Dr. Maria Montessori
Many Rivers Montessori follows the pedagogy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907. Montessori pedagogy gives children the freedom to explore and develop to their fullest potential while working with didactic materials, in groups and independently, within a prepared environment. The concept of respect—for self, others and the environment—guides the Montessori method. Every room in a Montessori school is prepared to meet the developmental needs of the age group served within the environment.
Furniture and materials are designed for the child’s appropriate physical and psychological needs. A prepared environment includes a full range of Montessori materials, a trained Montessori lead teacher (guide), and an assistant teacher. Montessori designed her materials specifically to assist in the child's growth in the areas of practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language arts, music, art, science, history and geography. While working with the material, each child learns to concentrate, develop self-confidence, respect themselves and others, understand order, and establish a love of learning.
Many Rivers Montessori believes that each individual child, and not the Montessori guide, is at the center of his or her own learning process. The guide's role in the classroom is to observe all the children in the community. These observations, objectively done with careful note-taking, allow the guide to know and defend each child as he or she goes through the different stages of development.
Montessori philosophy says that every human being possess the following needs and tendencies:
The need to communicate and use language
The need to organize and classify
The need for independence and activity
the drive for purposeful and constructive work
The need for social relationships
The guide helps each child to make choices for purposeful and meaningful work, helping the children reach their fullest potential by leading them to work that meets their developmental needs and current interests. This often happens through spontaneous individual and group lessons in the environment. Three-hour periods of uninterrupted work daily provide children with time to dive into big work and concentrate on what they need to complete a task.
Multi-aged communities serve our younger children as the older children act as role models and mentors. This setup creates a strong sense of belonging, community and interdependence. It also reinforces what the older children have previously learned.
The trained guide, prepared environment, Montessori materials, and the children together create an AMI Montessori community. The result is a child growing in a strong self-image, a sense of self-esteem, and a feeling of belonging. Finding his or her needs met in this way, the child cultivates the traits of respect, learning and exploration that will last a lifetime.