At Curiosity Cottage to adhere to the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. An important aspect of the Montessori philosophy is that within each child is the person he will become. In order to develop the child’s fullest potential (physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally), he must have freedom. This comes through order and self-discipline.
Montessori education succeeds because it is based on the principles of the natural development of the child. The method meets the needs of the individual, regardless of the child’s learning style, social maturity or ability. Each Montessori classroom is a prepared environment (with carefully arranged sequential learning materials) where children are free to exercise their natural drive to work and learn.
Their natural love of learning is encouraged by providing them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, meaningful activities under the guidance of a trained adult. It is through their work with the materials that the children develop concentration, motivation, persistence and self-discipline. Supported by recent trends in brain research and highlighted in current scientific studies, Montessori education is an increasing popular alternative for many parents. Essential characteristics include:
The Montessori Learning Environment
- A Child-Centered Environment
- The focus of activity in the Montessori setting is on the child’s learning, not on the teacher’s teaching. As a guide and observer, a goal of the Montessori teacher is to intervene less and less as the child develops.
- A Responsive, Prepared, Adaptive Environment
- We believe in providing an environment that is responsive to children’s emergent needs and designed for their interests, abilities and potential. Teachers prepare it in advance of children’s entry into it and continue to prepare it according to the children’s needs, evolving interests, and their changing circumstances.
- Individual Competence and Self-Construction
- Within a Montessori setting, children strive to realize their own potential, and are provided with opportunities for problem solving and mastering their own skills at their own pace.
The Montessori Learning Relationships
- Mixed-Aged Grouping
- In order to respond to the diversity of individual children’s developmental needs, we group children across a three-year age span. This fosters leadership in older children and gives the younger children mentors to aspire to be like.
- Social Settings as a Community
- We believe that learning with and from each other develops the social skills that form a class community. The social setting is like that of an extended family. The emergent skills of the individual children come together to form the class community.
- Co-operation and Collaboration
- Children are encouraged to respect and support one another in their learning, and with their daily needs and experiences. Learning is a social process.
Montessori Learning Activity
- Hands-On Experience with Materials
- In our program, children learn by actively working with the concrete materials that lead to abstract concepts.
- Spontaneous Activity
- Children spontaneously seek growth and development because it is in their nature to do so. The Montessori environment provides a setting in which children can explore, discover, and learn independently and with others.
- Active Learning Methods
- The Montessori environment is one in which children are actively engaged in their learning. They initiate their work and are encouraged to follow it through to completion. Movement with purpose and control is central to learning.
- Self-Directed Activity
- Children construct their own intelligence, choosing their own activities, fueled by the need for competence. We believe concentration and engagement are enhanced when children choose their own activities from a carefully prepared curriculum.
- Freedom within Limits
- Freedom is given and earned. The freedom to choose one’s own activity comes with the responsibility to choose appropriately; increasing levels of self-discipline and self-regulation are expected.
- Intrinsic Motivation
- The desire for learning comes from within the individual child. This drive toward competence is fueled by the child’s curiosity and interest. The child’s self-initiated activity and mastery is considered its own reward.
- Social Awareness
- Children attain independence, autonomy, and develop social responsibility through participation in group activity. Children demonstrate social responsibility and leadership skills, such as empathy, communication, initiative, and resiliency.
- Global Awareness
- The children are acquiring qualities of citizenship and stewardship through an understanding and respect for cultural diversity.
- All children are secure and respected. There are opportunities to develop and practice qualities of peace and conflict resolution in their interactions with others.
- Spontaneity and Joy
- Children are allowed to be natural, and there are opportunities for spontaneity and expressions of the joy of learning.
- Movement is an integral part of the environment and opportunities for freedom of gross motor movement and fine motor movement are essential.
- An Atmosphere that Supports the Development of Language and Self-Expression
- Clear, precise, rich language is an essential component of the classroom.