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How Does Montessori Work?

MJDS provides individualized education in multi-age settings.

Recent research validates Dr. Montessori’s idea that children develop best in mixed age groups. Working with children of different ages allows the child the opportunity to learn from and teach others. The older children are often given the responsibility of caring for the younger ones, who learn from their example. Like siblings, they learn from each other. The older children develop a deeper understanding of concepts that they pass on, and gain confidence in their abilities as they receive the admiration of the younger ones. The younger children are given the attention of an older child, and the ambition to be able to one day help those younger than themselves. These mixed age settings are therefore very helpful in emotional and social development.

Montessori teachers are trained to guide each child as he actively pursues his particular interests at his own pace.

At MJDS, we understand that your child is a unique individual. Our teachers observe each child, looking for their areas of strength, and for ways in which to use these to enhance learning in other areas. The Montessori teachers at MJDS have all undergone extensive training in the methods of Montessori education and are accredited by AMI (Association Montessori International) or MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education). Our teachers pursue further professional development in the form of workshops, courses and visits to other schools. They warmly encourage the younger children to explore their environments, the older children to conduct their own research, and children of all ages to become independent, critical thinkers.

Montessori learning materials are designed to maximize growth and understanding. 
Perhaps the most well-known aspect of Montessori education is the Montessori materials. These were developed by Dr. Montessori through experimentation and observation of the children in her care. She found that children learn best through concrete experiences, which develop into increasingly abstract ideas. Child development experts today agree that children need to be given concrete experiences, and that they learn best through a series of challenges which are increasingly complex. The Montessori classroom is unique in that it is a prepared environment; every aspect of it is designed with the goal of aiding the child to develop intellectually, emotionally and socially. Within the prepared environment, everything that can contribute to the child’s growth is within her reach, and is proportioned to her body, so that she may always meet with success.

All curriculum areas are integrated, feeding each other and working together to create a truly holistic education.

The Montessori classroom is a web of activity. Although we incorporate all of the learning required by the Ministry of Education, neither the classroom nor the day are divided by curricula. Each piece of material relates to other pieces of materials within its own area as well as in other areas. The areas in the Casa program lead to deeper studies in the Elementary; in a spiral learning pattern, each consequent exploration of the same subject matter leads to a deeper understanding and greater discovery.

Inner discipline is cultivated through respect, freedom and responsibility.

The child learns respect because she is given respect and because she is given knowledge with which to meet the world. Montessori education gives children knowledge so that they may understand the world and the living beings on it better, and grow to respect them. The teachers set the example by treating each other, the children, and the environment with the utmost respect. What follows naturally is that the chid develops first self-respect, and then respect for others, the immediate environment, and finally the rest of the universe. Freedom, in the Montessori sense of the word, is much more than licence. Freedom involves responsibility, consequence and discipline. It nourishes the mind and soul, and provides opportunities for growth and development for both the child and the adult. When a child is treated with respect and given freedom, she learns to respect freedom, and the person who allowed her to experience it.

Find out more about how Montessori was developed here.