The foundation for the development of the personality is created during the first years of life. This is the perfect time to offer the children a “Prepared Discovering Environment” where they can reach their maximum potential.
“Discovering Minds” Montessori preschool is based its entire philosophy in the freedom, respect and faith of the child.
Our programs are intended for “Casa” (see Programs).( Preschool, Junior / Senior Kindergarten) children from 30 months to 6 years old and Lower Elementry (see Programs), 6 to 9 years Grades 1 to 3. A full range of activities will be offered using, among others, the Montessori apparatus and philosophy (see Programs)
The child begins his/her education using the Montessori system taught by an accredited Montessori teacher.
Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. – Socrates
I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. – Einstein
The Montessori Teaching Philosophy
Montessori environments for infants, and classrooms from preschool through high school, are base on a philosophy of education, very different than the experienced by most of us adults. Rather that beginning with and adult-school-society dictated set of lessons, the Montessori ‘guide” (as the teacher is called) builds on the natural human tendencies toward exploration, hard work, creativity, and communication, to create a learning environment which feeds the evolving passions of the children. Clearly the adult in charge of such an environment requires a very different preparation. The traditional Montessori training is a full year of graduate work for each of the following three age levels, and stage of development, of children:
- Birth to three years
- Three to six years
- Six to twelve years
- The Montessori middle and high school teacher ideally has taken all three training courses plus graduate work in an academic area or areas.
Except for infant/toddler groups (Ratio dictated by local Social Service regulations), the teaching ratio is one trained Montessori teacher and one non-teaching aide to 30+ children. Rather than lecturing to large or small groups of children, the teacher is trained to teach one child at a time, and to oversee thirty or more children working on a broad array of tasks. She is facile in the basic lessons of math, language, the arts and sciences and in guiding a child’s research and exploration, capitalizing on his interest and excitement about a subject. The teacher does not make assignments or dictate what to study or read, nor does she set a limit as to how far a child follows an interest.
- Toddlers ratio is 5 to 1
- Preschoolers ratio is 8 to 1
The Montessori teacher spends a lot of time during teacher training practicing the many lessons with materials in all areas, She must pass a written and oral exam on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to recognize a child’s readiness according to age, ability, and interest in a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual progress.
Areas of Study
All subjects are interwoven, not taught in isolation, the teacher modeling a “Renaissance” person of broad interests for the children. A child can work on any material he understands at any time.
Under the age of six, there are one or two 3-hours, uninterrupted, work periods each day, not broken up by required group lessons, Older children schedule meetings or study groups with each other or the teacher when necessary. Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously or are arranged ahead by special appointment. They almost never take precedence over self-selected work.
Except for infant/toddler groups, the most successful classes are of 24 children to one teacher (who is very well trained for the level she is teaching), with one non-teaching assistant. This is possible because the children stay in the same group for three to six years and much of the teaching comes from the children and the environment.
All kinds of intelligences and styles of learning are nurtured: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, interpersonal, intuitive, and the traditional linguistic and logical-mathematical (reading, writing, and math). This particular model is backed up by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.
There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or over. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher’s observation and record keeping. The test of whether or not the system is working lies in the accomplishment and behavior of the children, their happiness, maturity, kindness, and love of learning and level of work.
Requirements for Ages 0 – 6
There are no academic requirements for this age, but children are exposed to amazing amounts of knowledge and often learn to read, write and calculate beyond what is usually thought interesting to a child of this age.
Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment, each other, cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful, doing social work in the community etc.