Testimonial Wall - Teachers
What Montessori Guides are saying about Montessori Education
Elementary Montessori Students Teach College Education Majors
A group of our upper elementary students spent the afternoon "teaching" a class of college students about Montessori. They were invited by a math professor to present the Montessori math materials to his math education majors. The chequerboard, flat bead frame, racks and tubes, the cubing material, and other apparatus spent the day at KU opening a window into the Montessori world for these young soon-to-be teachers. Acting as ambassadors of Montessori, these children, as do Montessori children everywhere, provide the best reason to further explore the method. Their knowledge, skill, and enthusiasm for math (for life!) is infectious! Maybe one of those young teachers will look at their future classrooms of children in a new way, or in the future send their child to a Montessori school. You never know the seeds of interest you plant in our journey as Montessorians and how these seeds will take root.
For the past seven years, we have dreamed of the day when we could develop the back end of our property building a running path with bridges over the creek surrounded by wildlife
One of my former students, at that time 8 years old, had always wanted to build one of the bridges across the creek. He spent a lot of time designing, making models, and doing experiments around the construction of this bridge.
Due to the recent fire at our school, the subsequent rebuilding, and the change in zoning requirements, we were forced to completely resculpt the land. During the permit approval process, I told the city engineer we would be building wooden bridges. He said absolutely not citing the amount of water that rushes through the creek in a downpour. Instead, we were required by the city to construct low-water bridges made of concrete and ugly metal tubes.
Enter my former student now a ninth grader and preparing for his Eagle Scout project who made an appointment to talk with me yesterday. After reminiscing about the old days, I began the meeting by telling him about our construction projects (something I knew he would be interested in), how I wish we could have built the bridge he designed six years ago, and so on. "Funny you should mention that bridge," he said as he spread his drawings out on my desk. "I talked to the city engineer and initially he said no, but after I showed him my sketches and he realized I would be incorporating 2 steel I beams in the construction, he said yes." Dumbfounded, I looked at his drawings. Before me were details of each section of the bridge from different angles. I couldn't believe it. Later upon reflection, I could.
Of course, I don't know if he can write a paragraph with punctuation in the right place which was something he struggled with, but he can certainly design a bridge!
Those Montessori kids.
Gotta love 'em.
lleanna at Raintree on a beautiful fall day in Kansas
Look Dad "It's a tetrahedron"
(the Montessori / Buckminster Fuller fans will, especially like this one):
This morning, my daughter who had just turned 5, was playing with our magnet set, which is incredible for building structures.
She built a tetrahedron, and said "Look at my tetrahedron, daddy".
She built a cube and said "Look at my cube melt, daddy. "
(because a cube is incredibly difficult to stand by itself - it "caves in" on itself!!)
If you want to be proud of your children--
I'm not saying that is a very desirable thing--
there's nothing like having them go to a Montessori school.
When your 6-year-old daughter talks with her grandmother about bones and muscles and knows the correct terms (like fascia latta or phalanges) it's fun to see the expression on granny's face.
When your 8-year-old son visits a rock shop with you and the owner wants to impress him with the wonders of minerals so he asks him if he knows what's interesting about Iceland spar (a form of calcite) and without missing a beat your son says, "Yes, I know, it's doubly refracting," (and you don't even know what doubly refracting means,) It's fun to watch the owner's face.
When you read a news story with a dateline of Colombo, and you realize that you never until that moment knew that Colombo was a country's capital, and you ask your son (who, remember, goes to this strange non-graded Montessori school) if he knows where Colombo is the capital of, and when your son instantly says, "yes, it's the capital of Sri Lanka." it makes you realize how much better an education he is getting than you yourself got.
And when your son at 18 owns his own apartment house and decides not to go to college, and at 20 he gives up a promising computer-related job at Paine Webber to take a volunteer job with Outward Bound (and you wonder about the wisdom of letting go such a promising position) but when at 24 he is one of the most senior and respected councilors with Outward Bound on the east coast, and when at 26 he is putting himself through college (and in the process, with more rental properties owned, he has more income per year than you do) and is poised to become a graduate fellow specializing in chemical physics, you understand that his Montessori education was the only one sufficiently broad in scope to properly prepare him to exercise his God given talents. And you also come to appreciate how we have to let that "inner teacher" that Montessori talks so much about be the child's guide, for every time we would have chosen instead for him, it would have kept him from blossoming into the wonderful, warm-hearted, multi-talented individual that was always there from the beginning (and we just didn't see.)
Read up on Montessori so that you will have the courage to choose it (and be a parent compatible with it--that's important too.) Then go for it. You'll never regret it.
Montessori - A Life-Changing Event!
For most six to eleven-year-olds elementary school is a time for playing “chase” with the boys at recess, and cheerleading for the pee wee football team. For me, it was a time of personal growth. To some the thought of an eight-year-old learning life lessons is outlandish, but for me, it was completely natural.
My life-changing elementary years were sparked by the intuition of my mother. She was the co-founder of Portage Collaborative Montessori School in North Canton. After I had gone to Canton Montessori School for pre-school and kindergarten, I attended Northwood elementary like most first graders. Although my mom thought this was a good school, she believed that the Montessori method created a better learning environment for me. Since no Montessori elementary schools were close to my home, she helped to found one here in North Canton.
