“Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core. We do not want complacent pupils, but eager ones. We seek to sow life in the child rather than theories, to help him in his growth, mental and emotional as well as physical and for that we must offer grand and lofty ideas to the human mind.” To Educate the Human Potential
The Montessori Method offers an enriched curriculum which incorporates and extends district, state and national standards. Scientific and mathematical attitudes, appreciation for history and timelines, literacy across disciplines, research and development of community flourish in the Montessori classroom. Students are actively involved in their education, learning the habits and skills necessary for self-directed, independent, life-long learning. The Montessori philosophy, initially developed for underprivileged children, specifically addresses the diversity in our community by providing a child-centered, individualized approach to teaching and learning. The educational tenets of the Montessori philosophy that support ECMCS’ mission and distinguish this school are:
Individualized, Differentiated Learning is at the heart of the Montessori approach. Montessori teachers individualize instruction so each child works at a level and pace which is comfortable and challenging. Learning occurs in large groups, small groups, individually, and cooperative peer learning situations.
Mixed-age Classes Students are grouped into mixed-age classes that span three years in the elementary program and two in the middle school program. The multi-age grouping provides wide ranging academic and social growth. Younger children benefit from positive learning and behavior models provided by the older children. Leadership and social responsibility are developed by the older students. Staying with the same teacher for three years has a positive effect on students' attitudes and performance.
Prepared Environment The Montessori prepared environment facilitates learning experiences by capitalizing on curiosity, order and carefully designed hands-on materials. The Montessori didactic materials begin with concrete explorations that lead to abstract conceptual understanding. In the elementary years children are surrounded by plants, animals and thousands of specifically crafted materials. The children progress then toward the middle school years where the environments transform into a living lab filled with informational technology, reference materials and supplies to explore the scientific laws of the universe and conduct independent research.
Parent Involvement ECMCS considers all caregivers as vital partners in the education of their children. Teachers and parents work together to help students attain achievement goals through active participation at all levels of school functioning.
Teachers’ Role ECMCS teachers facilitate learning by carefully observing each child’s behavior and development. They are then guided with changes in the environment, invitations for inquiry and direct instruction. Teachers work to create and sustain a classroom and school culture where demonstrations of respect, initiative, risk-taking and persistence in learning are the norm. In the younger grades, teachers work with individuals or small groups of children. In the middle school, teachers will provide more whole class instruction, but will challenge and extend the self-directed habits of the elementary years as students begin to direct the development of individual projects and presentations
Character Education Personal and social education is integrated into ECMCS’ learning program. Classroom life emphasizes the Montessori values of grace, courtesy, respect and responsibility. Teachers model these values and expect them from student’s families throughout the school.
Community Connection Students at ECMCS first come to understand the world and their part in it by discovering community within the classroom, then by contributing to the community at large through annual year-long peace projects. Community service learning begins at first grade and continues through the middle school years. When focused on on the community, students gain appreciation for diversity while understanding community needs, global needs and personal needs.
Normalization At the beginning of the year you will hear teachers referring to the normalization period. In Montessori education, the term "normalization" has a specialized meaning. "Normal" does not refer to what is considered to be "typical" or "average" or even "usual." "Normalization" does not refer to a process of being forced to conform. Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment suited to their needs, they blossom. After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process "normalization" and cited it as "the most important single result of our whole work" (The Absorbent Mind, 1949). This process takes the first four to six weeks of school.