Dr. Maria Montessori, 1870-1952, was one of the first educational theorists to design a philosophy of education based on her close observation of children as they developed over time. She proposed the radical concept that children are not what we make them, but that they learn on their own according to their inner maturational promptings. Her theory, as it applied to intellectual and physical development, was similarly articulated by Jean Piaget. In fact, some of Piaget’s observations of young children were done in a Montessori classroom.
Montessori’s understanding of the spiritual well-being of the child was stated as thus:
“As the child’s body must draw nourishment and oxygen from its external environment, in order to accomplish a great physiological work, the work of growth, so also the spirit must take from its environment the nourishment which it needs to develop according to its own ‘laws of growth.’”
—Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, 1914
Because Montessori philosophy is so vast and covers every act and decision a teacher makes, it is best to describe the variety of aspects that operate in our classrooms on a daily basis and lay the foundation for authentic Montessori education.
Why Montessori de Santa Cruz?
“We ignite the child’s innate love of learning in a diverse and nurturing community by integrating authentic Montessori philosophy with contemporary, research-based educational methods. We empower each individual to make knowledgeable, responsible, and peaceful contributions to the global community.”
We have core beliefs as educators which have been established for nearly two decades and are reviewed annually by Federal, State, and Local audits, inspections and various licencing boards:
- MdSC maintains a commitment to the founding principles and philosophies of Montessori education.
- All children have an innate drive and ability to learn. The educational community should follow the child and meet each child’s needs.
- Each child has a preferred learning style and progresses at an individual rate. The teacher must assess the child in an ongoing way and facilitate growth by challenging the learner.
- The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning in a safe, secure, stimulating environment that promotes freedom of choice, encourages trial of new experiences and promotes learning.
- A successful educational experience requires participation of the child, parents, teachers and community.
- Parental involvement is integral to a child’s academic, social and emotional success.
- Each teacher has a commitment to growth that is exemplified by an ongoing personal development both in education theory and practice.
We have developed our curriculum to educate the mind and the heart. Peace education is weaved through the curriculum to promote respect for one’s self, community members, and our planet. We hold to the found that Montessori belief that when basic human needs are met, the mind is free to learn spontaneously. Each member of our community works with others in a peaceful, caring manner. Communication, acceptance, and encouragement are modeled by all. Students are encouraged to discover their own true gifts and push pass the obstacles they place in their mind, so everyone, including themselves, is treated with respect.
Our educational model is based on the interdependent relationship between the child, teacher, and parent within a prepared environment. Our teachers understand that each student is unique in their abilities. Learning is guided through hands-on lessons with Montessori materials. Students are allowed to explore and extend their lessons until they feel satisfied. It is through their self-motivation and desire to learn that they have a true mastery of concepts.
The teachers at Montessori de Santa Cruz are dedicated to providing the students a prepared environment that meets the needs of the students for that particular plane of development. The classrooms are neat, and the materials are ordered appropriately. The classrooms are complete with Montessori materials and child-sized furniture that fosters individual work time. The classrooms designed by the Montessori teachers are open and inviting and are complemented with displayed student art, plants, animals, and Montessori materials.