In third grade, I became one of the three guinea pigs in my class to attend this trial-based school. Montessori school taught me so many important lessons that I would have never learned until later in life if I had gone through traditional schooling. In Montessori School, students were independent in the classroom and were free to walk around and talk with classmates.
The teacher would hold lessons to show the students how to use the Montessori materials, but it was up to the students to get it done. In fourth grade instead of learning the process to do long division, we had Montessori materials of little beads to represent numbers. The teacher would hold a lesson for five or ten students to show how the materials were used and the students would then have to work with that material three to four times a week. The Montessori materials would give the student something visual to represent the process that was taking place, instead of just working with pencil and paper. Later, after the students mastered the materials the concept would be applied without the aid of the material.
This process of learning eliminated listening to a teacher's lecture, completing homework, and having tests. The students were expected to learn the materials without the threat of a test. This type of schooling promoted the student to be motivated to learn himself, instead of by the teacher. The classroom was filled with mixed ages of children. My class was a mix of first, second, and third graders, and one teacher and one assistant helped with any problems students may have encountered.
This idea actually worked for me. I loved school. Getting up in the morning to learn new things, figure out math formulas, and see my friends was the best part of my day. I was free from stereotypes of normal suburban public schools, and from being judged based on how involved my parents were in the PTA, or what I looked like. Instead of conforming to my environment, I became an instant leader. Everyone in the school looked up to my two other third-grade classmates and me. Looking back, I enjoyed every bit of elementary school. Not only did we set a good example for the younger students, we had a blast at the same time.
The four years that I attended that school taught me patience, motivation, leadership, and a love for learning that has never left me. I was beginning to find out what life was all about, something other students do not realize until the joy ride of high school is over. All of these skills helped me immensely when returned to public school in seventh grade. Since I was so used to standing out and having people look at me, that was what happened. I wanted to be noticed: I never wanted to be that shy new girl, and I made sure people understood me. Instead of trying to fit into my surroundings, people adapted to my personality and found a fresh new outlook in contrast to the monotony of middle school dramas.
I do remember a few times I complained to my mom about Montessori school, mostly because I was somewhat nervous about switching back to public school. I feel bad about that now. My mother took a chance and gave me a gift that other moms criticized her for giving me. She helped shape me into the person I am today instead of letting my peers shape me into what they wanted. I am forever grateful for the perspective I gained by going to this school. I not only learned to love fractions and grammar; I learned to love who I am.
Junior at Hoover High School
North Canton, Ohio
Number of Handshakes
Tom had attended Montessori classes from preschool through the sixth level. He now attended a small Catholic Junior high school in a small farming community in Northern Ohio. One of the math challenge questions from the eighth grade Math Book assigned by the teacher stated, “If there were 10 people in the room, how many handshakes could each person give and how many total handshakes would be exchanged? (If person A shook hands with person B that was counted as one exchange. You could not count it again; therefore, person B could not be counted as shaking hands with person A.)
Tom came home from school that day and asked me what the formula that we had discovered in our 9 – 12 Montessori geometry lessons as to how many lines could be drawn from one point on a Geometric figure and how many total lines could be drawn in that figured not double counting the lines. Not remembering the math formula and noting that my Geometry album that contained those lessons was at school, a 45-minute drive from home, I questioned why he needed to know that formula. Tom explained the handshake problem. I questioned how that related to the Geometry formula of points and sides. Tom proceeded to explain that the people were just the points to a ten-sided figure and that each handshake exchanged was a line drawn from them to the other person or point on the figure.
I suggested that we sit down and work through the steps of the Geometry lessons to find the total number of lines from each point and the total number of lines for the whole figure. We began with a three-sided figure, a triangle, and made a chart to record the number of lines from each point and the total number of lines in the figure. We then worked with a 4-sided figure and moved on to a 5-sided figure and so on. Finally, we noted the patterns that were developing and discovered the formula. To figure how many lines could be drawn from a single point in a figure the formula was n – 1 where n was equal to the number of sides of the figure. Therefore, for a 10-sided figure, n – 1 results in 10 – 1 or 9 lines from each side. So as not to count the lines twice this would need to be (n - 1) / 2 times the number of sides in the figure. That results in a formula of n (n – 1) / 2.
For a decagon, the formula would be 10 (10 – 1) / 2 or (10 x 9) / 2 or 90 / 2 or 45 total handshakes.
For a 20-sided figure, the formula would be 20 (20-1) / 2 simplified to (20 x 19) / 2 or 380 / 2 which equals 190 total lines.
To me, this is an example of the mathematical mind about which Dr. Montessori spoke – putting together a problem involving handshakes with a geometric lesson involving the lines from each point in a figure.
Jim and Mike's Power Pattern
Two sixth-level young men, Jim and Mike, were completing the squaring lessons in preparation for square root presentations. Mike and Jim had found the square of most of the numbers from 1 – 100 on the “Square Chart” by many of the squaring lessons - “Squaring Binomials”, “Cross Multiplication”, “From Square to Successive Square”, “From Square to Non-Successive Square”, or just multiplying a number to find its square. Today they were completing the “1-100 Square Chart” by calculating the square of any number for which they had not previously found the square.
As I worked with other students and presented lessons, I observed that Mike and Jim were having what I thought was “way too much fun working on this project”. Between lessons, I strolled to their work area and casually asked how they were doing. They replied that they were not finding the squares of the number the way I thought they should (multiplying the number by itself). “Oh”, I replied, “How were they finding the squared of the numbers?”
