What is Montessori Education?
Montessori education utilizes a “whole child” approach to instruction. Over 100 years ago its founder, Maria Montessori, a brilliant educator and scientist, wanted to prove that children could learn best in an environment of hand-on immersion experiences. She felt that tactile exploratory learning opportunities would form a strong foundation for later abstract learning (such as math facts, reading, science exploration, etc.). She theorized that teachers should instead become “directors” and actually “quietly follow the child” in order to discern their interests, strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, a teacher would then know how best to reach their students through appropriate individualized learning experiences that would stimulate true growth and learning.
What happened with her “experiment” was something truly extraordinary. She not only realized that her theories were correct, but she also found that this individualized learning was extremely successful with all types of students, regardless of age, learning style or socioeconomic background. Thus was born “Montessori education,” which today has grown to be an international method of teaching used in classrooms around the globe.
This individualized curriculum, provided by specially trained Montessori teachers, is directed at developing students’ self-confidence and self-discovery. Students, with the help of their teachers, become active participants in their learning experience. Early on, children are surrounded by inviting Montessori materials, which help them to build a solid educational foundation. Students then seamlessly progress to more complex learning ideas. All of this is provided in a multi-age setting, which allows for students to be mentored and become mentors, and gives students a chance to work at a pace comfortable to their needs without stigma.
Does the Montessori philosophy work with the Michigan State Standards of education?
Teachers in all public schools are accountable for covering the Michigan Department of Education grade level content expectations.
Lake Superior Academy follows the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Our curriculum directly addresses the individualized learning needs of each child. In addition, students will participate in the same Statewide (M-STEP) assessments as other students throughout the district.
What subjects are included in the Montessori curriculum?
Lake Superior Academy’s curriculum includes the following areas of study:
- Language Arts, Reading, and Literature
- Mathematics and Geometry
- Science Studies (including Botany and Zoology)
- History and Social Sciences
- Art and Music
- Physical Education
- Practical Life Lessons (including Grace and Courtesy and Peace studies)
- Foreign Language Instruction
- Computers & Technology
Does the Montessori method really make a difference?
It is interesting to note that on the Barbara Walters ABC-TV Special “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004”, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of the popular Internet search engine Google.com, credited their years as Montessori students as a major factor behind their success. When Barbara Walters asked if the fact that their parents were college professors was a factor behind their success, they said no, that it was their going to a Montessori school where they learned to be self-directed and self-starters. They said that Montessori education allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them freedom to pursue their own interests.
There is also quite an interesting collection of people throughout history who have gone to Montessori schools, sent their children to Montessori schools, or supported this method of education in one way or another. The short list includes: Alice Waters, Friedrich Hundertwasser, Julia Child, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, Sigmund Freud, Buckminster Fuller, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, John Holt, Anne Frank, the Dalai Lama, Jacqueline Kennedy, Prince William and Prince Harry of the English Royal Family, Cher Bono, Yul Brynner, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Yo Yo Ma.
This is not to say that your child will become the next internet sensation, famous musician or spectacular inventor. However, it is interesting to note that in the list of people mentioned above, there is a varied group of individuals with similar qualities – abstract thinkers who are able to see things in a different light, and who possesed the confidence to reach their invidivual goals and fulfill their dreams. Montessori education creates in its students the power to do all of this and more.
Please feel free to call us to learn more about what a Montessori Education can mean for your child.
What type of work done is done in the classroom?
Below are some links to videos and resources showing the type of work that is done in the classroom using the Montessori method of teaching.