I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori method.
— Dr. Maria Montessori
The advantage of the Montessori method is that it harnesses the child’s natural inclinations towards learning and self-improvement. In order to accomplish this, it seeks to provide the child with freedom — a freedom acquired through well-ordered action.
Taking this approach liberates the child’s physcial, and intellectual energies, but in the construct of an ordered environment. Children learn by doing and are lovers of purposeful work, spontaneously chosen and carried out with profound joy.
Montessori education attends to the total development of the child – social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual.
Renasissance Montessori School firmly believes that a necessary aspect of man’s freedom lies in his recognition of the Truth. As a part of this conviction, we believe that Catholic instruction and practical exercises are integral to true success in the implementation of the Montessori method.
The child’s spiritual development is nurtured and respected in a rare way in the Montessori environment.
Central to the mission of Renaissance Montessori School is the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a unique approach to the religious formation of children. Begun by biblical scholar Sofia Cavalletti in 1954, it is grounded in prayer, scripture, liturgy, and the Montessori method.
Dr. Maria Montessori herself added a room for religious work to her schools in 1922 that she called an atrium. The word atrium comes from the early church, as it was in the entryway (the atrium) of the ancient Basilica where people prepared for baptism.
Similar to the Montessori classroom, the atrium is a place for child-centered exploration. In the Catechesis, we follow the child into the depths of his or her relationship with God. God has already formed a relationship with the child; the atrium helps foster that relationship. A trained catechist prepares the environment for the children and offers presentations on scripture, biblical geography and history, liturgy, and prayer.
The children also witness the adult staff members living their faith in a natural and joyous manner. Meeting the spiritual needs as well as the intellectual needs of the young child in a specially prepared place is an integral part of the learning environment at Renaissance.
THE MONTESSORI APPROACH OFFERS A BROAD VISION OF EDUCATION AS AN AID TO LIFE.
It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child’s inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.
MONTESSORI DEVELOPMENT PLANES
The transformation of children from birth to adulthood occurs through a series of developmental planes. Montessori practice changes in scope and manner to embrace the child’s changing characteristics and interests.
- The first plane of development occurs from birth to age six. At this stage, children are sensorial explorers, constructing their intellects by absorbing every aspect of their environment, their language and their culture.
- From age 6 to 12, children become conceptual explorers. They develop their powers of abstraction and imagination, and apply their knowledge to discover and expand their worlds further.
- The years between 12 and 18 see the children become humanistic explorers, seeking to understand their place in society and their opportunity to contribute to it.
- From 18 to 24, as young adults, they become specialized explorers, seeking a niche from which to contribute to universal dialogue.