They proceeded to explain that they were just adding the next odd number to find the next square.
3-squared = 9, adding 7 to 9, the sum is 16 which is 4-squared
4-squared = 16, adding 9, the next odd number after 7, to 16 results in a sum of 25 or 5-squared
5-squared = 25, adding 11, the next odd number after 9, to 25 results in a sum of 36 or 6-squared
55-squared = 3,025, by adding 111 the sum is 3136 or 56-squared
56-squared = 3,136, by adding 113, the next odd number after 111, the sum is 3,249 or 57-squared
57-squared = 3,249, by adding 115, the next odd number after 113, the sum is 3,364 or 58-squared
and so on for all the examples they could show.
My undergraduate degree was in Mathematics. I did not remember any rule, proof, or lesson where I had experienced this before, but I could not find any error in their thought process. In addition, it worked for every example that we tried. Since we had worked with the History of Numbers, we had created a space in the classroom called “Math Discoverers of Today” where we listed math discoveries that the children made. At group time, Jim and Mike explained their “Power Pattern” to their classmates, and added their names and discovery to our wall of discoveries.
My only question to Jim and Mike was, “if I knew that 77-squared = 5929, what odd number do I add to get the square of 78?” They did not know, nor did I, but they explained that they could count by odd numbers up to 78. That worked!
Several years later, after Mike and Jim had graduated from Montessori and moved into traditional Junior High School, I was presenting the 9 – 12 Montessori mathematics lessons for a group of trainees in Chicago. As I was completing the squaring lesson, “From One Square to Successive Square” and calculating what had to be added to the square of 4 to get the square of 5, I observed the result was 9. Then we tried from 5-squared to 6-squared and the result was 11. That is where Mike and Jim had noted the odd number pattern. I exclaimed loudly to the class, “That’s where they got it!” Of course, the trainees looked at me a little funny. I proceeded to tell the trainees the story of Mike and Jim and their “Power Pattern”. Mike and Jim had completed activities “From Square to Successive Square”, always calculating what would have to be added to the first square to get the next. They were always odd numbers. They were always the next odd number.
From this lesson I learned and continue to share with Montessori 9 – 12 math trainees the brilliance of Maria Montessori in the Math lessons
The importance of presenting the lessons even if we don’t always see their value. With all the push for Proficiency Testing, too often unless the Montessori lesson is directly related to teaching a concept that is on “The Test” many of us tend to skip it
How the lessons promote the development of the mathematical mind – thinking figuring out, pattern-observing mind
How the lessons and use of the Montessori concrete materials put pictures and ideas in the minds of the children that even they don’t know are there
That we, as the director/ress, can continue to learn – I now know what odd number, 157, to add to 78 squared = 6,084 to get the square of 79. The side of the square is 78 so to go to the next square, one must add 78 beads down one side, 78 beads across the bottom, and then one bead in the corner to fill out the square. 78 + 78 + 1 = 157
It is so important to allow children to feel comfortable experimenting with activities (2nd period of the 3-Period Lesson) and to share what they are thinking or observing (3rd and 4th Period of the 3-Period Lesson).
Testimonial Wall - Parents
What Montessori Parents are saying about Montessori Education
Traditional Versus Montessori: From a Mom of Both
Charla, Montessori parent from Casa di Mir Montessori School, writes:
Jefferson was introduced to the Montessori System at the age of 3 (Pukka Beginnings). I saw a much different approach to education. This approach has been very successful for Jefferson. I also have a son in the Public School System, so I am able to compare and contrast these two different approaches.
What I observed from the Montessori system is that the child utilizes his personal interest to explore the world and the world of knowledge. Montessori allows the child to develop at his pace, without holding back those who excel in any given area, or leaving behind those that grasp the concepts more slowly. Montessori teaches the child to be responsible for his own work, success and actions -- teaching the children respect and appreciation for their own abilities as well as those of others (even if they are different from themselves.)
Jefferson is a high energy, enthusiastic child -- Montessori has allowed Jeff to focus his energies so he can be successful. The environment around him during school and after hours supports his success and he feels personal pride in his success.
Because I can compare the public school system (my oldest son is in 6th grade), I was astonished at the subject base Jefferson has already been exposed to and successfully gain knowledge of. This includes multiplication and division in the 2nd grade -- botany, geometry and zoology. Jefferson is exposed to many of the subjects that my 6th grader is introduced and exposed to. They often are able to converse (at slightly different levels) about many topics they learn from school.
I understand that not every educational system works for every child. Tyler is very successful in the public system (a 4.0 GPA), but Jefferson would not be successful in the public system because he is not as disciplined and personally focused as his older brother. Jefferson responds to the Montessori system because it allows him freedom, not often, found in the public school system.
Wanda -- it is you, and your staff’s love and nurturing that also made a huge difference. Because of your vast knowledge of education and the educational process and your recognition that not every child advances at the same level, responds to the same stimulus and exhibits the same level of interest -- this is what makes Casa Di Mir and its' student body successful. Jefferson and his school mates have a great opportunity to learn how to enjoy learning.
I only wish Casa di Mir would open a Middle School -- and then a High School.
