A Sense of Community

December 05, 2016


With the holidays approaching and our Winter performance just around the corner, I have been thinking about community; what it means to be a part of a community; how it develops, and how it retains its strength.

What is Community?

Community is defined as a group of people who come together for a common purpose in a spirit of helpfulness and harmony. What are the attributes of a community? I would want mine to consist of; inclusiveness, acceptance of differences (this doesn’t mean everyone agreeing on everything), collaboration, sharing, helpfulness, intimacy, open communication, respect, and kindness. How does this operate in a Montessori school?

Montessori Classrooms & Communication

Montessori schools are intended to be close-knit people living and learning together in an atmosphere of warmth, safety, and mutual respect. These qualities are formed in our classrooms from pre-school onward at WMA. The children are to be afforded the opportunity of learning skills for everyday life in this type of environment.

We create this feeling of community by establishing an environment that is built on mutual respect. The directress / director does not place herself/himself above the children, but as their equal, learning together with the children.

Classroom environments are designed to help the child feel empowered through choices and opportunities for independent pursuits. The director/directress listens to the child’s opinions, ideas and feelings, and allows room for a discussion and a change of plans if persuaded by a good argument. As we allow students to develop a meaningful degree of independence and self-discipline, we also set a pattern for a lifetime of good work habits and a sense of responsibility.

Working with Others

Learning how to work and play together with others in a peaceful and caring community is perhaps the most critical life skill that Montessori teaches. Our students from a very young age learn about feelings and how to relate to other people. We encourage from day one that students use their words and talk out all issues to a solution or a compromise.

Students are taught kindness through, role modelling, messages from peers, and lessons on social skill development from the director or directress. We teach everyday kindness and courtesy and see them as vital practical-life skills. We give lessons on grace and courtesy, which entail how to greet each other, how to thank someone, how to excuse ourselves, how to interrupt, etc. Through these lessons and skill development students come to understand and accept that we all have responsibilities to other people. They expand on these lessons to learn about community and problem solving in their classroom meetings, which they run themselves to address problems that arise in their classrooms and interests they have and want to pursue as a class, such as a charity to fundraise for.

Community Values

Montessori students develop a clear sense of values and a social conscience because they are involved with helping others in their classrooms and in the whole school and the community service work they perform. In group lessons the directors/directresses discuss values, and talk about morality and social values, relating them to other countries or current events around the world.

Parents play a vital role in the development of community in a Montessori school. Through their presence at school as volunteers and through the wide range of social events and celebrations students get to know each other’s families and grow into an extended community. The parents support, in all that we as educators do each day, continues to uplift us and bring us back to school each day!

I feel that I experience a very special group of communities, the Montessori classroom, the school, and whole school community which includes parents.

What are your thoughts on community? Share in the comments below!

Miss Pam


Upcoming Deadlines for 2017-18 Year

Dates for 2017-18 School Year ( Preschool & Elementary) application submissions are coming up. Please see our Application Process page for more information.

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