. As time passes, every student is able to see others working on materials that they’ve mastered and can watch themselves improve as they begin to tackle work that only the older students were doing at one point in time.
Learning to be Leaders –
The oldest children in each classroom are looked at as leaders. They understand the expectations of the classroom and have experience with most of the work that is to be done in class. The younger students are able to see the confidence and knowledge that has been acquired by the older students, and readily aspire to emulate their older peers.
Peer Mentorship –
Not only are there multiple age ranges, but there are multiple skill levels as well. Because every child is working at his/her own pace, there will probably be a few students who have already done what you’re doing, so we encourage children to ask for help and to help others when needed.
Our Programs From Infants Through Middle School
Infants need not only love and emotional nurturing and a healthy physical environment, but also an environment which promotes their very real need to learn. The Montessori Teaching Method provides a basis for individualized learning activities, appropriate for even the earliest stages of a child’s development.
The daily needs of the infant, such as diapering, feeding and bathing are the optimal times for interaction, cooperation, intimacy and mutual enjoyment. Using theses times for social learning experiences encourage full participation of the infant and the caregiver. These times become the opportunity for much communication and for nurturing. As the infant is “refueled” by such attentive, caring interaction, he/she is ready to explore the world around him/her with minimal intervention from adults.
At Mission Montessori, the class size is small and inviting to make it feel like a home for the youngest children.It is a period of self-development, learning self-help skills, and preparation for the Primary program. Our program is designed to assist the child towards independence, social awareness, respect and the development of motor skills and language.
The children have access to a variety of large muscle activities that offer them opportunities to jump, climb, balance, crawl, and skip. These exercises as well as song, dance and creative art activities are offered to each child to choose. This freedom in a safe place is crucial to the toddler program. It is tempered, however, by two important limits that will be beneficial for a lifetime: respect for others and respect for the environment.
The Mission Montessori Primary class is a mixed age grouping of 3 to 6 year old children. Our classrooms offer a variety of opportunities for children to experience freedom within a secure, attractively structured and welcoming environment. This blending of ages is based on Maria Montessori’s philosophy of a multi-age educational society. She recognized the spontaneous interest that arises within each child at this age. It is through the child’s interest and active engagement that the love of learning arises.
In each of our classrooms there is a degreed teacher who is also a certified Montessori teacher. Each teacher has two assistants. The teachers observe and record each child’s individual progress. They know when to introduce a new challenge and when to allow a child to work with genuine interest.
Lower Elementary (E-1)
According to Montessori philosophy a child enters the “2nd plane of development,” ages 6-12, with an increased interest in the world around him. Play takes on a more social aspect as the child spends more time interacting with others and wanting to know how the different aspects of life relate to one another.
In practical terms, a first grade Montessorian enters a whole new world on day one. The classroom changes from one in which most students are engaged in trying to understand the world in front of them, to one in which the imagination and critical thinking become a daily part of the routine.
The imagination is sparked almost immediately with what we call the first Great Lesson. The room is prepared, the lights are dimmed, and in a soft voice the teacher tells an amazing story about the creation of the universe and the formation of the stars and planets. The Great Lessons are designed to fuel the imagination and excite the children to do their own research to learn more about the topic. These stories are told every year, so that each time it is heard a child will understand more and ask more difficult questions.
Most students enter the lower elementary classroom with a solid, but basic, understanding of numbers and reading. Those who may still need help with these basics are quickly inspired to action. With so many things to do, and being able to see what the older kids are working on, children constantly want to improve so they may be able to make new discoveries and accomplish more difficult tasks. This greater interest in doing meaningful work fosters the development of self confidence and an increased ability to concentrate.
Upper Elementary (E-2)
The Upper Elementary program is a continuation of the Lower Elementary curriculum. However, empowered with three years of practice in math, geometry, language, cultural and social studies, astronomy, biology and chemistry, geography, history, geology, philosophy, art, music, physical education, and even oral presentation skills, Upper Elementary students are ready to apply their knowledge to increasingly difficult but engaging endeavors.
Academic work in the classroom is self-paced and fosters not only independent learning, but a collaborative environment where students learn and correct each other. Most of the work is done through experiential lessons rather than memorizing text books. In the Montessori culture text books are secondary to the true lessons that come with the experience of real life. The students are held to, and often surpass, the state standards for academics.
A student in the upper elementary program will face a whole new level of work and experience that truly challenges the child to reach new heights of independence and creative thinking. The projects and assignments are designed to challenge and support students in ways that foster a true desire to learn more. The Montessori Method is solidified and absolutely apparent to those who interact with students at this age.
The upper elementary program is the best primer for the practices and skills necessary to excel in the middle school years of development.
The middle school years can be a huge transition from child to young adult. The skills learned at this stage are designed, not only for high school preparation, but for the rest of your child’s life.
Our students will learn all the core subjects taught in a traditional school like math, writing, science, etc. The difference between standard education in junior high and that of our Montessori Middle School is vast. Above and beyond the norm, your child will learn: advanced problem solving, critical thinking, innovation and creativity, perform analytical research, access and apply information and utilize and implement technology.
All of these skills will enable your child to succeed and surpass expectations in the high school environment and on through the college years. These are life skills that they will learn and master upon completing our middle school program.
We believe that the personal skills that are learned are just as important as the academic. We believe in cultivating the whole child, not just the academic side.
When your child completes this program they will have a set of personal skills that include: effective communication, collaborative and independent work ethic, ability to lead others, being personally reliable and responsible, organization and planning, being self directed and self confident, working in multicultural settings, showing integrity and perseverance, and they will have a clear understanding of complex issues both locally and globally.