Preschool in Northfield, CT 06778
5 Knife Shop Road
Northfield, CT 06778
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We are committed to serving the whole child, guided by the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori, dedicated to nurturing the child’s love of learning, preserving the child’s sense of wonder, encouraging independence and imagination, and fostering respect for our world’s social and cultural diversity.
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Dr. Montessori felt that the goal of the educational process should not be to fill the child with facts but rather to cultivate the childs own natural desire to learn.
Children between the ages of three and six can pick up knowledge and understanding effortlessly, spontaneously and joyfully. Dr. Montessori called the childs mind at this stage absorbent and discovered that during these years there are sensitive periods when the child shows an unusual ability to acquire particular skills compared to any other time in his life.
Classroom environments in Montessori education are prepared by scaling to a childs size and gearing to his or her inner needs, allowing the child to learn by his or her own choice and at his or her own pace. Believing that children are best able to comprehend their environment in very concrete, hands-on ways and through immediate personal contact, Dr. Montessori designed materials to lead the child toward the ability to work in abstractions in numbers, letters and ideas. These materials are meant only as a means to an end and are to be relied upon less as the child becomes increasingly more able to work with abstractions. Feeling that there is an important correlation between muscular activity and learning, Montessori incorporated movement into the use of the equipment, which includes error-control factors that the child can understand without having to be told.
The teacher serves as an enthusiastic guide in the childs progress from simple to complex, rudimentary to refined, outer to self-control. Next to learning from ones own experience, the child learns best from other children. Therefore, children are grouped in three-year age groups to give children a series of models for imitation and older children the opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping younger children. Competition has no place in Montessori education until after the child has gained confidence in his or her own abilities.
Dr. Montessoris research indicated that children have fantastic powers of concentration if properly stimulated, far exceeding that of most adults. Children would rather work than play when given a choice between toys and stimulating work. Montessori educators have a responsibility to train childrens characters to achieve self-discipline and self-direction which result from the mastery of firsthand experience and fulfillment of the inner urge to expand and grow in ones own way. This growth is achieved without jeopardizing the rights of others to have this same privilege.
While these are some of the basic Montessori principles, explanation alone cannot describe what must be seen to be understood. Dr. Montessoris insights into the inner needs and workings of children led to her respect for their initiative and ability and her expectation that they will naturally do what is right without being forced, resulting from direct observation of children in actual classroom situations. Through observation of a Montessori class in action, one can understand the secret of her success.