Julie, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori, writes:
I have been involved with Montessori education for the past eight years. My son who is now in public junior high school attended Casa di Mir Montessori Elementary School for grades 1-6; and my daughter is now in first grade. My son truly benefited from the nurturing and self-directed environment. I have heard from several of his Jr. High teachers that he has an extremely high level of comprehension in language, math and science; his teachers have been impressed by his ability to prioritize his work and meet goals – these are life lessons my son has received from his Montessori education. Academics is of course the primary role of educators, however, there are many more important aspects of becoming a whole person. My children have developed a true sense of themselves and where they fit in the world, along with an enthusiasm for learning and appreciation and exposure to the world of art and music. Most importantly the Montessori education is instilling the values of their place in society, tolerance and acceptance – in a world and time where these abilities are critical. Because of the age separation between my children, I have a unique perspective of the values of the Montessori education. Having watched my son complete six years of Montessori education, I now look forward to experiencing my first grade daughter as she travels through the next five years and knowing she too will enter the higher level of education as a well rounded, secure student who is able to achieve her highest potential.
WHAT DOES MONTESSORI EDUCATION MEAN TO ME?
The first time I visited a Montessori Classroom I had the following experience:
I walked into a large, bright, and orderly classroom. There was a hum of activity as the children worked at tables or on the floor, completing work logs and plans for the day. The teacher picked up a flute and began to play. The children stopped their work and came together to sit in a large circle on the floor. In the middle of the circle a candle burned.
In the first 10 minutes of my visit, I was drawn in most profoundly by what I felt was the tone of the classroom, one of respect for the child. Eight years later this is still the foundation, which reaffirms my commitment to having my two children in a Montessori environment.
What else does Montessori Education mean to me? It means that my children’s individual learning styles will be respected and that there will be an effort to adapt the work to their strengths and challenges. It means that my children will have the opportunity to understand a concept fully, instead of just memorizing and regurgitating facts. It means that my children will have the ability to make choices and develop confidence in their own abilities to plan and complete their work. I believe my children will have a greater capacity for creative thinking and problem solving as it relates to interpersonal relationships because they have been in an environment in which the peacemaking process is taught and modeled.
“Given soil, water and sun, a plant does not need to be told how to grow.” I believe the Montessori classroom has provided my children with rich soil in the form of nurturing, well-trained teachers, plentiful water in the form of a well-rounded curriculum and learning materials, and abundant light in the form of spiritual teachings from a variety of faiths and cultures as well as respect for the web of life. It is a joy to watch them grow and reach their own full potential.
Karen, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori
“What Montessori Education Means to Me –
The Benefits of Montessori Education”
By Mary, a parent at Casa di Mir Montessori
I was a graduate student at Santa Clara University when I first had the chance to observe in a Montessori classroom. I had a traditional public school education, solid, interesting, but I always felt, especially in the areas of mathematics and science, a wanton lack of real, independent understanding. On the day of my observation in this Montessori school, a key turned in my mind, unlocking a knowledge I had, up to that moment, been without. There was another, more profound, way of educating the mind and spirit of a child. I saw students working with a variety of objects they could manipulate, beads, cubes, cones, word cards, letters, and so much more. They worked in groups and on their own, using a variety of materials in order to grasp the meaning or object of the lesson. The teachers were in the room, working with some of the children but the other children were working so well on their own. I appreciated the visit to this classroom much more than any of the other programs and educational philosophies, I had, up to that point, been exposed too.
Years later, when my first child was ready to enter pre-school, I placed him in a Montessori program. Here was yet another gift I was able to give my son, an opportunity to study, learn, be nurtured and grow in a child-centered, independent, concrete approach to education. He went on to first grade at Casa di Mir Montessori School, where his Montessori education has continued to nourish him. He is now in the fourth grade and I had the joy of starting my daughter in pre-school this fall.
There are many aspects of a Montessori education which I hold in great esteem, but the most significant educational philosophy within the Montessori approach is measuring educational milestones, not with grades or charts or tests, but with an evaluation of the child’s ability to move from a concrete understanding of a subject to the abstract. I continue to be amazed and delighted every time I observe a child receive a lesson on a particular subject. The teacher presents a lesson using concrete tools to convey the meaning and idea of the task. For example, a lesson in understanding compound words will have a little plastic stick of butter and a fly and the words “butter” and “fly” written on a card. The child is then able to “get their hands” on these “concepts” of butter and fly and put them together, literally, to make the new word, butterfly!
I know the value of using all one’s senses to understand the physical word around us, to touch, to see, to hear, to move the objects in such a way, that we understand them on all levels. I love the experience of a child mastering the concrete understanding of an idea or concept first and then moving into an abstract, free from concrete forms, understanding of the subject. It just makes so much sense! To me, this is one of the richest benefits of the Montessori approach, because it takes into account how human beings learn. One only need watch an infant, moving through their small world putting everything in their mouth, the instinct to touch and taste all the objects around them, to gain an appreciation of the “natural” order of acquiring knowledge. I think traditional, abstract, pencil and notebook approaches; miss this often crucial “first” step.
I have always been grateful to the graduate education program at Santa Clara University for a number of reasons, but none more significant then the introduction of Montessori Education. I know I will continue to see the benefits in my children’s lives for years to come, and as a result of this gift, in my own as well! Here’s to Montessori Education Week!
What Montessori Education Means To Me The Benefits of Montessori Education
by Nina, a parent at Casa di Mir Montessori
I am the parent of a seven year old, in her fifth year of a Montessori Education. In my view, two of the most meaningful aspects of a Montessori Education are its individualized developmental appropriateness and its global perspective.
