IT’S NOT ABOUT DISCOVERING WHAT TO TEACH. IT IS ABOUT DISCOVERING HOW KIDS LEARN.

More than 100 years ago, Maria Montessori (1870—1952) saw a great need to reform the educational system of her time. Her ideals have not only stood the test of time, they have proven to be more valuable than ever in teaching children for the 21st century.

Maria devoted her lifetime to creating schools that develop the full potential of each individual child. She believed that education could be a powerful force in creating more responsible and caring individuals, and that through observation, individual choice, and a carefully prepared environment, great success is possible.

The core Montessori principles resonate with so many parents, and so many kinds of learners:

  • Individual learning. Montessori education recognizes that each child learns at a different pace and we allow time in the classroom for that growth to take place. The Montessori method is based on deep respect for and understanding of child development.
  • Multi-age groupings of children within a classroom. Multi-age groupings provide the necessary opportunities for older children to be role models for the younger students, both reinforcing their own learning and building self-esteem.  In addition, these groupings contribute to a strong sense of community in the classroom.
  • An emphasis on concrete learning first.  A primary emphasis on concrete learning provides a firm foundation for abstraction later. Children need to experience concepts in concrete ‘hands-on’ ways before they can truly think abstractly.  For example, we teach children to feel the difference in weight between the quantities of one, ten, 100 and 1,000.
  • A focus on the joy of learning and sense of discovery.  Montessori students are deeply interested in learning and understanding the work itself.  When a child asks a question in a Montessori classroom, the teacher will guide the student in the right direction to discover the answer on his or her own.
  • Carefully prepared classroom environments.   Classrooms are welcoming, child-centered, orderly, and stimulating. A thoughtfully prepared environment facilitates the child’s exploration and creativity. In addition, the classroom environment provides the structure for behavior expectations that are clear, predictable, and constant, reinforced by both children and adults.
  • Self-correcting materials.  Montessori materials are designed to allow students to get immediate feedback and correct mistakes on their own.  This leads to the development of critical thinking skills.
  • Schedules with large blocks of work time. Classroom schedules allow students the time to problem solve, see the interdisciplinary connections of knowledge, and to construct new ideas.  Large blocks of time enable students to develop concentration and grit-  the ability to stay with a challenging task to achieve a goal – necessary for life’s success.
  • Teachers specially trained in the Montessori method. In addition to curriculum instruction and Montessori philosophy, teacher education includes child development, teaching strategies, observation, and leadership skills.  In a Montessori classroom teachers play an unobtrusive role to encourage children to be motivated internally rather than by external rewards.

A Montessori education at MSD supports and nurtures a child’s development in all areas: physical, intellectual, language, and social-emotional. The foundation of Montessori education was built on developing the optimal learning environments for children, and that’s just what our campus is designed for.