By Patty Eggerding, Head of School at West Suburban Montessori
At this time of year, we at West Suburban Montessori tend to hear from a lot of parents and guardians who are beginning to plan for their child’s next school year. They want to know more about the Montessori approach to education and whether it would be a good fit for their student.
We focus on the whole child in Montessori, not just the academic side. The Montessori approach addresses the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual development of the child.
Montessori education began in 1907, when Dr. Maria Montessori opened her first classroom in Rome, Italy. It is no secret that intelligent and independent students emerge from Montessori programs. The children who attend West Suburban Montessori School are on a path toward independence. They are strong minded, outside-of-the-box thinkers, and full of confidence. Some famous Montessori students include Anne Frank (diarist), Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon), T. Berry Brazelton (noted pediatrician), Julia Child (chef and author), Taylor Swift (Grammy award-winning singer), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (author), George Clooney (actor), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook).
We also place a great emphasis on being respectful of others. We value kindness and hard work. We also value the spark or enthusiasm required for real learning to take place.
Following are a few more details about the Montessori model and how it applies at our school:
- Montessori classrooms have mixed-age classrooms. Primary (ages 3-6) and elementary (ages 6-8, 9-12). The youngest students are given lessons and help by the teacher and also by the older children.
- Children actively engage in their learning. The teacher gives lessons to the student and the student continues the work independently.
- Hands-on learning happens in Montessori classrooms. The Montessori materials are made to be touched and manipulated. Montessori believed in a direct link between the hand and the mind.
- Montessori students have freedom of movement. Movement is vital for all children. Many of the Montessori lessons incorporate movement.
- A Montessori-trained teacher in each classroom is key. The teacher has studied Montessori theory and all curriculum areas, and is prepared to guide the students through the lessons and to connect the subject areas seamlessly. Montessori teachers focus on redirection, honest conversation, and encouragement of their students. The teacher collaborates with the students instead of leading the students.
- Uninterrupted work cycles are paramount to Montessori classrooms. Students could choose to work on adding fractions for an entire work period (three hours). Students work at their own pace and can concentrate on their own interests. The teacher is there to be sure all areas of the curriculum get the attention they need for each student.
If you have more questions about the Montessori approach or our program, do not hesitate to contact us.