A Montessori Education is a genuinely developmentally appropriate education. It meets my child’s particular needs, not just the needs of the hypothetical average child. My daughter was interested in numbers, counting, letters, and sounds at an early age. The Montessori Primary (i.e. pre-K through Kindergarten) Classroom has a wealth of fun, hands-on materials that develop awareness of quantity and counting, while playing. A mixed age Montessori Primary Classroom gave my daughter an opportunity to choose to observe, at age three, math presentations given to Kindergarteners, and to work with increasingly challenging materials at her own pace. When my daughter decided she wanted to learn to read, shortly after she turned three, her Montessori teacher directed her to the classroom’s fun, hands-on materials for exploring phonics and other pre-reading concepts. By age three and one half she was reading well independently. As a result of Montessori materials, trained Montessori teachers, and mixed age (2 ¾ - K and 1st-3rd grade) classrooms; my daughter, at seven, has mastered multiplication facts, is well into the study of division, is studying literature with a group of third graders, and is working at the sixth grade level in one set of language arts materials. More importantly, she loves school and she is not bored. In addition of being appropriate to a child’s intellectual development, I have found that a Montessori Education addresses the child’s personal (social, behavioral), athletic, artistic, and musical development; and thus the growth of the whole child.
A Montessori Education that is true to the curriculum and values of Maria Montessori prepares a child to take his or her place in all the communities of which we are a part: family, school, city; and not just our own country, but the whole world. Peaceful conflict resolution is a core value in Montessori Education, and an aspect of personal development in the education of the whole child. It starts with guiding three year olds to “use your words,” and progresses to teaching problem solving techniques in the elementary school that can be used at home, and will serve the child for a lifetime. Service projects connect the students to their school and to their local community. Diversity in the school community is not something merely accepted and tolerated, it is embraced as enriching our lives, our learning opportunities (and, frankly, our pot luck dinners!)
My daughter’s Montessori Classrooms have given her the opportunity to know children whose parents have come from over a dozen countries, and who practice all the world’s major faiths. The Montessori curriculum includes study of all the continents: their geography, plants, animals, and people - art, music, folklore, religion, customs, food, etc. It was Maria Montessori’s hope that children trained to peacefully resolve conflict, and well educated about all the peoples of the world, would grow to be a force for peace in the world.
What Montessori Education Means to Me The Benefits of Montessori Education -
What Montessori Education means to Me:
· Being part of a community of shared values where I know each of my child’s classmates by name.
· Caring, responsibility, integrity and honesty are integrated into the curriculum.
· Learning takes place on a continuum rather than on a time schedule.
· The uniqueness of each child is nurtured and honored.
· Cultural diversity is embraced and celebrated.
· Students are self-paced in their learning.
· Multiple learning styles and multiple kinds of intelligence are recognized and provided for.
· Respectful behavior towards peers, parents, staff and teachers is the standard to which students are held.
· Respect for the environment is taught and children learn to be keepers of the earth.
· The arts are promoted within the curriculum and experienced in the community, as well.
· Peace making/conflict resolution from the individual level to on a global scale is promoted and explored.
One can only imagine that "Peaceful Resolution in the Middle East" might be in the headlines rather than "U.S. on the Brink of War" had our president expeienced a Montessori education.
By Susan, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori
Susie, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori, writes:
Even though the kids have moved on, we miss you and Casa di Mir terribly!!!
I am so pleased with the education Trevor and Kayleigh received at Casa di Mir, the "Peace Education" especially.
Trevor has played tackle football for two seasons now and each coach (who is trying to build Trevor's aggression) has asked me, isn't there anyone Trevor doesn't like? I think back on his 6 years at Casa and thank my lucky stars we found your school!!!
I also am pleased to tell you Kayleigh is the most organized child in 6th grade, her teachers are constantly praising her and her organizational skills. I know that is because of her start at Casa.
Also, she has just been elected 6th grade class representative and Trevor and Kayleigh are on the honor roll!
I hope you are getting a lot of response from other alumni. As you can see, I feel most appreciative of our family’s time at Casa di Mir!!!
It sure is hard to find an appropriate adjective while wiping away tears.
Yeganeh, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori writes:
Casa di Mir Montessori School has offered our two sons more than just an elementary education, but an in-depth understanding that will last them a life-time. Montessori education, and specifically, Casa di Mir, offers a holistic learning experience in which the learning is theoretical as well as practical, sensitive to the learning capabilities of the students as independent learners, and sensitive to the surrounding environment with which the students interact.
Montessori’s in-depth education surpasses just memorizing and retaining information; it focuses more closely on the understanding of the material. The hands-on Montessori materials help students visualize the meaning of mathematical calculation; math becomes exciting and tangible. The weekly quizzes are not scored in the traditional way, but marked for required corrections. They are then returned to the students to be corrected. No student can bypass revision and move on to the next lesson. This way the students’ understanding of the lesson is ensured.
The students work at their own pace. If a student completes his/her work early, he/she will be given material to fulfill the next learning level’s objectives. Students with more capabilities and eagerness for learning can move on beyond their class level since instruction is nearly individual with an approximately 8:1 ratio of students/teacher. Montessori students are not pressured to achieve beyond their capabilities, but encouraged to move forward in their learning journey.
