Meadow Creek Montessori School utilizes the method and materials developed by the Italian educator and innovator Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Dr. Montessori often referred to a child's education as "an aid to life". She observed the universal laws of a child's development and created a philosophy and materials to help aid the child with their task of inner construction to allow them to develop to their greatest potential. To help guide a child on their journey of development she recognized the need for a prepared environment; an environment specifically designed to meet the inner needs of the child. The environment must have purpose and support the child's natural tendency to work and adapt. It will allow them to learn at their own speed according to their capabilities and without competition. It will naturally cultivate concentration, a high self-esteem, independence and a love of learning.
PRACTICAL LIFE: Practical life activities are tasks of daily living. When children come into the world, their first function is to adapt to their environment so that they can become an active member within it. The daily jobs undertaken by adults in the home environment (i.e. establishing, maintaining and embellishing the living environment; the care of others and the care of self) are fascinating to the child because they are aesthetic, logical and understandable. If the child is welcome and well received, the home environment will become a sense of endless attraction to them and the urge to independently partake in the daily activities will be strong. The activities found in this area include lessons in care of self (dressing, grooming, etc.), care of the indoor and outdoor environment (sweeping, washing, dusting, polishing etc.), and grace and courtesy (respect for others and the environment). All of the activities found in this area help to develop: concentration, independence, control and co-ordination of movement, orderly work habits and logical sequential thinking.
SENSORIAL: The main purposes of the sensorial materials are to help the child to classify and refine their sense perception. They invite the child to sort things by size, shape, colour, touch, sound, temperature and weight. They also allow the child to grade from dark to light and from small to large helping them to classify sensorial impressions in an organized, orderly and scientific manner. The activities in this area allow for individual work and for repetition and all have a built in control of error. Because of this built in control of error, the children acquire the habit of working independently, unafraid of making mistakes, becoming comfortable with the fact that errors are essential to the process of learning.
LANGUAGE: Maria Montessori recognized that language is not something that is taught by another, but that it is something created by the children themselves. The language program in a Montessori environment begins by enriching and enlarging the child's vocabulary through conversation, stories, songs, poems and classified cards. Next, the child is introduced to the phonetic sounds of our alphabet through use of sound games. Along with the sounds, the child is introduced to the accompanying symbolic representation in the form of sandpaper letters. When children can associate the sound with the symbol or letter, writing naturally occurs followed shortly by reading. The child's hand is also prepared for writing with use of the metal insets, chalkboards and paper.
MATHEMATICS: The materials found in this area are uniquely designed to make the abstract concepts of mathematics clear and concrete. Children are introduced to concepts such as the quantities of 1 to 10, the decimal system and eventually performing the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
GEOGRAPHY, BIOLOGY, BOTANY, ART AND MUSIC: These areas are presented as extensions of the language, sensorial and practical life areas. The children will learn about different cultures allowing their innate respect and admiration towards all humans to flourish. The children will also have the opportunity to listen and sing to different types of songs and music from around the world. The children will also be invited to bake and to make arts and crafts from time to time. These types of activities will spontaneously be integrated into their program at Meadow Creek Montessori.
Unfortunately, Maria Montessori died before she could protect her name, which sadly, has led to a great deal of misuse of it. Anyone can open any type of school or daycare and call it Montessori even though they might not follow the principles of her method and/or have any of her materials. This can help explain how many myths and misconceptions have come to be regarding her and her work. Association Montessori Internationale is a worldwide governing body established by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1929 to safeguard the integrity of her work. It is the only organization to which Maria Montessori gave her name and she served as president until her death in 1952. Renilde Montessori, her granddaughter, still serves as president today.
At the East Locations, "Food for Tots" will be providing nutritious, wholesome lunches, a morning snack as well as an afternoon snack. The Toddler and Casa tuitions include the snacks as well as lunches. The menus are on a four-week rotation and are always posted on the Parent Board for viewing. The children play a large part in the preparation and maintenance of these times.
At the West location, snacks will be included in the tuition.
Being a licensed school under the Day Nursery Act, we are required to offer a set sleep time for all toddlers and other older children who need it. We will provide your child with a cot but bedding will have to be supplied by the families.
Your child's progress will be communicated to the parent through a series of scheduled parent-teacher interviews throughout the year. Ongoing issues, questions or concerns can be dealt with on a daily basis if necessary by scheduling specific meetings with the teacher outside normal school hours. We will also be issuing one written report which will be given out at the end of the school year. We firmly believe that the parents and teachers must work together as a team to ensure success with your child.
Dr. Montessori strongly believed that discipline must come through freedom. When a child is denied freedom, he automatically needs more external discipline. Dr. Montessori insisted that children know what they need. If a child is actively participating in purposeful work, discipline should not be required. For example, a child who is forced to sit still for long periods of time will ultimately rebel and act out. Adults could perceive this reaction as a negative act, which requires discipline, however, being forced to sit still for long periods of time is actually hindering the child's development. Maria Montessori believed that we must allow the child to make his own choices within limits. This freedom will allow the child to have self-discipline (calm and controlled behaviour). A child's freedom within the classroom include:
The child must be free to ask for and reject help from the directress
The child must be free to choose which materials they want to use (as long as they have been shown how to use them)
The child must be free to move in their environment
The child must have the freedom to choose their companions or to be alone
Dr. Montessori also recognized that with these freedoms there must be limits as well. These limits are as follows:
They cannot misuse a material
They must use one material at a time and return it to it’s proper place when finished
They must not destroy their environment or materials
They must not interfere or disturb other children who are concentrating.
Ultimately, we want the child to follow direction by choice or self-discipline and not because of fear, punishment or threats. This will naturally occur in the prepared environment with these freedoms and limits in place.
At Meadow Creek Montessori, children focus on learning for the sake of learning and learn to collaborate with peers instead of competing with them. The children learn at their own pace and realize that making mistakes only enhances the learning process and that they can try again without inhibition, fear of embarrassment or judgment.