An Early Child student is read to by a Lower Elementary student.
“If salvation and help are to come, it is from the child, for the child is the constructor of man and so of society. The child is endowed with an inner power which can guide us to a more enlightened future.”
– Maria Montessori
Service-Learning is built into a Montessori Education’s curriculum starting at the toddler age through adolescence. As per the National Service-Learning Partnership, Service-Learning is defined as a teaching method that engages young people in solving problems within their schools and communities as part of their academic studies or other type of intentional learning activity.
Montessori Community School starts this education with a simple question, “How may I help?” This simple question plants a seed within children early on in the toddler years. There, it is nurtured, and cultivated. As the years go by, this seed continues to grow. Soon a sensitivity of self-awareness and self-reflection emerge. Not only do students begin to recognize and develop their personal talents, abilities, and interests but they are also able use them to meet the needs of others.
This academic understanding takes deeper root through our literature and writing curriculum, class meetings, informal and formal class discussions, and day-to-day interactions. Concepts such as empathy begin to intertwine and connect with not just, “How may I help?” but, “How do I recognize when another person’s fundamental needs are not being met, and how may I be of service?”
Montessori Service-Learning Education fosters respect for others, inspires children to build positive relationships and make contributions to the local community, and to the world. Emphasis is placed on taking care of the environment, self, and others.
Busy Times at MCS Featured
This week, MCS has been celebrating our teachers through Teacher Appreciation Week. Truly, we can not express enough gratitude and thanks for our teachers here at MCS. Their dedication, love, support, and passion toward each child is awe-inspiring. We feel so blessed and grateful for their devotion to each student and Montessori Community School. How our teachers can keep the energy up, continue to plan such wonderful, educational activities, and coordinate so many beautiful ceremonies is a wonder.
To our fabulous teachers, we say, Thank you, thank you, thank you.
MCS Enjoys the Warming Weather! Featured
"It is also necessary for his physical development to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of living nature."
With the weather improving, what could be better than moving some daily learning into the outdoors? Maria Montessori was a real advocate for the learning experiences that take place outdoors. She emphasized the outdoor environment being an extension of the classroom. Our teachers are so fabulous at encouraging and helping our students to enjoy explore, learn, and love the outdoors.
"I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life."
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Author, Poet, Nobel Laureate, Montessori Student
Dear Montessori Community School:
The Montessori Foundation works tirelessly to promote the idea that education should be joyful, not a race to nowhere. The proof can be seen in Montessori classrooms, and in our Montessori graduates. Their success and satisfaction in their lives speaks volumes.
Since 1992, The Montessori Foundation has worked tirelessly to...
Every year the Montessori Foundation participates in the 24-Hour Giving Partner Challenge.
We only have one hour to go in this year's 24 Hour Giving Challenge. Families and friends around the world are lending their support to the schools, museums, theaters, and other organizations that have meant so much in their lives.
We need your help. Please join me in making an enthusiastic donation to The Montessori Foundation.
Your contribution will support:
Invite your friends, family, colleagues and co-workers to contribute $25 or more to the Giving Challenge. Donating to the Challenge is quick, simple, and makes a real impact.
Whether your gift is $25 or $25,000, every gift counts towards our ability to improve the lives of children.
The Montessori Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, and your gift will be tax deductible to the full extent provided by the law.
The Giving Challenge is supported by these great organizations:
Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Charlotte Community Foundation.
Service Learning via a FUN RUN! Featured
MCS’s Collaborative Murals Featured
Montessori Community School is in full bloom as we move into our last month this 2013 - 2014 school year. The end of a school year can be stressful time. The weather is warmer, summer break is in sight, and both students and teachers are reflecting on the work accomplished, materials learned, and planning for the summer and the next school year.
We are so proud of our students, teachers, and families for the dedication, involvement, and passion thus far demonstrated within our school community. We are so grateful to have such a great environment in which to educate, grow, and explore with each other.
This year, we have watched our students blossom. As we make this last push through the remainder of the school year, we hope there will be time for reflection and appreciation toward our incredible student body.
FUN-RUN, WEDNESDAY MAY 7TH Featured
The purpose of the Fun Run is to raise funds for our two special Navajo grandmothers, Emma and Elvira, as well as our seven students from Ethiopia. Both of these programs are close to our hearts as we have seen the enormous difference our time and efforts can make for those involved in the programs. This week the students at MCS are learning more about both programs. The Pledge Envelopes include instructions on collecting funds for the Fun Run. We are still looking for some parent volunteers and invite you to sign up in the office to assist on May 7th.
Our goal for this year is to raise at least $6500. As we have 219 students enrolled at this time this means that if each child could aim to raise $30 we would reach our goal. We are aware that this will be an easy target for some families and more difficult for others and want you to know that anything you can offer will be so gratefully received.