More importantly, promoting awareness for diverse communities, a pedagogy that we have not found prevalent except at Casa di Mir Montessori, has been a valuable asset to our sons especially now that they both are in public education system and realize how much they know and therefore tolerate about other cultures and ethnicities compared to their peers. In a time like today, this awareness and tolerance is strictly vital to the maintenance of peace in our society. We are forever thankful to Casa di Mir Montessori for the outstanding learning experience it provided for our sons.
What Montessori Means to Me – The Benefits of a Montessori Education
Submitted by Clare, a Montessori Parent from The Children’s House of Bucks County
I had passed the sign in front of the school many times – The Children’s House of Bucks County - A Montessori School. It sounded foreign and odd for a school. Maybe it was a regional thing because I had just moved to this area and many things were different. I thought nothing more of it.
When my son Lucas turned 4, I found myself desperately seeking a preschool for him. In whose care could I entrust my active, physical child where he could be stimulated intellectually, develop socialization skills, and have a positive school experience? I enrolled him in a highly recommended preschool that seemed – at first – to be perfect. He loved it! So far, so good! But after three weeks I found myself at pick-up time with an over-stimulated, highly agitated, cranky little boy. My “perfect” preschool was utterly chaotic!
I then arranged a tour of The Children’s House and discovered a most remarkable thing! I saw a classroom of 3, 4, and 5 year olds all working quietly, not at desks but on rugs and tables. There were no Big Bird dolls and noisy Fisher Price toys to keep them occupied but little polishing cloths and a brass apple to polish! I saw (gads!) three year olds pouring water from a pitcher into a tub for hand washing. There were children learning to cut grapes, bananas, and apples with, yes, little blunt knives! (I later found out this was “food work.”) And then, the most remarkable thing of all, they cleaned up after themselves! As the children were dismissed, they shook their teacher’s hand as they walked out the door. That did it. I immediately enrolled my son.
Lucas has been at The Children’s House for four years now. He is currently in the Montessori Academy (the name for the elementary program) in the 2nd grade. He has progressed through the Montessori curriculum and has matured into an amazing little boy. The child I feared would be frustrated academically is reading chapter books and doing multiplication. He progressed at his own pace and met challenges head-on in an understanding and nurturing environment. Since he was 4 years old he has learned the meaning of “work”- even if that “work” is cutting carrots and serving them to friends in his class. He has learned that all everything he does is important, and so is he.
What does Montessori mean to me? It is the priceless gift I have been able to give to my son of a love of learning and the ability to tackle it in his own way at his own pace.
What does Montessori mean to Lucas? A solid foundation upon which to build his future, and, after that, the world!
WHAT MONTESSORI EDUCATION MEANS TO ME
THE BENEFITS OF WHAT MONTESSORI EDUCATION
My wife and I don’t know how to express our thankfulness for having found Evergreen Montessori School in Wheaton, Maryland. When I moved my family from Philadelphia to Bethesda in March of 2002, my wife and I were interested in placing our then 32 month old daughter in a school-type setting. When I found out about Montessori education I knew it would be a perfect fit for Rebekah’s personality.
Well, this past year Rebekah has gone from an impetuous, extremely curious toddler searching for things to do, to what seems like a mature little lady who know so much. Soon she will be introduced to the decimal system and is presently sounding out three letter words. She has even grown closer to her 23 month old brother and is “reading” books to him and teaching him English since I speak to them in my native Portuguese and my wife in her native Spanish.
To think that one school had told us that it would be better to wait a year before enrolling her in a school; she wasn’t ready to be in a classroom yet. We thank God that Evergreen saw the seed of potential just waiting to be watered inside of Rebekah, and actually went ahead and is helping us nurture that seed into a wonderfully well rounded and caring individual thanks to the way Montessori education “directs” a child’s learning experience. Thank you Evergreen! We are proud to be members of this wonderful community.
What Montessori Education Means to Me – The benefits of Montessori Education
By Wendy (parent)
Greenbrier Montessori School
As a parent, sending your child out of the home can be scary. We toured several schools – traditional preschool, church led preschool and also a manor school. The same day, we had an appointment to meet the directress of Greenbrier Montessori. We were easily impressed with the neat, orderly classrooms, the quiet, peaceful setting and the kindness of the woman to whom we were handing over our precious child.
We believe in the values of the Montessori Method, employing them at home when possible. We strive for order, peace and kindness in our own home just as in the classroom setting. Our children are offered a well balanced education of science, language, mathematics, practical life, geography and physical education and are allowed to progress at their own pace. Their love for learning and enthusiasm for it is displayed nightly at dinner as they describe their day to us in great detail. Having such a wonderful foundation for the basics of education will insure the future success of our children in any environment. We couldn’t be more pleased with our choice of Montessori education.
What Montessori Education Means to Me – The benefits of Montessori Education
By Jeff (parent)
Greenbrier Montessori School
Growing up, I remember my parents saying that I was learning things faster than they ever had. I always thought it was an exaggeration until I saw my own children spelling and completing math problems at the early ages of 4 and 5 years old. I quickly learned that they truly were learning at a very rapid pace. What was amazing was the way they were learning and the foundation they were building for continued growth.
The Montessori approach allows my children to learn at their own pace and in an environment where learning is fun. Fortunately, unlike my education, my children look forward to going to school and learning new lessons. They proceed at their own pace and they never feel bored because they know something and someone else needs to “catch up.” Likewise, they never feel “left behind” when they encounter a lesson that is difficult for them to complete. In essence, Montessori education allows my children the freedom of growing at their own pace, in an environment that encourages personal freedom.
