Igniting Curiosity while Achieving Academic Excellence
We believe that asking big questions, following a child’s curiosity, and teaching strong academic skills is the key to nourishing a child’s innate desire to learn. The big difference between the Montessori method and other progressive methods is that in Montessori, there is objective, well-thought out curricular content with clear learning outcomes. Montessori strikes the perfect balance between empowering students to independently follow their passions and interests, while also maintaining high standards for the mastery of essential content and skills.
While academic standards are high, Mission Montessori’s approach is holistic, with strategies designed to reach every learner. In a Montessori classroom, the role of a teacher is primarily as a guide: to observe students closely and introduce appropriate material when they’re ready. This results in an individualized academic experience that is significantly more customized than in a traditional school. Individual or small group lessons, targeted at each child’s level of ability, are designed to be challenging but attainable, which makes for a joyful and productive learning experience.
Teacher observation is essential in Montessori. The teacher observes when a child is ready to be introduced to a new challenge that stretches them. The pacing of lessons are designed to match each child’s ability, so children are not bored and disengaged because school is too easy, or frustrated and disheartened at being left behind because school is too hard. We actively teach and encourage a growth mindset in children in their approach to their work. We strongly believe that every child can master math and language in the Montessori setting and that, when lessons are paced appropriately, they can grow up feeling efficacious in their ability to learn. We aim for all of our students to be at or above grade level for both language and math.
A Montessori classroom is a happy, bustling, collaborative, and social place. Students move freely, communicating with one another as they work together, or focus quietly by themselves.
Montessori recognizes that children are in the prime of their social development in the elementary years. The classroom environment is designed for students to learn social skills: resolving conflicts peacefully, through discussion, verbalizing their thoughts and feelings, and coming up with mutually agreeable solutions. Students learn to be leaders and they learn to be team players.
The mixed-age, individualized learning approach of Montessori allows children to view one another’s differences in a positive light. They grow up understanding that children learn things at different times and in different ways. While teachers regularly assess their students' learning, students are not ranked, and there are no letter grades to compare. Students learn to respect and understand one another and their differences.
healthy body, healthy mind
The Montessori prepared environment is set up so that children are free to move around the classroom at
will - working with a friend on the floor, collecting a new activity, preparing their own snack, finding an older child to ask for some help, going to the bathroom - rather than sitting for long periods at one desk. In fact, the very nature of the Montessori materials encourage children to move. Dr Montessori observed that purposeful movement enhances learning; her observation has been confirmed in recent studies.
We believe that children should also have lots of unstructured time to play in the fresh air, helping their bodies grow up strong and healthy, and helping them practice the social skills required to play cooperatively with others. Healthy minds and bodies are also supported through occasional cooking projects that extend from the children’s work in the classroom. Cooking teaches children not only about good nutrition, but it also provides a rich "hidden curriculum", from language (reading and writing recipes), to math (measuring quantities, doubling or halving recipes), to teamwork.