Over a century ago, an educator, writer, lecturer, and medical director by the name of Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952) developed a new approach for educating and nurturing young children. As the first woman medical doctor in Italy, Dr. Montessori became very involved in the care and education of young children. Through her observations and teachings, she concluded that every child is an individual learner and should be encouraged to work at their own pace on projects they initiate themselves. She believed that educating children was a way to create a better society. Her philosophy worked from the basic premise that children learn better when they are given the opportunity to choose and discover in their own way.
This method of teaching started in Italy where Dr. Montessori lived. It continued to gain popularity throughout Europe in the early 1900s and today is practiced all over the world.
Maria Montessori was a genius before her time. She believed a child's mind from birth to six years was different from adults. She concluded that children effortlessly soak in everything in their culture and environment. She saw a tremendous need for children to have respectful, stimulating, nurturing and meaningful direction and guidance during what she called the "absorbent mind stage".
Today, over a century later, modern scientists are finding scientific data to support her discoveries. Recent brain research studies confirm that children learn best through choices and play-like activities. Children also learn best at their own pace, in a way that they enjoy. That's why Red Mountain Montessori Academy provides children with hundreds of choices each day so that they will continue to enjoy learning while having fun. We believe that it is important for children to develop within themselves a lifetime love of learning.
What is Montessori?
Montessori encompasses a philosophy by which children are allowed to develop naturally and fully, each at his or her own pace. Under the guidance of a certified Montessori Directress, in a specially prepared environment and using carefully formulated materials, children are given the opportunity to learn in the best ways: by choice and by discovery. The dual qualities of independence and a love of learning, natural tendencies for the children are nurtured in such a way that both competence and confidence result. These competent and self-confident young people have the necessary tools for successful future learning and living.
Why should you choose a Montessori education for your child?
Between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 is when your child's intelligence and social characteristics will be formed. This is also when your child is most receptive, curious and excited about exploring the world around him or her. A Montessori classroom nurtures the excitement and curiosity by offering a variety of materials to stimulate and intrigue your child. The Montessori Directress is trained to recognize when your child is ready to learn a new skill, and to foster his or her natural instincts and abilities. Your child is valued as a an independent thinker and encouraged to make choices on his or her own. A Montessori education provides students of all ages with information in a way they can understand and enjoy. Learning is fun, empowering and custom fit to suit your child's individual learning style.
What do you have to offer that my child can't get at more traditional preschools?
You will see the minute that you walk into one of our classrooms. The materials used to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, science, music, and social studies are all unique to the Montessori classroom. Classroom materials developed for our youngest students, for example, take abstract ideas and put them in a concrete form that makes sense to their developing minds. Unlike other schools, your child will also share his or her Montessori classrooms with older and/or younger students. This way, students learn from their peers, and respect their own and each other's ability to be a teacher, as well as a student. Finally, Directresses observe their students, stepping in when they see a child is "stuck" or ready to learn a new skill.
What kind of child attends Montessori?
The Montessori method is an international approach to learning with no distinctions of class, culture or intelligence. This academic expertise coupled with the happy, interested, confident and organized demeanor these children present, singles them out among children who have not had the same educational advantages. Most people develop and use but a small portion of their potential; Montessori children seem brighter because they are exposed to more. Montessori education allows your child to progress towards whatever he or she can become, as it focuses on the whole child, addressing intellectual, aesthetic, physical, emotional, and social needs as well.
How will my child adjust to public schools after a Montessori school?
Whether the child attends another private school or goes to a public school, Montessori education provides an excellent background for traditional education. Studies show that Montessori children adjust well and are generally among the better students. They spend their time more productively because of their self-direction and positive attitudes toward learning.
If my child is left choose their own projects, won't they do the same thing day in and day out, or do nothing at all?
Our Directress are trained to observe children as they work. When a child has mastered a skill, the Directress will give the child a lesson that is more challenging, giving special attention to the age and interest of each child. And because the environment is so stimulating and exciting, children seldom "do nothing". There are hundreds of prepared lessons for the child to choose from every day.
I've heard Montessori is too individualized and does not allow socialization.
While it is true that many of the activities are individualized, this is important so that children can work at their own pace without feeling competitive or frustrated about their own progress. However, there are several activities that do involve group participation. Also, during the day, children participate in circle time together, eat lunch together, and play outside together. One of the principles of the Red Mountain Montessori Academy program is to help your child develop socially so that he or she can achieve a respect of others and work well together within a group environment.