The basic idea of the Montessori philosophy, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is that a child learns best within a social environment which supports each individual’s unique development. Montessori education is unique in its “whole child” approach. The primary goal is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation.
The materials and the activities in this environment are self-correcting and are designed to stimulate independent exploration on a level that the child can understand. The children can proceed at their own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process, the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world around him. Montessori develops a love of learning. Children leave Montessori with strong fundamental academic skills, and statistics show that Montessori children continue to excel through their academic years.
The Montessori child is an ‘independent learner’. The teacher prepares the environment, programs the activities, functions as the reference person and exemplar, offers the child stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through the work itself to persist in the chosen task.
The Montessori Classroom:
The classroom is organized into curriculum areas; Practical Life, Sensorial Language, Mathematics, and Culture. The prepared environment supports and strengthens the child’s sense of independence and desire for knowledge. Educational materials are displayed on low shelves which are easily accessible and “eye-catching” to children. The materials are also arranged in a sequence from most simple to most complex so that the children can pick the materials that best meet their needs.
The activities in Practical Life serve as a bridge between home and school for young children. The work the child begins in Practical Life enhances sensorimotor coordination, teaches the child organizational skills, and serves as the foundation for work they will perform in other areas in the Montessori environment.
The Sensorial area expands the skills which were initiated through the Practical Life exercises. Sensorial activities enhance the child’s perceptual abilities, tactile, visual and auditory discrimination, and the ability to compare and classify all powers necessary for written language. Muscular control is further refined in preparation for writing movements and holding a pencil. The child’s practice with the sensorial materials serves as a preparation for more abstract work in language and mathematics.
Languages (English and Armenian)
The development of the spoken language is encouraged through freedom of conversation. The freedom of conversation, of self-expression and communication, child to child in the Montessori class, helps development of language. The children engage in activities which help them to read phonetically. An appreciation for language is also encouraged through reading and writing stories.
Mathematics begins with an awareness of spatial, temporal, and numerical patterns and relationships that exist in the natural world. An integration of practical and abstract work in arithmetic, problem-solving and algebra provides a solid foundation from which children can advance to more complex work in mathematics.
Science as an exacting field on knowledge is presented through an integration of classroom study, research, and experimentation, encouraging the student’s desire for discovery. The science curriculum covers selected aspects of physical, earth, and biological sciences and provides supplementary laboratory experiences.
The Social Studies program explores the geographic, social and economic aspects of the world. The children gain new insights into their communities and connections to the larger world. Literature, biographies, and lessons about real families introduce young learners to people and events in other times and places.
In keeping with the mission of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception to preserve and perpetuate the Armenian identity, students are immersed in Armenian conversation, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, penmanship, and singing. They explore Armenian history, poetry, and literature and participate in the celebration of cultural events.