Upcoming Parent Education Night Featured
Creativity in Montessori Featured
So how does this apply to creativity which seems to be in short supply as far as “art work” is concerned? The creative experience in Montessori is an internal experience. The great creativity is focused on the child creating their own personality. They are forging who they are to become by internalizing all of the experiences of both home and family with their experiences of discovery and exploration in the classroom, mixing these with the intangible aspects of their own DNA, their talents and gifts, inclinations and proclivities. They are taking in these seemingly random elements and creating the uniqueness of who they are.
Their great creative work is themselves.
In a traditional classroom environment children are forced into a mold; fairly standardized and compartmentalized. Doing what everyone else is doing, becoming what everyone else is becoming; rushing headlong to achieve external goals that are set without regard to their personality, character, ability or interest. And from this their only escape from this standardization is the occasional art work sent home.
In a Montessori classroom this unique creativity of their personality is an ongoing daily occurrence as they discover the world about them, as they discover the joy within them that rises as they discover the joy of all the creation about them. They are not rushed from subject to subject but get to explore and enjoy the mystery of how numbers work or the mystery of how their language is put together. They discover animals and leaves, science and art. They develop their senses. And it is those senses that create in them the wonder and the enjoyment of the learning that is all about them. They are creating within themselves reservoirs of joy and fascination, interest and passion. (They will learn the names of all the dinosaurs or rock formations or a hundred different avenues of learning because they have created a passion for it out of their daily experiences and discoveries.)
This ongoing creative experience blossoms within them as they are introduced to music and art, color and form. They become experienced (and passionate) observers of all that is around them. Their early experiences with what the Montessori classroom labels the “sensorial” materials heightens and trains their senses. Those pink cubes and the red rods, the circles and squares, the colors and sounds are laying the creative foundation within the child preparing them physically, psychologically, aesthetically and intellectually for a creative response to all of life that is around them.
The real music they learn to sing, the real art they learn to create in their life will arise out of the great work of creating their own personality. Their creativity in Montessori will not only be an escape from the drudgery of traditional learning and conditioning but will be a magnificent expression of the joy they find in learning and the world all around them. While you may not have many pictures to put on your refrigerator you will have a living portrait of a child full of joy and wonder. Now, that is a creative marvel!
As you may already know from your communications with your child's teachers, MCS classrooms begin the year with a heavy emphasis on our Grace and Courtesy curriculum. The article below, written by Edward Fidellow, will help you understand the benefits of a Grace and Courtesy curriculum and might offer some ideas how to reinforce the lessons at home!
Why is Grace and Courtesy a big deal in Montessori?
You cannot observe a Montessori classroom for even a short time without coming away with an impression that Montessori children are by and large very polite, orderly and impressively quiet and serene. This atmosphere is created by the lessons of “grace and courtesy”. Grace and courtesy – good manners, caring about each other, putting others first – are solid virtues that make possible the extraordinary academic gains of a Montessori classroom. Grace and courtesy is one of the non-traditional academic foundations of a successful Montessori education. It is significant even beyond the academic accomplishments that your child will achieve in Montessori.
Many lessons in Montessori (and life) are learned obliquely or indirectly as a by product of other lessons. (For example, in Montessori all of the lessons of practical life are really preparations for reading and writing.)
While the exercises of grace and courtesy are tremendously valuable all by themselves they also lead to four significant outcomes.
While the Montessori environment is a classroom of individual learners, each progressing as quickly as they can, it is also a community of learners who help, encourage and teach each other. The courtesy of using an inside voice so as not to disturb their classmates; the courtesy of walking so as not to disrupt the learning going on is just the beginning of creating a unique learning environment. Sharing the learning materials, waiting your turn patiently, preferring and helping each other transforms the classroom into an oasis of peace where concentration and learning can happen. Valuing community is a significant outcome.
Second, grace and courtesy leads to the most significant lesson in life – how to love. Love is the ability (and the desire) to put someone else’s needs in front of yours – wanting the best for them. Whether it is holding a door, letting them go first, or doing what pleases them, love is a great lesson (most often demonstrated in small actions and ways.) Grace and courtesy is the doorway to love.
The third benefit of grace and courtesy is the building of self respect. Interestingly, when we are kind and courteous to others we like ourselves better. The young child cannot articulate all the conflicting emotions that are part of growing up but the structure of grace and courtesy helps them enjoy the feelings that come from a calm and orderly environment. They are much more at peace with themselves when they are at peace with their neighbor.
The fourth benefit is that grace and courtesy contributes to the development of self control. Grace and courtesy give children an external set of markers that they internalize and practice which in turn leads them to change their own behavior. This is the first step to controlling themselves. Self control will lead to focus; focus will lead to accomplishment; accomplishment will lead to success.
Not a bad byproduct for “Please” and “Thank you”.
Nature Education Featured
- meaningful relationships, mutual understanding, and approprite social skills
- values and ethics
- motor skills
- creativity & imagination
- self correction and overcoming fear of making mistakes
- self expression through arts, music, dance, building and exploration of materials
- ability to process emotions and life events in a safe and loving environment
- development of language
- control of body
- sense of order
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
One of the great attributes of success is confidence. While success breeds confidence, confidence also breeds success. However, there are no real courses on success, no seven easy steps, no magic potions, so how do we help our children build this important component into their lives?
The first level of building confidence is the ability to finish a project. In Montessori you introduce activities that are reasonable for the child to achieve. Second, you then give the child the time to achieve. Third, the project has to have value; it has to be worthwhile. (Learning to tie your shoes for a young child meets this need.) For confidence to build the project also has to have an element of real challenge – not one that can be accomplished in a moment or a day – learning to read fills this bill. Real confidence has to take you through all kinds of situations for which you are not prepared – which is pretty much a definition of life.
