While the majority of Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs exist for children ages 18 months to 18 years. Currently our school houses students from 18 months through 12 years old.
The methods used in Montessori schools are highly effective with both learning-disabled and gifted learners; the reason for their effectiveness, however, is that the learning environments have been designed to ensure success for all children.
Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If a child is being destructive or is using materials in an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material. In the elementary classroom, teachers keep a daily log of each student's progress and are able to redirect activities very easily in order to meet curriculum requirements.
Although the teacher is careful to make clear the specific purpose of each material and to present activities in a clear, step-by-step order, the child is free to choose from a vast array of activities and to discover new possibilities.
The Montessori Radmoor School is not affiliated with any religious organization. Although many private American Montessori schools do have a religious orientation, Montessori itself is not religiously oriented and finds itself quite at home in public settings where religious instruction is inappropriate.
This misconception is due to the fact that the American Montessori movement that began in the 1950s was primarily a private preschool movement, supported by tuition. Now, however, Montessori education is available at approximately 200 public schools in the U.S., in addition to about 3,000 private schools.
The fact is that the freedom of the prepared environment encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. While teacher-directed fantasy is discouraged, fantasy play initiated by the child is viewed as healthy and purposeful. In addition, art and music activities are integral parts of the Montessori classroom.
Central to the Montessori philosophy is the idea of allowing each child to develop at his or her own, individual pace. The "miracle" stories of Montessori children far ahead of traditional expectations for their age level reflect not artificial acceleration but the possibilities open when children are allowed to learn at their own pace in a scientifically prepared environment.
While appropriate changes have been made to the original Montessori curriculum (including the introduction of computers and modifications to the Practical Life exercises to keep them culturally relevant), the basic pedagogy has not changed much since Dr. Montessori's death in 1952. Contemporary research and evaluation, however, are confirming Montessori's insights, especially in areas of brain development.
If you need before and after care, a $25.00 per session deposit is required as the same time you pay the $200.00 deposit. The returning parents are given priority. Any additional slots will be available to new parents entering the school. Deposits are not refundable unless the school does not have space in our before and after care programs.
In the primary community (3-6 year olds), the children do need to be able to go to the bathroom independently. In the toddler community your child is not expected to be toilet trained.
The Montessori classroom is carefully prepared with a variety of materials and activities to satisfy the youngest three-year-old to the most advanced six-year-old. A child in a Montessori environment may choose his own work, however he first must be given a lesson on it. A teacher or another child may give the lesson. The child may work on the material as long as he likes. The Montessori teacher is trained in observation. The teacher keeps careful records of what lessons have been given, observes the child and his choice of activities, and checks each child’s knowledge in one area before moving on to the next lesson. The teacher will offer an alternative to a child who has chosen something beyond his ability.
There are few discipline problems in a Montessori classroom. At Montessori Radmoor School, we have two solutions. First, most discipline problems occur because the child has not found work that is sufficiently interesting to hold his attention. Therefore the child would be shown a new activity or redirected to an appropriate choice. Occasionally, new activities are designed specifically to meet a particular child’s needs. Second, a child may be asked to remove himself from the group to a space, within the classroom, designated as the “quite spot” to take a few minutes to “quiet his body.” We show the children how to calm themselves down and regain control during circle time at the beginning of each year and individual children may have repeated lessons. The child may return when he or she feels “quieted.” Occasionally a child removes himself to regain control. If a child disturbs another child, physically or verbally, she is told, “I will not let anyone do that to you so I cannot let you do it to somebody else.” The classroom discipline is based on mutual respect.