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 About Montessori

Maria Montessori School: Pre-Kindergarten (4 year olds) to 8th grade

​Montessori is an alternative approach to learn within a multi-age setting. Students work independently and cooperatively in a prepared work environment which allows students to work at their own pace in roles as both learners and teachers. Montessori teaching material is designed to promote habits of concentration, initiative, persistence, and discovery. A specially trained Montessori teacher guides the learning environment for each student.

There are 15 classrooms with two or three different age levels in each classroom. In these multi-aged classrooms, older children serve as models for younger children; they also reinforce their own skills by demonstrating them to younger children. Students remain with the same teacher for two or three years, thus allowing the development of a strong sense of community with classmates and teacher.

1. All Pre-K parents interested in applying for the Montessori program are required to attend a mandatory Open House at Montessori prior to the application being submitted for the Lottery. If the parent does not attend one of the mandatory open houses, the application will be withdrawn from the lottery process. The Open House will be established annually during the Pre-K Montessori lottery enrollment process.

2. Pre-K students who go through Lottery and do not get into Montessori stay on the waitlist the whole school year.

3. In April or May, the parents of students on the Montessori waitlists will receive a letter from the Welcome ​Center asking them if they want their child to remain on the waitlist for the following year. Parents have to respond by the specified deadline date or the child will be dropped from the waitlist.

4. Parents who do not respond by the deadline and show interest AFTER may file an appeal in person for the student to be placed on the BOTTOM of the waitlist.

5. The parents who respond before the deadline will then be rolled over to the next year waitlist in sequential order.

​6. Acquiring sibling priority after lottery will not change waitlist position.

Introduction to Montessori Education
Montessori is a comprehensive educational approach from birth to adulthood based on the observation of children's needs in a variety of cultures all around the world.

Beginning her work almost a century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori developed this educational approach based on her understanding of children's natural learning tendencies as they unfold in "prepared environments" for multi-age groups (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and 12-14).

The Montessori environment contains specially designed, manipulative "materials for development" that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own individual choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher, children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

Today, Montessori schools are found worldwide, serving children from birth through adolescence. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 private Montessori schools and more than 200 public schools with Montessori-styled programs. The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), founded by Maria Montessori in 1929, maintains Montessori educational principles and disseminates Montessori education throughout the world.

The Prepared Environment
The prepared environment is Maria Montessori’s concept that the environment can be designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child.

The Montessori Materials
Each material in a Montessori classroom isolates one quality. In this way, the concept that the child is to discover is isolated. Materials isolate different concepts: color tablets for color, geometry materials for form, and so on.

The Process of Normalization

Maria Montessori used the terms "normal" and "normalization" to describe a unique process she observed in child development.

Common Misconceptions

1. Montessori is just for preschool children.

While the majority of Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs exist at age levels from birth to fourteen.

2. Montessori is just for special learners—the gifted or the learning-disabled.

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.

3. Montessori schools are religious.

Many private American Montessori schools do have a religious orientation because it is such a common practice in America for private schools to have religious support. But Montessori itself is not religiously oriented and finds itself quite at home in public settings where religious instruction is inappropriate.

4. Montessori is only for the rich.

​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 4,000 private schools.

5. Children in Montessori classrooms are relatively unsupervised and can "do whatever they want."

Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If the 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.

6. Montessori is a cult.

Montessori is part of the educational mainstream, as evidenced by growing numbers of graduate-level programs in Montessori education (such as those at Cleveland State University and New York University) and the increasing popularity of Montessori in the public schools.

7. Montessori classrooms are too structured.

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.

8. Montessori is against fantasy; therefore, it stifles creativity.

The fact is that the freedom of the prepared environment encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. And 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.

9. Montessori classrooms push children too far too fast.

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.

10. Montessori is out of date.

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 lifetime. Contemporary research and evaluation, however, seem to be confirming Montessori's insights.​​

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