There are so many critical pieces involved when putting together a first rate Montessori program. Dr. Montessori described the balance of three elements to be essential in what is described as a true Montessori program.
The first element is the physical environment. When deciding where to set up a classroom, beautiful natural lighting and plenty of space is desirable. Of course having a complete set of the materials Dr. Montessori developed is essential so that the children can do the work of developing their minds. The materials are not only child-sized, but are self correcting and intentional in their design. They should be very attractive and arranged on the shelves in logical order.
children. Montessori discovered that children develop in three-year planes. By grouping children together who are on the same plane, we can maximize their learning experience. In the Primary classroom we enroll children who are basically between the ages of three years and six years of age that allows them to work in each subject area on the level that is individually most appropriate.
When adults learn to be Montessori teachers they become certified on different levels. Each level of training requires at least 210 classroom hours and a 9-month internship. The certification levels are Birth to Three, Three to Six, Six to Nine, Nine, Nine to Twelve, and Twelve to Fifteen.
The third critical element is the adult in the environment. The adult must not only be well versed in Montessori philosophy and pedagogy, but must be a keen observer. Dr. Montessori did not refer to the adults as teachers but Directresses or Guides, because they do not teach in the traditional sense. After carefully observing the child, this prepared adult directs or guides the child to appropriate learning materials.
While most intelligent adults can learn the materials and philosophy and can even learn to become a careful observer, really outstanding Guides have more.
Really outstanding Montessori adults express a true respect for children. These adults do not consider themselves superior to children, but delight in spending time with them and watching them discover new truths. They diligently prepare new materials and they share their love of learning with the children. They bring a sense of joy to the classroom and they genuinely care about each child.
This week I was reminded once again that God has blessed our school with all three of the critical elements that make an outstanding Montessori program.
On Monday evening, when I very suddenly and without forewarning, was stricken with a severe attack of acute pancreatitis that resulted in five days in the hospital and emergency gall bladder surgery, I knew that everything at the school would be fine. I knew that under the leadership of Michelle and James, and the availability of Miss Karen, the school would easily continue without missing a beat.
I am so grateful, and hope that you are too, for the dedication as well as professionalism of Michelle and James. It was so comforting to know that these outstanding Montessori professionals would continue to be at school each day to love on, and guide your children. We are truly blessed to have them and while I hope to not ever have a
medical emergency like this again, I am grateful to know that the school is in great hands.
I also appreciate the prayers, emails, texts, and calls from many of you! I should be back at school full time this week. Seeing the children and hearing their precious voices was great ‘medicine’ for the few hours I was at school this week!