It has been a true pleasure to have my children attend Greenbrier Montessori School. I am a proud parent of two bright children who have an opportunity to grow and learn without boundaries. And I’m sure that, while I thought they were learning things fast before, I will continue to be amazed at how fast they learn things in the future.
Testimonial Wall - Educators
Montessori Education is a VISION and a WAY to share with people the love of learning, the beauty of the Earth, and the consciousness of Peace. It is a way to make a difference, one person at a time.
Like many Montessorians, I first connected when I found a preschool for my son. The incredible environment was inspiring – a perfect place for a child! Later, after reading Education and Peace, I knew I wanted to work within the Montessori community. It spoke to me and affirmed my lifelong aspirations as a teacher. Here was an approach that acknowledges the spiritual journey of the individual and how it can be enhanced daily in the classroom. Here was a community that understood my own heart’s truth. Here was a woman who had put so many profound truths before the world community and started schools that could easily adapt to may cultures. Here was a method that had not only stood the test of time, but continues to be affirmed by research years later.
I become energized and excited by the opportunity to speak with people about all the amazing aspects of Montessori Education – the carefully developed materials, thoughtfully sequenced lessons, extensive curriculum, the joyful classroom environments, the Great Lessons – all impressive! By far the best topic is Peace Ed ucation because it is so essential to the well-being of all.
I want every child to know their own beauty, to desire Peace passionately, to act with respect and kindness, to won their lives and choices, to love working toward their goals, and to understand their interconnectedness with all life on Earth. This will be achieved one by one! Montessori Education is a lifelong, life-fulfilling process.
I have been teaching for 30 years. I continue to find joy, enthusiasm, and inspiration in Montessori Education.
Be a mirror
No judgments to cloud the reflection
Let me see my own beauty reflected in your eyes
And the person I want to be-
I will become.
The thing that we must suffer,
Bourne out of our own shortcomings,
are important fodder for our evolution
Into a greater person-
Wanda, a teacher from Casa di Mir Montessori School
MOST MEMORABLE MONTESSORI EXPERIENCE
I started my teaching career as an untrained teacher, after which I went to a Montessori college for two years. When I first entered a Montessori class, it was for my teaching practice and I thought to myself “this is crazy’ how do you put two years olds with four years olds and expect them to learn the same things and progress. But the most amazing thing happened that term while I was there.
The class was new and it was the beginning of the term. The class had 23 children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 year olds, I was asked by the class teacher to present the movable alphabets. I did it twice in one week, and believe me there was a girl who was three years old and by the end of the second presentation she wrote with the movable alphabet three letter words and she was reading them, then before I knew what was happening she was doing sentences, at the end of the year, she turned four years and her parents wanted her to stay on in the pre-school, but the child was beyond pre-school so the teacher advised the parents to take her for an interview to join primary school. For the interview, they had to read the lady bird level 1 and 2 books, she came up in the top five, and to this day she is doing amazing things in her class and I believe beyond doubt that it was the Montessori foundation that made her what she is.
Honey tree Montessori School
Testimonial Wall - Students
What Montessori Students are saying about Montessori Education
In the Montessori classroom it’s not about being perfect. It’s about trying your best.
-By Ellery, age 6
In my Montessori classroom I can build the solids with plastic shapes.
-By Jamie, age 6
In my Montessori classroom I like to build with shapes.
-By Mike, age 6
A Montessori classroom lets us see the world in many different colors.
-By Emma, age 5
In my Montessori school I am free to have a flag ceremony to honor my country.
-By Jack, age 5
In my Montessori class I study about different countries. My mom showed us things from England at circle time I like the Union Jack flag.
-By Kelly, age 5
In a Montessori school I can work with my friends. We can learn from each other.
-By Elise, age 5
In my Montessori school I learn to cooperate with my friends.
-By Nicholas, age 7
I like to make friends.
-By Sameena, age 6
Meet lots of friends.
-By Ben, age 5
I like coming to school because all my friends are there and it is a peaceful place.
-By Melanie, age 6
I like our school because my teachers are nice and my friends are peaceful.
-By Lillian , age 5
I like all the different choices of materials in my Montessori school.
-By Daniel, age 7
I like my Montessori school. I am free to choose my own work.
-By Zac, age 5
In a Montessori classroom all different kinds of children work together peacefully. There are Montessori classrooms all over the world.
-By Olivia, age 6
In my Montessori classroom, I enjoy learning about different countries.
-By Ethan, age 6
In my Montessori school we have a peace garden. I like to look at all the different birds that come to visit the bird feeder. It’s so quiet and peaceful there.
-By Elena, age 6
In my Montessori classroom math is so easy when I use the golden beads.
-By Alex, age 6
Montessori means peace and learning.
-By Marisa, age 6
I help to take care of the fish.
-By Nicholas, age 5
In my Montessori school, I like teaching myself to read. The green boxes are fun.
-By Jennifer, age 6
I like reading in the library.
-By Julia, age 6
I am reading a book.
-By Tiffany, age 6
Helping Pepi, our fish.
-By Andrew, age 5
Schools attended after Casa di Mir: Sierra (7th) Old Orchard (8th)
Aspirations for High School: I applied for Archbishop Mitty, Saint Francis and Westmont High Schools. We will find out in March.
Current interests in school: All sports, Math, Science, History and Photography, just recently interested in Language Arts.
