The Montessori Method of learning was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy, a pioneer of her times. The basic tenet of this method is that children learn and flourish in an environment that encourages their basic human need for information versus being taught on a timetable without accounting for their individuality. The Curious Minds follows this time-honored method and combines it with the latest cutting-edge research on education and child development to provide the best support for its students while challenging their potential to the maximum.
Maria Montessori always said, “follow the child.” We uphold that principle and follow the needs of the child versus their wants. It is true that some children are more motivated than others. However, the Montessori environment prepares an individualized curriculum for each child, which addresses their strengths and needs. When we observe that a child prefers to avoid work that would challenge them, then we find out the reason why. We typically revisit the said materials with the child, slowly building their confidence. The environment is also tailored to offer more choices to the classroom as a whole. Since Montessori rewards children intrinsically, which includes the feelings of pride, a sense of achievement and the confidence born from this accomplishment, there is no need for extrinsic motivators such as stickers, medals, etc.
All Montessori classrooms are completely structured as they are prepared environments, which means that the teachers take into account the different developmental planes of all the children before setting up all the curriculum areas. In a Montessori classroom, children have the option to choose their own work, work with a friend or independently, and ask for lessons too. The children function within the framework that is set up for them. The teachers establish expectations of the children with regards to their behaviors. The teachers also implement a curriculum plan for each child. There is an uninterrupted work cycle every morning for 2 hours and 45 minutes. During that time, the teachers ensure that the children are engaged with work, interacting peacefully, cleaning up after themselves, and challenging themselves, which does not include procrastinating, misbehaving and or being disengaged. When children are making those said undesirable choices, they are gently but firmly guided back to right path.
The Curious Minds prepares students for life and learning. The children in the Montessori environment not only learn the subjects of Math, Language, Geography, Science and so on, but also cultivate good work ethics such as focus, organization, motivation, and perseverance; inherit good social values such as kindness, responsibility, and respect; and imbibe strong interpersonal skills such as leadership, confidence, and independence. While there is a transition that happens when a student changes schools, not to mention the difference in the education styles, our local public and private schools’ admissions officers report that our children excel academically and are valued members of their new community.
Assessment is a daily routine of the Montessori classroom, but it is not necessarily labeled so. There is a detailed conference report sent to the parents twice a year. This report is a culmination of the daily observation notes that the teacher has made of your child. In addition to presenting lessons, the teacher observes the students at work every day and those observations are recorded. The purpose behind evaluating a student’s work is to make sure that they are best supported by us and challenged every day to maximize their potential.
Montessori classrooms typically span a three-year age group. The multi-aged classrooms offer the child a chance to start off as an explorer, move on to being a mentee and then finally reaching the stage of a mentor. Neuroscience supports the fact that your brain evolves differently and for the better when you impart the knowledge that you have gained. Any Montessori child in their third year of the same classroom, will not only gain confidence and leadership skills but also become smarter!
The Montessori environment is child centric. The room is designed to be peaceful with everything set up at the child’s eye level. The child has a lot of freedom of movement and choice, where they are not expected to sit through the entire learning process doing the same thing as their peers for the same length of time. The child also has many opportunities in the Montessori environment to explore activities they see you do at home, washing, cooking, scooping, pouring and many more such practical life exercises that they absolutely adore. In the warmer months, the children are welcome to extend their workspace to the outdoors which the children greatly enjoy.
The child gets to play outside every morning and afternoon, take long walks on trails, and garden. In a Montessori environment, each child is treasured for who they are and they form genuine connections with their teachers and peers. They have so much fun enjoying each day at school, their second home!
Montessori schools do prefer to focus on the real and tangible elements of life. The disassociation with commercial characters comes with love; we recognize the amount of intense commercialization that bombards our children along with the stereotyping that follows.
There is no dearth of creativity in a Montessori environment, as children are invited to explore Art, as a separate unit of study. The creative element extends to the other areas of curriculum as well, as the child can use their own ideas on how to represent work on paper or to an audience. The children participate in an annual performance at the Curious Minds that includes singing, dancing and performing in plays. They also work all year towards creating their own art work that is displayed in an Annual Art Show.
We greatly encourage a child’s imagination and their ability to think outside the box. While at work or play, pretend play is used as an opportunity to explore all manner of possibilities. For example; “It is great that Dorothy has decided to be the prettiest cloud today in our classroom! What do you think clouds are made of Dorothy? Do you think you could move across the room as softly and quietly as a cloud?”.