We're kicking off another series at Lullaby U with West Side Montessori! Montessori Parenting Classes will be each Saturday in March at 10am. The classes are specifically geared toward parents of toddlers. Cost is $15 per family. You can find the class descriptions and pre-registration info here.
(Note: I've attended these in the past personally, and they are not to be missed. Ms. Sarah provides you with practical tips and tools to encourage toddler independence and tame the tantrums!)
If you're curious about the Montessori Method, here's a quick Q & A with Lynn Fisher, Head of School at West Side Montessori.
Who was Maria Montessori and why is she important?
Maria Montessori was the first female physician in Italy. She overcame numerous obstacles to become a medical doctor and was allowed to practice in a facility where so called "defective" children were warehoused as was customary at the turn of the 20th century. Some of the children had physical differences and others had learning challenges. Today we would say they had special needs. Her observations of their development and curiosity led her into the field of education where her research and teaching experiments with these poor neglected children led to astonishing results and public recognition.
In 1907 a group of enterprising businessmen offered Dr. Montessori the opportunity to open a school for poor children who roamed the streets of Rome to see what she could do with so called "normal" children. By then she was championing women's and children's rights and building a widespread reputation. Within 2 years of starting a "Children's House" in Rome, dignitaries from around the world were visiting to see her remarkable little pre-school.
What makes a Montessori school different from all others?
Dr. Montessori believed that all children are born with an insatiable desire to learn. From birth they reach out to discover their world. If they are encouraged to explore and engage, their curiosity also grows. Dr. Montessori created a learning environment that evolved with the child's interests and skills. She did not have a fixed idea about what a child could or could not do at a certain age. Consequently, she observed the children's interests and devised materials the children could choose to develop reading and mathematics skills in addition to many self-help skills that allowed them to become increasingly independent. This concept was radical for her time.
Montessori schools are distinguished by self-motivated, independent children who increasingly take responsibility for their own learning. Specially trained teachers present the open-ended curriculum developed by Dr. Montessori. The children are focused on "their work" in a peaceful democratic community. The peace curriculum developed by Dr. Montessori for elementary children contributed to her nomination for a Nobel Peace prize.
Many schools use the word "Montessori" loosely to describe their alignment with some of Dr. Montessori's philosophy. However, a true Montessori school is distinguished by Montessori certified teachers who implement the Montessori philosophy, methodology and curriculum with Montessori learning materials. A Montessori school such as West Side Montessori that is accredited by The American Montessori Society meets those standards.
What distinguishes Montessori graduates?
Montessori graduates are creative, eager to try new things, have highly developed organization skills, are collaborative, confident speaking in front of groups, seek leadership roles and have a strong sense of self. They are value centered. West Side Montessori graduates exhibit strong academic skills and challenge themselves to excel. Most enroll in honors and advanced placement courses in public, parochial, and private high schools. Many report that their college experience is the closest thing that mirrors their Montessori education.
Do you have any questions about these classes or the Montessori Method? Share in the comments below and we'll be sure to respond!