Last year with the same goal we were able to raise $6775 and the money went towards our COEEF students and our Navajo grandmothers. The extra funds also allowed us to provide Christmas gifts for a local Navajo family.
The Adopt A Native Elder program has an excellent website that we invite you to view at this link- www.anelder.org. The website gives so much information about the work of the organization. We hear from our grandmothers on a regular basis and having spent time with each of them on the reservation Robyn and Bob know what great an impact our commitment and support has on their lives.
Recently we received new photos and thank you letters from our sponsored students in Ethiopia. These cards/letters have recently been featured on our Weekly Email Newsletter. We invite you to watch this link. On the video you will see that one of our students, Bethelhem Eyob, speaks about her experience at school and her gratitude for her sponsors (in this case, our school). Rick Egan at COEEF wrote, "Bethelhem Eyob is a brilliant student, and so I thought you may be interested in seeing a short video we put together from our last visit to Ethiopia. It includes a short interview with your student, Bethelhem Eyob, talking about Mr Solomon and St Michael's School where she attends."
Thank you to all our MCS families and friends for your support as we encourage our students in this opportunity for service. Community service is an important part of the Montessori curriculum and our school's goal to teach our students to be contributing members of society.
But it is a myth as far as Montessori education is concerned. Traditionally, a low student–teacher ratio is desired if you are trying to make everyone do the same thing at the same time. (It is a lot like herding cats – the less you have, the easier it might be to perform.) Ratios aren’t critical in Montessori for three reasons.
- In Montessori education you do not teach classes (numbers) you teach children (individuals.)
- The goal in the classroom is not just to teach the material but to facilitate the child’s ability to learn on her own – which in effect makes the learning one on one.
- And because of the nature of the classroom where children are encouraged to help each other – the five year olds teach the four year olds and the fours teach the threes – you literally have more teachers than students.
Parents wonder still – “If there were fewer students wouldn’t my child get more attention from the teacher?” Interestingly, it is not just the amount of time your child needs but the amount of focused time (time spent directly on your child’s priorities and needs) that effectively contributes to her learning.
A Montessori teacher can be compared to a juggler who spins plates on a stick. She will begin spinning the first plate, then the second, third and fourth. She might go back and give the first plate a spin before she spins the fifth and sixth. She might then spin the second plate – and that first plate might need another spin before she gets the seventh plate rotating. Likewise, the teacher notes each of her students and what it takes to power up the learning gyroscope in each child – so the child can keep the learning plates spinning on her own. A low ratio is good if you are driving the learning – not as consequential if you are leading it.
Now, because the teacher doesn’t spend all of her time driving the learning, she has time to study each child(read more about observation here): to study her needs, her skills, her aptitudes and personality. All the ratios in the world are meaningless – unless you know your student.
Ironically, there are many advantages of not having a low student–teacher ratio in the classroom.
- Children aren’t smothered by attention. They are given the opportunity to breathe and explore. The teacher does not feel compelled to guide and fill their every moment.
- Because the teacher does not dominate the society, the classroom becomes a community of interaction and learning. Cooperation is a virtue (instead of “Go back to your seat and mind your own business.”)
- With the adult not hovering and micromanaging, the child is free to develop initiative. This initiative creates the fantastic learning that comes out of a Montessori classroom (which a teacher would be hard pressed to produce in a traditional setting.)
- The child develops a personal sense of responsibility over the learning she has initiated.
- The child develops the ability to make meaningful choices – instead of just following directions.
- The power to choose wisely is a growing marker of maturity.
- Real choice making needs the opportunity to make mistakes, to correct them, to recover from them and to learn from them. (That is hard to do when someone is hurrying you along to get to the next lesson.)
- All of this allows the student to build confidence in herself. When the student assumes responsibility for the learning she begins to build confidence in her ability to navigate in the world as it is being opened to her through the classroom, the classroom community and the world of knowledge.
Montessori teachers have to train themselves in the art of not interfering with the internal learning process of the student. They have to train themselves to observe the child, to know how the child learns and how to allow the child to learn.
Ultimately, they have to learn how to help the child learn for herself – which is always one on one.
Article by Edward Fidellow
MCS Cultural Fair Featured
Montessori Cultural curriculum includes learning about Geography, Science, Music, Art, and Yoga. Throughout these studies, our students have become familiar with continents, oceans, and countries including but not limited to specific flora, fauna, flags, and folks. Montessori cultural education helps students to adapt to their own culture, inspires a love of learning, and offers a new perspective of the world. Within this spectrum, our students get the opportunity to do an in depth study of a particular culture, focusing on specific countries of our world and their uniqueness.
Thursday, April 24th our Elementary and Middle School students will be presenting their cultural studies for MCS’s Annual Cultural Fair from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm in the MCS gymnasium. Our students’ presentations will remain set up throughout Friday, April 25th until late morning for all those wanting to swing by, view, support, and share in the success and hard work of our students.
