Montessori Preschool & Child Care
Serving Minneapolis, MN
• To provide a diverse and inclusive educational environment embracing the Montessori philosophy.
• To develop a mutual respect and partnership between all program participants and the world beyond our doors.
• To foster curiosity and a passion for learning.
• To promote independence and develop life skills.
• To nurture a spirit of self-esteem and dignity in each child.
• To recognize and support the individual needs of each child while promoting a strong sense of belonging to a community.
• Respect and responsibility for ourselves, our community and our environment.
• Nurturing kindness and compassion within each child.
• Honoring the dual concepts of grace and courtesy.
The Montessori work is meant to be appealing to the child by being beautiful and maintained. It is made of natural material, such as wood so that it is long lasting and attractive. The material is placed in a logical and sequential order throughout the room and represents real activities found throughout life. The works introduce new concepts and skills that build upon one another. It is intended to be meaningful and by performing them, the child develops an understanding of the environment surrounding her, thus nurturing an intellect and personality. Performing such meaningful work fosters a sense of purpose, belonging and responsibility for the child himself and for his environment.
The child is free to choose a work after the Montessori guide has presented how to use it. It is offered to provide a sense of order, concentration, independence and coordination of the body and mind.
Within the environment there are eight areas that we offer. These are presented to develop physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills to benefit the whole child. Below is a brief description of each area.
The practical life material lays the foundation for everything else in the room. It is the bridge between home and school. Here the child will see activities that are familiar and culturally appropriate to her. Such activities include washing dishes, watering plants or pouring liquids. There are several aims to these works which include building a sense of order, coordination of movement and social development. The child will gain a sense of responsibility and accomplishment when performing the practical life activities. These activities can be subcategorized in the following way:
- The Preliminary Activities, which provide preparation for more difficult work and help with coordination of movement.
- Care of Environment, which builds responsibility and respect for the environment surrounding the child.
- Care of Self, which encourages independence and self-care.
- Grace and Courtesy, which aids in social development.
These materials are used to refine the senses which are considered to be the bridge between the child’s body, mind and his environment. They act as the foundation for math, language, botany, geography, art and music. Children learn to order, classify and describe the world around them using such material. It is designed to isolate abstract qualities within the environment and make them more concrete for the child. These also come with a control of error which gives the child the opportunity to self correct, giving him the opportunity to work more independently.
With the help of the mathematic curriculum, abstract mathematical concepts, such as, quantity, sequence, operations and memorization become concrete for the child. Through the use of manipulative materials, opportunities are created for the child to absorb these concepts using both her body and mind.
From the very first interactions with the environment, language is an essential part of the child’s experience. The spoken language is nurtured as the child is encouraged to speak with others and books and stories are presented in small or large groups or individually. Reading and writing skills are enhanced through a variety of presentations, thus aiding in the development of oral, verbal, writing and grammar skills.
The science curriculum fosters the child’s inner desire to discover and explore her world. We focus on our connection to our environment and all the creatures in it. We promote eco-responsibility.
The child is able to gain an understanding of the physical world through materials created for the encouragement of discovery.
Art and Music
Music and art are important to our program. Through books, CDs, art projects, volunteers and field trips, our children will be given a variety of opportunities to participate in and enjoy the arts.
About the Montessori Philosophy
Our environment has been carefully prepared based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s educational philosophy. Dr. Montessori was the first woman physician in Italy and a pioneer of education in the twentieth century. She was born in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy in 1870.
After giving a speech to the Italian Education Congress, about theories she had formed while working at a Psychiatric Clinic, Dr. Montessori was invited by the Minister of Education to become the director of the Scuola Ortofrenica, a school offering education and care to mentally disabled children. Using her method, Dr. Montessori administered state testing to the 8-year old children in reading and writing. The children scored above average on the tests. In witnessing such a feat, Dr. Montessori decided to apply the same method to children with varied abilities.
Observation within a prepared environment was key to the method. After careful observation Dr. Montessori found that it is best to prepare an environment where the adult follows the child’s progress and guides the child through his development. This prepared environment is designed to foster independence and encourage a love of learning in each child. She found that the child’s mind is unlike the adult’s, in that it is unconscious and absorbent, meaning, the child’s mind absorbs all that she experiences in the environment without judgment or filters.
The child is encouraged to choose his own work and repeat it as often as he likes. Dr. Montessori believed that repetition leads to concentration which develops logic and intelligence. A multi-aged setting encourages older children to model and teach the younger children and gives the younger children the opportunity to observe more challenging works performed.
The child is encouraged to work at her own pace and is not graded or compared with others. It is believed that building an intrinsic desire to learn is more beneficial to the development of the child than providing external rewards for learning.
The room is naturally lit and decorated in neutral colors to avoid over-stimulation.