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Montessori, What Every Parent Should Know

I’ve been a Montessorian for the better part of my life which is approximately 30 years. One thing I have learned is all parents ask very similar questions when looking into a Montessori program for their child.

So, as a new parent, what questions should you be asking as you begin to explore Montessori schools?

Because we are serving children ages 3 to 6 years, many parents come to us looking for a care facility. We are not a day care. We are a school that offers a structured learning environment with its own learning style, methods and philosophy. Our program is a three-year cycle, and we fully expect children who begin with us at 3 years of age to remain with us until age 6. We run like a school year, beginning in September and ending in June. We take holidays and professional days just like a traditional school.

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.

 

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.

 

Montessori education offers our children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.

Public School

Memorization is the primary basis for learning. Children memorize teacher-dispensed content, facts, dates and formulas. Information is memorized and repeated back. Children are scored for accuracy for recall, and then they forget about it. Most do fairly well; however some fall within a tolerance of  the education/manufacturing process known as one or more ‘standard deviations’.

 

In a traditional 21st century classroom, students are praised for their ability to find correct answers to predetermined questions. Intellectual risk taking, creative thinking, and asking questions is often discouraged. The ability to get a good score on a test is valued more than the ability to get fully engaged in the learning process and pursue ideas that excite a student.

 

Kindergarten ratio is 30 or more children: 2 staff

 

Montessori School

Our legacy is that of the prepared environment and developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory, hands-on learning activities. Montessori teachers are guides, who help children engage in investigation and discovery. Our goals include fully developing each child’s potential and forming habits of life-long learning. Learning to think is not the same as learning to memorize.

 

Developing habits of persistence, taking on challenges, engaging with problems, and creatively designing solutions are not the same as learning to memorize.

 

Maria Montessori discovered that when children are placed in an environment designed for how they naturally learn, children will experience a transformation from impulsive behaviours. They will concentrate. And when children concentrate, they next develop self-reliance and become self-disciplined. For this to occur, the design of the materials and our own preparation must enable a child’s choice and spontaneous activity.

 

Ratio in a Montessori kindergarten classroom is 8 children: 1 teacher

That’s where a visit before enrollment is very important.  The visit allows you to see first hand, how our programming runs and how it affects our little learners. We ask that you first schedule a parental visit with no children. If you like what you see, we ask that you return for a visit with your child.

Montessori is a structured environment that offers free choices within boundaries. Children must have lessons on activities before taking them out. Once they have demonstrated and understanding on how to use the activities, they may choose to use that activity any time, as long as it is available.

Some Montessori programs begin at infancy. Our program begins at the average age of three years. Children remain with us until the age of six. There are programs available that reach through and up to high school. Those programs are usually available in areas with larger populations.

Our goal is to provide our students with a broad-based education in life-skills and academics. The children who leave our program after 3-4 years, are happy, well-rounded individuals. They are capable of independent thought and able to make appropriate choices. We strive, with the assistance of parents, to prepare students for a positive school experience wherever they go.

Imagination is used in all aspects of Montessori. It is the fuel which allows us greatness. Without it, we would be very boring and very much the same. Imagination defines our personalities. We encourage it through experiments, hypotheses and outcomes. We ask questions like, “what do you think will happen next?” Imagination is about asking why and how, and listening to the answers of our amazing students.

A child will make a choice and continue with that choice until it is perfected and internalized. That is how we learn. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Practice makes perfect”? We do track each student in each area of the classroom, and if necessary, we will encourage with other choices.

We have ratios that allow eight children to one teacher. Two of our teachers hold Montessori diplomas as does our French teacher. Our assistant teacher holds a diploma in education for ages 3-9-years.

 

We bring over 30 years of experience to our classroom. We are use to working simultaneously with many students at one time and we carefully track each child’s progress.  Our system of tracking is specifically designed to the needs of each individual student.

Montessori programs are broken down into three-year-cycles, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. Montessori can also continue on into middle school and high school or begin as early as infancy. Our experiences tell us that the student who is with us for a three-year cycle benefits in many ways. All of our materials are cyclical. They are introduced in a concrete manner which slowly moves to a more abstract approach. After there years, the information our students take from our program is internalized and therefore something they carry with them into adulthood.

A Montessori teacher has gained knowledge by attending Montessori college. The minimum requirement for a person wanting to become a Montessori teacher is a 4-year university education and experience in the field of Pedagogy. One can find many books and websites on the Montessori Method, but without the knowledge of the philosophy and the training, one cannot completely understand how to present the ideals of the method to others.

Contact Information

ADDRESS

1212 Woodbine Rd.,
Kingston, ON K7P 2X6

PHONE

(613) 561-6580

EMAIL

baysideadmin@gmail.com