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The ultimate goal of an education is authentic, holistic independence. At Guidepost Montessori, we offer this to your child, in the fullest possible sense. Your child will gain the knowledge, confidence, creativity, and social ability that allow him to choose his own goals, whatever they may be, and pursue them over time. These are the qualities of character and mind that add up to a fulfilling adult life.
The Montessori approach to education was developed a century ago by Maria Montessori. Montessori was an Italian doctor and educational visionary who took on the task of educating some of society’s poorest and seemingly least-able children. Drawing from emerging insights in learning theory and developmental psychology, Montessori created an educational approach that was so successful that her students greatly surpassed well-off students in traditional early education programs in every respect: self-control, manners and sociability, and academic learning. Over the last hundred years her timeless practice has been refined. Project-based learning (PBL) and social-emotional learning (SEL) are two educational trends gaining widespread recognition today, which have always been a part of the Montessori approach.
The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.Maria Montessori
Our programs feature an authentic and timely implementation of Montessori, offering a lifetime of gifts to your child. In the Montessori classroom, your child has the opportunity to explore who he is and to explore his world. He’ll be given the time and space he needs to learn how he learns best, learn to work with others, and discover and pursue his passions. Each program — children's house, elementary, middle school — is specially tuned to the developmental needs of children of that age.
An Environment Prepared to Build Competence
Children are born with an eagerness to explore the world, learning through all of their senses. The Montessori classroom offers your child the opportunity to explore, to act independently, and to follow his own interests. With mastery of each new skill, your child's confidence grows.
Montessori describes the child’s message to the adult: “Help me to do it by myself!” The Montessori classroom, carefully prepared for each age, is designed to do just that. The innovation at the foundation of the Montessori approach is the idea that learning thrives in a prepared environment that entices and inspires your child, so that his own natural curiosity drives learning and growth as he develops a powerful sense of his own internal drive to learn. When the environment is prepared in this way, a child's self-initiated actions help him develop knowledge and skills.
Each child's classroom offers a wide range of activities just at his level. Each lesson is inspiring and enticing—tailored to fit the developmental stages that every growing child experiences. Even the very youngest child is encouraged to do things for herself, to the full extent that she is able. The “practical life” activities give children the opportunity to learn and practice real, purposeful life tasks, like sweeping a floor, scrubbing a table, planting a garden, washing real dishes, or preparing food to share with others in the community.
As their skills grow, children develop persistence, and come to implicitly view themselves as capable, able to learn and overcome challenges.
Concentration and Work
One of the crucial keys to long-term success in life is the ability to concentrate. Concentration, or mental focus, allows a person to efficiently complete a short-term task, but also gives a person the ability to hold a larger goal in mind, and pursue the incremental steps necessary to achieve it. This grit, persistence, and ability to stick with something is essential to succeeding at any work — and it’s also essential to enjoying it, to experiencing the special satisfaction that only comes from something hard-earned.
Mental focus is a learned skill; it must be practiced. In the Montessori classroom, an extended, uninterrupted work period combines with freely-chosen and deeply engaging activities to gradually build a child’s ability to focus. Montessori activities are designed to take time and grow in complexity. The school day is structured so that a child is free to engage for as long as he would like, without interruption. From Children’s House on, each day includes at least one “work cycle”: an uninterrupted, three-hour work period.
Like working out a muscle, a child's ability to concentrate improves gradually over time, through work that is pursued joyously, and feels like play. This essential skill supports all learning that will follow.
The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.Maria Montessori
A Guidepost Montessori classroom is full of activities that your child will love! These enticing activities are just at your child's level, and are designed to help her joyfully build something that will last a lifetime: her own character, her own understanding — in a word, herself! Building something this special is important, so Montessori called these simple but powerful activities your child’s “work.”
A Socially-Rich, Mixed-Age Community
Our Montessori classrooms are designed for mixed ages, encompassing a full three-year age range once children leave toddlerhood and enter our Children’s House program. The wide range of abilities and personalities in a mixed-age classroom creates natural opportunities for children to learn to appreciate individual differences in people, and affords a variety of social opportunities. In the mixed-age classroom, younger children look up to, and are inspired by older children, while older children become leaders, mentors, helpers, and role models for them.
The mixed-age environment also encourages cooperation. Children in a mixed-age classroom pursue a variety of work, at a variety of levels. They work busily alongside one another, and depending on their age and the activity they’ve chosen, they may work alone, in small groups, or alongside their friends.
Because of the three-year age range in the classroom, your young child can look ahead, knowing that if another child learned to master the activity step-by-step, she too can learn! In this way, she absorbs a foundational growth mindset — a bedrock belief in her own ability to learn through effort.
Foundational Knowledge from the Very Beginning
A Guidepost Montessori classroom offers each child a rich and extensive knowledge base, shared through a carefully-sequenced curriculum designed with the flexibility to adapt to a child's pace and interests. Each student's work is fueled by her own motivation to learn — strengthened by past accomplishments, and inspired as she sees the work of older children.
In traditional childcare or daycare settings, young children have little or no opportunity to pursue reading and writing, gain fluency with numbers and geometry, explore basic scientific principles, plants and animals, or learn geography, culture, and history. The Montessori curriculum, by contrast, exposes the child to all of this, providing a rich academic content in the form of hundreds of beautiful, carefully-sequenced manipulative materials and lessons — all offered in a way that taps into the child’s own natural developmental interest and brings out each child's joy in learning.
A Budding Sense of Self
As a child follows her own interest and pursues the work that inspires her most, she develops a strong sense of self. Over time, she'll learn to manage larger projects and will take greater and greater responsibility over her own learning.
Because the adult's role in the Montessori classroom is so different from that of a traditional teacher, often the word “guide” is used to describe her. A Montessori guide spends a lot of time observing, getting to know each child so that she can suggest work that interests your child, and provide coaching with interpersonal skills, work habits, or in other areas.
The adults in the classroom work diligently in the background to encourage and facilitate purposeful activity, without drawing attention to themselves. As children learn and grow comfortable with the community ground rules, a busy, happy hum of activity develops.
Children are largely self-sufficient, choosing their work and completing activities at their own pace. The guide gives individualized lessons and personalized guidance to each child, tailored to his learning path. She meticulously tracks each child’s progress through the Montessori lessons that form the curriculum, and she observes children attentively, to determine how and when to challenge or engage each one based on his or her own developmental interests and needs. Throughout, your child has the opportunity to direct herself, to choose her work, and to request the lessons that she would like to receive next.