Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes the Montessori Education Unique?
1. The "Whole Child Approach": A primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of life. His or her physical, emotional, social, aesthetic, spiritual, and cognitive needs and interests are considered inseparable and equally important. The Montessori curriculum, under direction of a specially educated teacher, provides the resources and atmosphere for exploration and discovery, allows students to experience the joy of learning, promotes the development of self-esteem, and fosters respect for one's self, for others, and for the environment.
2. The "Prepared Environment." In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment - room, materials and social climate- must be supportive of the learner. The teacher provides the necessary resources, including opportunities for children to function in a safe and positive climate. The teacher thus gains the children's trust, which enables them to try new things and build self-confidence.
3. The Montessori Materials. Dr. Montessori's observations of the kinds of activities that children enjoy and go back to repeatedly lead her to design a number of multi-sensory, sequential, and self-correcting materials that facilitate the learning of skills and lead to learning of abstract ideas.
4. The Teacher. The Montessori teacher functions as a facilitator of learning. As such, he or she is a designer of the environment, resource person, guide, role model, demonstrator, and meticulous observer and recorder of each student's behavior and growth.
The preparation of a Montessori teacher is specialized and extensive. To qualify for an AMS credential, candidates must graduate from an A.M.S.-affiliated Montessori teacher education program that includes a year of supervised teaching. An A.M.S. teacher's preparation is focused on the age level with which he or she will work (i.e. infant and toddler, early education, elementary, or secondary).
How Does It Work?
Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher relies on his or her observations of the children to determine which new activities and materials may be introduced to an individual child or to a small or large group. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery within small group collaboration within the whole group community.
The multi-year span in each class provides a family-like grouping where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. Because this peer group is intrinsic to Montessori, there is often more conversation- language experiences- in the Montessori classroom than in conventional early education settings.
Are Your Teachers All Qualified?
All head teachers in the primary classes have American Montessori Society (A.M.S.) credentials. Assistants are Early Childhood Education majors. Please see our "Faculty" page to learn more about our staff qualifications.
How do you discipline the children?
Redirection, role playing, and conflict resolution.