Children taught the Montessori way become students who are confident, responsible, independent, enthusiastic, and respectful.
The Montessori method of education was developed more than 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori believed that children learn best when they are free to initiate their own educational discoveries through exploration and participation in hands-on activities. She also valued the development of the whole child and fostered her students’ growth not just cognitively, but also physically, socially, and emotionally. Today, there are more than 3,000 independent and 130 public school systems using the Montessori method.
As a Montessori school, you will notice that there are certain characteristics that distinguish Martin Luther King Montessori School from other traditional preschools.
- MLK Montessori's classroom are truly unique physical spaces. They are peaceful, warm, inviting, and meticulously arranged to foster student choice, independence, and freedom within limits. Montessori learning materials are available for use on open, accessible shelves. These materials are beautifully crafted and ingeniously designed to allow children to work independently with very little introduction or help. Also, while most classrooms feature rows of desks, at MLK Montessori, students work at tables or on the floor with spaces for both group activity and independent learning.
- MLK Montessori teachers are guides. They are rarely the center of attention and almost never present information for rote learning. Rather, after carefully observing and interacting with the students, MLK Montessori teachers identify each student’s interests, learning style, and developmental needs. They then direct students toward new materials and challenges that are engaging and appropriately challenging, helping them to advance through the curriculum at an individualized pace.
- Learning is hands-on and student-driven. Working within the structure of the classroom, students are given uninterrupted blocks of work time to move freely and choose activities that pique their interests. Allowing students to make choices creates active learners and encourages students to discover answers for themselves. During this learning, students may work directly with the teacher, individually, or in small groups. Learning materials are open-ended and encourage exploration, often engaging multiple senses.
- Each child is valued as a unique individual. MLK Montessori teachers understand that children learn in different ways, and the Montessori method is ideal for accommodating all learning styles. Moreover, students are free to learn at their own pace, advancing through the curriculum only when they are ready and have truly mastered a skill or concept.
- MLK Montessori features multi-age classrooms. 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children can be found in each of MLK Montessori’s five classrooms. These multiage grouping are a hallmark of the Montessori approach to education and have been shown to foster peer learning. In multiage classrooms, the older students enjoy their roles as mentors, guiding younger students through activities and topics that they – the older students – have already learned. As they work with the younger students, these older students are able to review and truly master the concepts they are teaching. Meanwhile, the younger students benefit from having role models to emulate and admire. Younger students are also able to preview the more challenging activities that they, too, will eventually be able to tackle.
- Montessori education builds character. At MLK Montessori, the teachers very deliberately model values such as empathy, compassion, and acceptance of individual differences. Through their example, students learn to act courteously and kindly and are given the tools they need to regulate their own social interactions. Teachers also routinely bring students together in collaborative activities to foster teamwork, responsibility, self-discipline, and respect.
Perhaps the best part of a Montessori education, though, is the results. Children who attend MLK Montessori become students who are confident, responsible, independent, enthusiastic, and respectful.