Aspens Class Field Trip Featured
In Celebration of Earth Day Featured
MCS would like to wish our community a Happy Earth Day. What a lovely opportunity to celebrate the beauty of our miraculous earth. Montessori is known as a method that advocates environmental education and invites children to become stewards of the earth. Maria Montessori herself said that "children are inspired with a feeling for nature" and believed that nature plays a most important role in the development of the whole child.
Unconstructed play and exploration in nature foster creativity and independence. Students learn the value in community and their interconnectedness as they begin to recognize and care for living things. Richard Louv, author of 'Lost Child in the Woods' and proponent of the need for nature in education noted, “multisensory experiences in nature help to build the cognitive constructs necessary for sustained intellectual development.“ At present, electronics have an overwhelming presence in society and in the development of the child. Research indicates that this presence has the ability to hinder children's overall development. So what do they need to counter all this visual stimulation? Outdoor experience! Time and effort in nature gives children the opportunity to experiment with cause and effect and avoidance of immediate gratification, which they experience so frequently with electronics.
One of the most unique principles of Montessori programs is the Cosmic Curriculum, an overall Montessori approach to education that involves helping children develop an awareness that everything in the universe is connected and interdependent and forms a harmonious whole and that they themselves are part of and contribute to that whole. The Cosmic Curriculum lends itself to exploration and appreciation of nature. Environmental education is a curriculum that encourages children to explore the wonders of nature; including botany, zoology, preservation of the earth, and other scientific concepts that are present in Montessori such as the study of the earth, water, weather and the universe as a whole. These subjects come alive with hands-on experience.
And so, in honor of this world wide celebration, we offer thanks to Maria Montessori and all those who join us in bettering our children's future as we share insights to miracles of the universe through education of the child.
“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them in cupboards.” Maria Montessori
Read more about our environmental education here.
GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ, Nobel Prize-winning Novelist & Montessori Graduate Dies
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the columbian author who won a Nobel Prize for literature was sent to a Montessori school and is an avid supporter of the philosophy. He stated, " I do not believe there is a method better than Montessori for making children sensitive to the beauties of the world and awakening their curiosity regarding the secrets of life."
His book, 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' has been named as the book that has most shaped world literature of the last 25 years.
Farewell Letter - Credited to Marquez
If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.
I wouldn’t, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say.
I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.
I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.
I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.
If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.
To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.
I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.
To old people I would say that death doesn’t arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.
I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken & the form used to reach the top of the hill.
I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father’s finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.
I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.
Say always what you feel, not what you think.
If I knew that today is the last time that that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.
If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say “I love you.”
There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you & that I will never forget you.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives.
I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.
Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them.
Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them “I am sorry,” “forgive me, “please,” “thank you,” and all those loving words you know. Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.
Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.
Send this letter to those you love. If you don’t do it today…tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn’t matter either, the moment to do it is now.
For you, with much love, Your Friend, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Earthquake Drill Success! Featured
Thank you for your ongoing support!
Students practice "Duck and Cover" upon hearing the Earthquake Alarm sound.
Teachers call roll upon arrival to the back field.
Everyone is accounted for!
Audio played over our P.A. system to symbolize the earthquake.
The Magic of Observation Featured
Most Montessorians will agree that beneath many layers the most basic element continues to exist. This simple concept that gives heed to the needs of the child is that of observation.
"The Montessori Method continues to serve children well because it is based on the scientific observation of individual children....The lessons, the materials, that careful order of presentation, work because, and only because, they respond to the observed needs of the individual child. Montessori requires consistent and objective research into the conditions of each child. Montessorians often seek peace first and precision later. But it is through the specificity of unbiased observation that our compassion emerges for each child we serve. It is by understanding the needs of each child, as a unique and concrete individual, that we see his humanity."
Catherine McTamaney, The Tao of Montessori.
Montessori teachers are carefully trained in the skill of observation. Preparation of the environment, lesson plans, and daily scheduling are all reliant on their precise understanding of the needs of the children, which comes through observation. Through observation they gain the full picture and see any outlying factors that might affect a students learning patterns or behavior. Once a new concept is presented and practiced by a child, the adult is responsible to watch the child and ask "does the child do what they have been taught to do?" Again, this can apply to their practice of the materials and concepts in the classroom but is also applicable to behavior, social interactions, etc. Montessori teachers are also taught to think twice before interfering with anything a child is doing. Is the action purposeful and intentional? Is anyone or anything being harmed? Is their opportunity for growth?
In addition to the careful observation of the Montessori teacher, we encourage observation by the child in a Montessori environment. Through observation, children learn more than one way of doing things. They also learn the important and essential skill of patience. Children are encouraged to stop and think. As they learn to observe, they give themselves time to evaluate and think of outcomes. Observation is a beautiful skill for our young people as it allows them the ability to see the perspectives of others and the recognition that there can be more than one way. It supports the idea that we teach children to learn to think and love to learn.