What is Montessori?
The Montessori method understands and aids the child’s natural process of growth and learning. For over 100 years, it has been based on self-directed activities, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, developed this philosophy in the early 1900’s, and it has been implemented throughout the world ever since. A movement focused on expanding educational options in the United States led to the formation of the American Montessori Society in 1960. Caedmon, the first Montessori School in New York City, opened in 1962. The school has made modifications to this method over the past fifty years, creating a blend of Montessori and other pre-school elements, such as block building, imaginative play, and specialist classes that research has proven to be beneficial for optimal child development. We continue to infuse core Montessori principles into our robust, progressive Elementary program as well, thus naming this part of our program “Montessori Inspired.”
Our Montessori Approach: Caedmon’s Early Childhood Program
When you enter our Montessori classroom, the materials and activities are clearly and recognizably organized into distinct areas and are presented with great care. Through active engagement, the students develop independence, coordination, concentration, organization and most importantly, curiosity. The areas of the Early Childhood classroom provide an extraordinary range of materials to foster social and academic growth and include: language, mathematics, sensorial, practical life, cultural arts (including Geography, History, Science, Biomes etc), visual arts, a book corner, a block area, and an imaginative play area. The prepared environments and work tools are beautiful and peaceful for children, giving them a place to learn and grow at ease and with grace. In addition to working in the Montessori classroom, children travel to specialist classrooms for music, art, movement, yoga, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
Play is a vital component of early childhood development and is encouraged and enjoyed in the classrooms. Children are provided many opportunities for open-ended and creative play. Socialization is a key aspect of the program and significant focus is placed on facilitating successful social interaction among the children. The Montessori Method fosters independence, encourages empathy and a passion for social justice, and develops joyful engagement in lifelong learning. Montessori students are given the freedom and support to question, to make connections, and think deeply. They develop into confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners who are able to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly.
Our Montessori Inspired Approach: Caedmon’s Elementary Program
A Montessori-inspired program equips children with the skills necessary to be independent learners. They are taught how to prioritize work, budget time, and ask for help when needed. These critical skills prepare children to be successful students. At Caedmon, many of the specialized materials designed by Dr. Montessori over a century ago continue to be used by our Kindergarten and Lower Level (grades 1 & 2) students, alongside materials from other approaches such as the Investigations math curriculum by TERC, Amplify Science curriculum, and the Lucy Calkins reading and writing curriculum which utilizes small, flexible instructional groups. By Middle Level Third Grade, the Montessori materials are mostly replaced by these other approaches. Homework, classroom tests and evaluations, and standardized testing are incorporated to help prepare children for the successful transition to middle school.
Montessori for All
Montessori education is appropriate for all children, as it provides a personalized approach to learning. Montessori schools offer children opportunities to express their unique personalities, and help each child develop a sense of creativity, confidence, inquisitiveness, and individuality.