Current interests and hobbies: Playing the drums, Juggling, Backpacking, Snow boarding, Camping and Dirt bike riding!
My Montessori Education has helped me gain self confidence and respect towards others. (*Mom would like to add that Trevor is so comfortable with himself, he actually teaches other kids how to more confident!)
I like my Montessori School because the children get to give lessons and it is very fun and the teachers get to give lessons to. And this is the best school ever because the teachers are good.
-Carli age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I like to concentrate hard on the pin-pricking work so I can make cool shapes.
-Alexandria age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I like my school. My favorite work is the moveable alphabet.
-Grace age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I like my Montessori because they have art. And they have math and have geography too. I have science and it is peaceful.
-Conner age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I like number rolls. It helps me get up to high numbers. I like choosing what I like to do. These are the reasons I like Montessori.
-Maggie age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I get to help my friends. It is peaceful in Montessori.
-Lauren age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
I like my Montessori class because we can talk to our friends at work time. We help each other with hugs and love.
-Madeline age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
My class is special. My teachers are special. We give each other lessons.
-Megan age 5
-Corinth Montessori School
Attention everyone looking for a great school!
Because I have the answer to all of your questions!
Montessori education is better because – well - you my not think Montessori is better, but I can prove you wrong. As I was saying Montessori education is better because we have special materials to help us learn. (The materials are not scissors, paper, or crayons.) We also have table instead of desks so you kids can learn to make friends and not feel left out. We also share materials such as paper, pencils, crayons, and erasers. So we can learn to share. So, if you’re interested, our school is called Coleridge Taylor Montessori Elementary. If you’re interested, call….
-By Taylor, age 9
Montessori is for Everyone!
Montessori Education makes learning fun. In my class I get to choose when I do my work. I don’t have to do my work at the same time as the rest of my class. We use materials to help us learn something instead of just reading it out of a book. When I finish all my assigned work I get a free choice to work on whatever I ant out of all the lessons we’ve had. In Montessori the older kids get to teach the younger kids how to do work. I think that is good for a kid to teach the other kid instead of the teacher always teaching the kid. Every morning we sit in a close circle so everyone can hear and see our teacher. She does not have to stand in front of her room and raise her voice. In our class 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders are all in one room. This way 3rd graders can help 1st and 2nd graders and we can learn on the other kid’s mistakes. In the Montessori program we learn most by experiences instead of just talking about it. I think Montessori is a great idea and if all schools had the Montessori program, I think it would help kids learn better.
-by Maggie, age 8
I feel that I have benefited a great deal from Montessori Education. The jobs we do are fun and easy. We can also choose our work. I like it when my father, who is principal, comes to my room. He gives me hugs. The free choice materials allow me to review what I have already learned and to have fun doing it. The special areas are a lot of fun. We learn how to sing and dance. We learn how to use the computer and to speak different languages. We also read books in the library. Ms. Davis makes learning fun. She asks lots of question and helps me to really understand my work.
I like being a student at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary School!
-By Jonathan, age 7
Montessori Education gives me a classroom with many opportunities to learn important life skills. I have a sense of freedom I can control. It gives me a view of the life that I can have. It helps me develop calmness, order, concentration, coordination and good motor skills. It gives me good teachers that encourage a desire to learn. It makes learning fun and interesting and keeps me on track and also helps me develop self-discipline and a willingness to learn and how to be responsible.
I am very proud to be in a Montessori school and the education I receive.
-by Alexis, age 8
What Montessori means to me.
I like Montessori because they teach you freedom, independence and how to be a leader. In my Montessori classroom I have the freedom to choose when to do certain work. In my class I am responsible for my work plan. In my class I get to help younger students with their work.
These are the reasons I like my Montessori school.
-by Brooks, age 9
There are many reasons why I like going to a Montessori school. Montessori is a different way to learn and is very very fun. I am very lucky because I have a very nice and very pretty teacher and I have a whole lot of friends!! Montessori is different because I don’t sit at a desk all day, the teacher doe not stan d in front of me all day. I get a lot of freedom and I get o have hands on work. Montessori is fun because I get to work in groups, I get to learn outside the class, and we have a lot of choice. I have a Montessori teacher. She is different because she can spend personal time with me a lot. She is very sweet, pretty, and I have more that 2 teachers to work with. I’m glad I have friends and I’m glad they come to Montessori, also. I get work meet people from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade, and I get to “sometimes” work with my friends. The end!
-by Madison, age 8
What Montessori Means to Me - Henderson, Nevada
Montessori means to me you get to work with your friends. Montessori school is where you get to learn a lot of math and reading. Emma F.
Montessori means friends and friendship to me. Jason
What I like about Montessori is that there are no desks because I need to move around or I get stiff. Tristan
Montessori means to be really careful with materials. The other is to learn much! Sam
Montessori means fun, laughter and friends. It also means work, play, and learning. But, it always means LOVE. Dinnia
Montessori means to me that I can be with my friends and you get the best teachers. Also, you get to work on research. Max
Montessori means having fun and sitting with my friends. I like to sit on the floor, so that’s awesome! Cheyenne
Montessori means to me friendship, love, and help. Cameron
What Montessori means to be is for people to be nice. I love Montessori School! Jackson
Montessori means to me kind loving people and kind teachers learning and love. Myah
I get to work with my friends and you can work on math any time you want! You can help each other and there is no hating. Nikolas