Dr. Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn.
She opened the first Montessori school—the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House—in Rome on January 6, 1907. Subsequently, she traveled the world and wrote extensively about her approach to education, attracting many devotees. Her unique philosophy sparked the interest of educators worldwide and in the following decades Montessori schools opened throughout Europe, in North and South America, and, finally on every continent but Antarctica. There are now more than 22,000 Montessori schools in at least 110 countries worldwide.
You can read more about Maria Montessori HERE.
Montessori is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.
Although a range of practices exists under the name “Montessori”, the Association Montessori International (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential. We follow the AMS Montessori method:
- Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children ages 2 1⁄2 or 3 to 6 years old
- Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
- Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
- A constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
- Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
- Freedom of movement within the classroom
- A trained Montessori teacher
As the children enter their classrooms at Little Laurels Montessori and discover enticing materials, they have the freedom to choose their own activities under the guidance of our Montessori-trained teacher, Castley, who has 10 years of experience in a Montessori classroom. The Montessori materials cultivate concentration, independence and a love of learning. While independent learning is emphasized to allow a child to grow at their own pace, a healthy emphasis is given to the development of social skills to foster empathy, respect, and communication.
Our school is built on the premise that all children can learn. They all start off with great potential in life with tremendous interest in learning. If children have a purpose for the subjects being learned, along with the proper tools for recognizing barriers to learning and how to remedy them, they can be more responsible for their own education.
Our teaching methods emphasize practical application. This approach keeps our students continually evaluating new information in relation to the real world. As they move through our program, their education becomes their own, not something enforced or piled onto them. In the end, we want to see our children maintain their individuality while being self-determined, confident and active. We want to cultivate purposeful individuals who are capable of pursuing and achieving their goals.
Part of what makes this preschool unique is that the children learn from hands-on experience. We emphasize practical life skills and allow children to use their senses to learn and provide well-trained staff to help them overcome any learning barriers. Our purpose is to give students the ability to learn in a fun environment that encourages education and sets the children free to observe, think, create and draw their own conclusions.
Montessori vs. Public School