A Montessori classroom offers a child the ability to work at a problem (and the one that follows that etc) for a long time, while making mistakes (and not being devastated by them) and working your way to a satisfactory conclusion. Confidence just doesn’t come from finishing but by surmounting the problems that prevent you from reaching an easy victory. Confidence comes amidst the obstacles, the problems and the difficulties.
As parents, we don’t want our children to struggle so we often short circuit the confidence process by doing the heavy lifting or rescuing our children. We often don’t hear the child’s inaudible cry, “Help me do it myself.” Dr. Montessori heard it and developed a whole environment to make it possible for them to do it themselves.
Confidence also comes and is aided by people who tell you that you can, instead of telling you that you can’t. The seeds of confidence are tiny and are watered by small words, small deeds and small accomplishments. A Montessori environment opens to your child not only the realm of the possible but the realm of the impossible. When you are three or four years old so many things seem impossible – math, riding a two wheeler, jumping rope. Ironically, as you grow the list of the impossible grows along with you because now there are so many more things you never even know about that seem to go on the impossible list.
This is where real confidence begins its ascent of the mountains of impossibility. Everyday in a Montessori classroom where your child has a plan of activity, works through mistakes, takes one bite at a time of the problems, is being encouraged and works at the challenge again and again is laying the bedrock for a lifetime of confidence.
Confidence is like the ancient story of the shepherd boy David who said, “I killed the bear and the lion, this Goliath (of a problem, a challenge an impossibility) will be no different. Confidence – been there, done that – bring it on!
by: Edward Fidellow
The elementary reading curriculum is designed to incorporate phonics, whole word and phonetic exceptions. Lower elementary students progress through a leveled reading program using the Pink, Blue and Green Montessori reading exercises while additional materials and experiences allow them to perfect their reading skills, develop their fluency and comprehension. The Grammar and Vocabulary materials allow the students to assimilate an understanding of the structural rules that govern the English language. Literary elements are explored during Group Literature. Lower and upper elementary students practice writing on a daily basis in classroom journals that cover a variety of writing forms. In lower elementary, Writer’s Workshops are held throughout the year to target specific writing skills. In upper elementary the different varieties of writing and writing skills are integrated into their cultural, science and literature studies. Our goal is to help the students become comfortable using writing as a communication skill. Students learn to think clearly, to research, and to express themselves with confidence and clarity in writing and speech.
|Lower Elementary||Upper Elementary|
|Reading||Reading readiness, phonic skills, guided reading, sight words, contextual clues, S.S.R. (Silent Sustained Reading), vocabulary||Shared reading, dictionary skills, fluency, expression|
|Comprehension||Responding to questions regarding Story-time book (sequencing events, recapping & summarizing, identification of character, plot & setting) context clues & main ideas||Continued study of main ideas, sequencing & context clues, assumptions/inferences, following written directions & instructions|
|Penmanship||Metal inset exercises, D’Nelian print & cursive, spacing, left justification, neatness||Mastery of cursive|
|Spelling||Unconventional to conventional, leveled spelling works||Conventional spelling lists, spelling demons, vocabulary, spelling rules|
|Mechanics||Ending punctuation, capitalization, commas||Apostrophes, commas, quotation marks|
|Composition||Complete sentences, journaling, picture prompted stories, modeled writing, editing||Journaling, character & plot development, proofreading, revising, publishing|
|Study Skills||Categorizing, table of contents, index, beginning reports||Outlining, note taking, organizing information, skimming, advanced reports, paraphrasing|
|Grammar||Parts of speech, parsing||Sentence analysis, verb tenses|
|Speaking||Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama, story-telling||Poetry presentations, in-class reports, drama, story-telling|
|Lower Elementary||Upper Elementary|
|Numbers||Linear counting, sequencing, place value through millions, before & after numbers, <, =, or >, skip counting, ordinal & Roman numbers, one-step word problems, patterns & relationships||Factors & multiples, rounding numbers to nearest 10s & 100s, prime numbers, squaring and cubing, estimating, multiple-step word problems|
|Operations||+ - x / of whole numbers, regrouping, missing values, inverse operations, memorization of numerical patterns||Large operations in all 4 operations (including long division, multi digit multipliers), operations involving decimals, memorization of tables, percentages, averages|
|Functions||Identification of fractions, addition & subtraction with common denominators, multiplication & division of fractions by whole numbers, equivalencies||Mixed numbers, + and – of fractions with unlike denominators, simplifying fractions|
|Measurement||Standard and metric units of measurement for length, mass & volume||Perimeter, area, capacity, word problems|
|Time||Telling time to the minute||Elapsed time, 24 hour clock, word problems involving time|
|Statistics||Interpreting data, block and bar graphs||Line graphs|
|Geometry||Classification of solids, quadrilaterals, triangles and polygons, study of lines & triangles||Study of circles, congruency & symmetry, use of protractor and compass|
|Money||Coin value, totaling amounts||Making change, word problems involving money|
The elementary Montessori curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students between the ages of six and twelve. Elementary students have an increasing ability to abstract and to imagine; the curriculum engages the students in activities that utilize these affinities. While the curriculum builds upon the student's early childhood classroom practice, it expands to include experiences, opportunities and instruction that are appropriate for the students’ developing minds. The Montessori materials continue to play an important role as the students transition from the concrete to the abstract. The teachers’ lessons involve exploration, research and hands-on experiences that guide the students in developing their reasoning minds.
Elementary studies include geography, biology, history, language, mathematics, science, music, movement and art. Studies are enriched through field trips, visitors and workshops that support the curriculum and expand the learning outside of the classroom into the community.