What is Montessori?
The Montessori Method is named for Maria Montessori, M.D., PhD, the first woman doctor in Italy, who devoted her life to the observation and study of children. Based on her scientific observations, she developed unique materials, a child-centered environment, and was one of the first persons to revolutionize educational thought by stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education and training through use of movement and senses.
Montessori's observations taught her that, unlike adults, young children must learn abstract concepts through seeing and touching concrete, physical examples and objects.
What is Another Way School?
Another Way School is literally education for life. Another Way provides a multi-dimentional Montessori based curriculum for children ages 3 through 12 years of age and is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment to aid in the self-development of the whole child.
Cross disciplinary programs, such as skiing, music, dance, equestrian skills, yoga, and living history, melded with the Montessori Method of education, allow the children to discover who they are and what their personal interests are.
The educational process at Another Way helps children develop a profound respect for themselves, others, and the environment while developing domain and creativity relevant skills.
The Another Way child is free to passionately explore a subject of interest. Master teachers foster deeper understanding in the child's area of interest by including the subject matter in academic studies such as math, writing, reading, history and science.
Learning the basics of building and balance
Using the light table
What is a "prepared environment"?
The Montessori "Prepared Environment,” one of Maria Montessori's great innovations, is designed to promote independence, spontaneity, discovery and freedom. Everything in the environment is child sized. The furnishings of the pre-primary, elementary and upper elementary are all designed to fit the needs of each of those age groups. The child's sense of aesthetic is fostered during early childhood. Order and quiet elegance in the environment promotes that same sense within the child.
Wooden furniture, tasteful carpeting, plants, good period artworks, relaxing, subtle color schemes, zen views, natural light, effective and lovely light fixtures, delightful reading nooks and private spaces all contribute to the ambiance of the classroom. Another Way's prepared environment appeals to the adult sense of aesthetic while developing the child's.
Montessori believed that children who learn together in a nurturing environment designed to meet deep developmental needs could foster world peace. Children learn peacefully and effectively working independently and cooperatively with their peers and teachers caring for themselves, their environment and one another.
The environment fosters a spontaneous unfolding of the child's potential. The child is given powerful assistance as they work to create a knowledgeable, wise and compassionate future adult. The foundation for a lifetime of creative learning is laid: a sense of order, a passion for knowledge, focused attention, self-education, initiative, follow-through, tenacity, and above all, respect for all life.
The Montessori Method is named for Maria Montessori, an Italian M.D., PhD, who developed her unique approach to childhood education in 1897. Based on her scientific observations, she presented a stage theory of child-development, developed unique hands on self-teaching/self-correcting materials, a child-centered environment, and revolutionized educational thought by stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education and training through use of movement and the senses.
Montessori teachers are trained to recognize sensitive periods in a child's development and use their observations of the children to enhance curriculum.
Lessons are presented individually with the teacher modeling correct use and care of materials. The teacher then carefully and quietly observes allowing the children to work independently.
Intervention takes place only when a teacher sees a need, e.g. to stop a disrespectful act, redirect activity, present a work, collaborate to help resolve a difficulty ... Children work independently or cooperatively depending on their interest. Mutual aid, cooperation, and collaboration are fostered as well as individual initiative and independence.
Montessori and More: What is meant by "More"?
A goal of Another Way education is to foster the ability to effectively relate to realities other than one's own, communicating with respect, gratitude and love. It is about recognizing that we truly are "all related" the spiritual philosophy of the Native Peoples of this land. "What I do to my brother and to the earth, I do to myself" as spoken by Chief Seattle.
To accomplish this goal, Another Way incorporates principles presented by a number of innovators in the education of children. A contemporary of Maria Montessori, Rudolph Steiner founded Waldorf Schools in 1919.
Montessori and Steiner have many cross overs. Like Montessori, Steiner believed that children go through distinct stages of development in the maturational process and that Nature is the foundation for all the arts, sciences and technology.
Nature as the inspiration for all the arts and sciences is a common ground. Another Way incorporates Steiner's emphasis on direct interaction with Nature as the inspiration for all academic studies. Also incorporated are his focus on art and imaginative activities as well as the importance of the emotional life of the child and developing creative expression.
Integrated into the Another Way model are the works of many of the great psychologists among them Jean Piaget, Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Laurence Kohlberg, Howard Gardner, Robert Gagne, Arnold Gessell, Newell Kephart … as well as the latest research coming out of neuropsychology.
Montessori stated at the end of her life that the greatest honor we could show her was to look away from her to where she was pointing TO THE CHILD. At Another Way, the focus is on the child's ultimate good, nurturing the mind, heart and spirit.
Awakening the child's power of mind and activating the higher centers is an internal process. The reward is intrinsic. The work is done for its own sake not for an external reward.
It is in early childhood that the seeds of greatness are nourished. And so, we study and implement that which will foster that innate greatness of mind, heart and spirit that are the child's by nature.
With this focus present in the mind and heart of every teacher every day, children learn to work together harmoniously developing physically, emotionally, cognitively and socially. It can be witnessed in Another Way classrooms everyday.
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