About The Montessori Method

  • The Montessori Method

    With the Montessori Philosophy as our core construct, WMA strives to provide a space for children to grow and learn with independence and integrity. Some of the ways in which we provide an ideal learning opportunity for our children are through:

    Planes of Development:

    Montessori classrooms and curriculum materials are grouped according to the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori’s ‘Planes of Development’ which groups children according to observable developmental characteristics and needs. The first plane (ages birth to six) we call the Absorbent mind.

    The second phase of development (ages six to twelve) we call the Reasoning Mind. At this phase of development, children’s desire for engagement in social behavior expands. The child of this age asks questions involving how, when,where and what.

    The elementary child is mentally in the process of moving from concrete thinking towards abstraction. The children in these multi-age classrooms work in a non-competitive environment where helping each other, not measuring one’s self-worth in comparison to others’ abilities, is the goal. The multi-age grouping allows for children to excel in any given area of the curriculum or to take more time in an area without standing out to their peer group. This allows the child to work at his or her own stage of learning and development without judgment, thus encouraging their self-confidence and self-esteem.

    The Prepared Environment:

    The enriched learning environment prepared and constantly maintained specifically to support the development and self-education of children at a certain age span.  The prepared environment aims to include not only the physical environment with its special materials, but also the protocol and customs the children and adults observe, as well as the emotional and social climate and culture of the classroom.

    The Directress (teacher):

    The Directress (teacher) is the rigorously trained adult who endeavors to embody the values, standards, and policies of WMA; prepares the learning environment, trains and supervises assistants, leads the individual community, gives lessons, sets limits, monitors the children’s development and learning, interprets Montessori education and ensure BC curriculum is being taught and describes children’s progress to their parents. These educators are called directresses because it more accurately describes their relationship to the community of self-educating children and to distinguish their role from that of traditional teachers, whose responsibility is usually to tell the children what they are learning according to pre-determined curriculum and schedule, using traditional methods of assessment.

    The Full Cycle:

    The Full Cycle refers to the period of time- typically three years needed in order to complete the developmental and intellectual work of the lower elementary or upper elementary. It is vital to the development of the individual child and the classroom community that each child be allowed to complete the full cycle in his or her respective classroom.

    The Self-Managing Classroom:

    The Self-Managing Classroom refers to the prepared environment—physical, social, emotional, and intellectual—in which children care for their classroom and one another, organizing, managing, mediating and planning their own affairs under the careful direction of the Montessori directress.

    Montessori Homework:

    At WMA we believe that the children have worked a full day in the classroom and do not need to be doing more academic work at home. The other reason for no daily homework is that the children are in a concrete phase of their learning and are using the classroom materials to do their work. We feel that spending time with their families, helping out around the house and working on a skill or sport is a valuable way to spend afterschool time.

    The children will be asked to read at home daily to you. It has also been proven that children who are read to daily have better results in school and a love for reading.The Upper elementary class will have research projects through-out the year that they may wish to work on at home as well.

    Self-Evaluation and Accountability:

    Self-Evaluation and Accountability are hallmarks of the children’s way of working. In contrast to traditional education in which the teacher assesses and evaluates progress and informs the children and the parents of the result, our children are taught how to evaluate their own efforts and are expected to be accountable for making their best effort at any task they undertake. The directresses do provide written reports of children’s progress three times a year and we have two parent teacher conferences to discuss children’s progress.

    The children are given specific aids and tools for learning how to be responsible for their own work and learning, such as day pages for marking down what they have done, daily journals where they write down each day what they are working on, which is then discussed with the directress.

    While the directress strives to constantly observe and assess the progress of the children and keep written records for each child, this information is to help the directress and the parents support the children in their developmental work of self-evaluation and personal responsibility.

  • “And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”