“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies but…the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when [children’s] intelligence itself, [their] greatest implement, is being formed.”Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori termed this time in a child’s life to be the period of the “absorbent mind” because a child effortlessly absorbs knowledge, language, and culture through the senses. This is the time when children are using their bodies, senses and their emerging problem-solving skills to learn about and make sense of their world in the ways most meaningful and effective for them. We at MEC are committed to these important years and strive to provide a program that serves the needs of the toddler by focusing on the processes of independent exploration, learning, and, most importantly, the joy of discovering the world. The prepared Toddler environment is a place where the very young child is able to act upon his/her natural energies and curiosity.
*Toddler program available at Main campus only.
Ages 3 to 6
The Primary environment provides children a strong foundation on which to build their blossoming educational career. It leads students towards a love of learning, a natural curiosity, and a desire to do and be more. When children move on from the Primary level, they will have gained a strong sense of self, decision-making ability, a measurable amount self-control, and a sense of responsibility for self, others and environment.
Ages 6 to 9
“The elementary child has reached a new level of development. Before he was interested in things: working with his hands, learning their names. Now, he is interested mainly in how and why…the problem of cause and effect.”Maria Montessori
Children at the Elementary I level are starting to realize that the world is an enormous, interesting place. They are primed to study continents, cultures, science concepts, math, language, and great literature. Cultural studies are the heart of the Montessori curriculum. At this stage of development, the Elementary I child’s curiosity leads them to asking the big questions about life. The cultural studies are not taught as isolated disciplines but are part of a bigger picture guiding students to understand the wholeness of life. “Great Lessons” are the cornerstone of the Elementary I curriculum; these lessons provide the child with a vision of the world and her/his place within it. Great Lessons span the universe from its origin to the arrival of humans.
The lessons are presented with great care and preparation and with a sense of awe. The stories are meant to spark the children’s imaginations and sense of wonder. They also suggest a level of gratitude and sentiment for the wondrous way that nature works. Teachers use impressionistic charts, timelines, experiments and dramatic representations to give students a greater understanding and depth of meaning to the great order of the universe. Moral lessons are naturally manifest through the study of man. These lessons help students gain a greater appreciation and respect for life, a heightened degree of human empathy, recognition of and reverence for the contribution of individuals, and a fundamental belief in worthy progress and the universality of the human condition.
From this grand view, careful steps are taken during the elementary years to deepen an understanding of life and helping children define their role in creating their own existence. The classroom becomes their portal to the universe. The Elementary I environment is prepared to provide children with the material, information, and opportunities to discover the interconnectedness of the universe.
Ages 9 to 12
The Elementary II environment is carefully and thoughtfully designed to provide a well balanced and rich learning experience where students can explore their consciousness and abilities. A nine to twelve year old begins to truly realize that learning is a rewarding means to a full and prolific life. They demonstrate a sense of collaboration, social consciousness, values and morals.
Students in the Elementary II environment persist to perfect and extend the skills already initiated. Daily interdisciplinary lessons integrate social science, physical sciences, geography, language arts, mathematics, geometry, fine arts, community service, physical education, and Grace and Courtesy. The Montessori work is designed to enhance conceptual thinking. Children’s reasoning ability is profound, and they enjoy turning concrete experiences into abstract thoughts, worlds, and mathematical or scientific formulas. All of the tools necessary to bring about knowledge-based-on-experience are provided. The students’ greater abilities to be independent and take initiative are supported by the expansive nature of the curriculum. More independent projects are pursued based on common topics studied. The nine to twelve year old is ready to take overnight field trips that allow for more independence, responsibility and expanded learning opportunities. Trips are closely tied to the subjects being studied in the classroom.
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony, and the beauty in nature….”Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori would agree with the movement to get kids outdoors consider she placed such a great emphasis on having children experience nature and nature education. Dr. Montessori felt that the Outdoor Environment should be an extension of the classroom. The Outdoor Environment teacher extends classroom lessons and student interests to the outdoors. Respect for each other is enhanced by group activities that require care for materials, cooperation with peers, and completion of tasks.
A garden raised by children naturally inspires discovery, learning, and adventure. The process of caring for plants allows children to practice being responsible for and nurturing to other living things. It helps them lay the groundwork for an ethic of environmental stewardship.
Learning Experience through After-School Programs (L.E.A.P.)
The mission of L.E.A.P. is to create a meaningful environment enriched with enjoyable, purposeful activities through focus and direction. Our goal is for the atmosphere after school to be calm, fun, comfortable, and safe; children may feel “at home” before they go home.
Summer at Montessori Education Centre brings with it what childhood memories should contain, a time of wonder and exploration. Summer triggers a sense of freedom for children, a chance to play and learn in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
*Montessori Summer program available at Main campus only.