Our programs are designed to build a strong foundation in academics, social, emotional, and physical development. The Montessori approach emphasizes the child’s independence, self-direction, empathy and cultural awareness. Montessori Development Center staff look at the readiness of each child and cater to individual needs, rather than implementing a standardized program.
The premises of the Montessori method include the following:
- That children are capable of self-directed learning.
- That it is critically important for the teacher to be an “observer” of the child instead of a lecturer. This observation of the child interacting with his or her environment is the basis for the ongoing presentation of new material and avenues of learning. Presentation of subsequent exercises for skill development and information accumulation is based on the teacher’s observation that the child has mastered the current exercises.
- That there are numerous “sensitive periods” of development, periods of a few weeks or even months, during which a child’s mind is particularly open to learning specific skills or knowledge such as crawling, sitting, walking, talking, reading, counting, and various levels of social interaction. These skills are learned effortlessly and joyfully. Learning one of these skills outside of its corresponding sensitive period is certainly possible, but can be difficult and frustrating.
- That children have an “absorbent mind” from birth to around age six, possessing limitless motivation to achieve competence within their environment and to perfect skills and understandings. This phenomenon is characterized by the young child’s capacity for repetition of activities within sensitive period categories, such as exhaustive babbling as language practice leading to language competence.
- That children are masters of their educatioal environment, which has been specifically prepared for them to be academic, comfortable, and to encourage independence by giving them the tools and responsibility to manage its upkeep.
- That children learn through discovery, so didactic materials with a control for error are used. Through the use of these materials, which are specific to Montessori establishments — sets of letters, blocks and science experiments — children learn to correct their own mistakes instead of relying on the teacher to give them the correct answer.
- That children most often learn alone during periods of intense concentration. During these self-chosen and spontaneous periods, the child is not to be interrupted by the teacher.
- That the hand is intimately connected to the developing brain in children. Children must actually touch the shapes, letters, temperatures, etc. they are learning about, not just watch a teacher or TV screen tell them about these discoveries.
- Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small/large motor skills coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.