Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was Italy’s first female physician. She developed a method of education based on her clinical observations on how children learn. She discovered the children’s effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, a tireless interest in manipulating materials, and an inborn desire to learn and do meaningful work. In 1907, she founded a school using child-centered methods and equipment based on her observations. Montessori’s work continues today in public and private schools throughout the world.
Why multi-age classrooms?
In the 3 to 6-year-old classes there is a family-like atmosphere, with the older children serving as role-models for the younger children.. In this multi-age setting the children learn from each other and they learn because of each other. The Montessori-trained teachers ensure that experiences occur naturally and joyfully at the proper moment for each individual child.
What is “learning through the senses”?
Montessori believed that one should never give more to the brain than to the hand. She put great emphasis on the connection between the brain and movement, believing that the brain, the senses, and the muscles must all cooperate for learning to take place. This is why our children trace letters of sandpaper with their fingers in order to fix the path of the letter in the child’s muscular memory; count colorful beads to understand “how many”; build a tower of cubes of varying sizes to understand numbers, ratios and later, fractions; sweep, pour, and scrub with child-sized tools; experience music through singing and playing instruments; create their own art with paint, chalk, clay, and textiles; plant a garden to watch with wonder and pride as it grows. The goal, as Dr Montessori said, is to allow the child to “experience the thrill of the unknown for himself.” At Salem Montessori School you will hear the delighted cry, “I did it myself”!
What is the “Children and Worship” program?
Maria Montessori thought of childhood as “the sensitive period of the soul,”the time when the child is especially open to a deep and joyful relationship with God. At Salem Montessori School, we use the Children and Worship curriculum to nurture the spiritual development of the child. Using multi-sensory materials, Biblical stories are presented by the teacher, then offered to the children to explore on their own and relate to their personal experience.