Obstacles to Growth and the Montessori Solution: Chapters 10-12

In this month’s blog, covering chapters 10-12 of “The Secret of Childhood”, we look at obstacles to growth for young children. What did Maria Montessori see as common obstacles to growth and how does a Montessori school go about addressing them?

Chapter 10: Obstacles to Growth

As our children grow, they gain the ability to act independently. They also gain the ability to cause trouble – or as we like to say at COMS, “exploring boundaries” (think chewed cables and broken dishes)! According to Dr. Montessori, it’s this ability to cause trouble that creates a conflict within us. On the one hand, we want to give our children the freedom to explore and grow. On the other, we’d like to keep them from wrecking our homes.

The interesting thing about this conflict is our self-preservation often operates under a mask. It is concealed under “the duty of properly educating one’s child.” Dr. Montessori’s first example of that is making a child sleep too much. This doesn’t seem like a problem at first since, of course, children need to sleep.

However, sleep can go overboard and become an obstacle to growth. “If a child is so alert and so quick to observe, they are not a ‘sleeper’ by their very nature. Imposing excess sleep deprives children of the opportunity to explore and grow. When we suppress that desire, we suppress their personality.

Even the bed itself can become a source of stress. “A child should be permitted to go to sleep when tired, to wake up when rested, and to rise when they wish.” A low bed makes it easy for the child to get in and out, and removes the danger that comes with falling out of bed.

Low beds also have the added bonus of letting the child get up and go to bed without any help or difficulty. This example illustrates how the prepared environment can apply to the home as well as the classroom.

Chapter 11: Walking

The next obstacle to growth stems from a test on our patience.

When we push young children in strollers or carry them on our backs, we are depriving them of the opportunity to practice walking long distances. Of course, the obvious difficulty is that letting our young children walk these distances requires that we move very slowly- and probably not in a straight line.

Unlike other animals, children are not born with an automatic instinct to walk. Instead they need practice, which goes far beyond their first steps. Luckily, children are eager to practice their walking. How exciting it must be to finally move around on your own!

Nonetheless, the child’s excitement to explore is kind of scary. We want to prevent them from wandering off or getting into something dangerous. As proof these fears are common, we need only look to Amazon. There are endless products to prevent too much wandering: strollers, play pens, and even leashes. Despite all these modern conveniences, there is no substitute for paying attention. 

Rather than pushing the child to the park in a stroller, it would be much better to take the time and let them walk there on their own two feet. According to Dr. Montessori, “a child between the ages of a year and a half and two can walk several miles and clamber up such difficult objects as ramps and stairs.”

My favorite example of this follows:

“I once knew at Naples a couple whose youngest child was a year and a half old. To reach the sea during the summer, they had to descend nearly a mile down a steep road that was practically impassable for wagons or carriages. The young parents wanted to have their child with them, but found it too fatiguing to carry him in their arms. The child himself solved the problem by walking and running the whole way down. Every now and then he would stop by some flowers, or sit down in the grass, or stand to look at some animals. On one occasion he stood fixed for almost 15 minutes staring at a donkey grazing in a field. Moving slowly forward in this way the child was able to descend and ascend the long and difficult road each day without becoming weary.”

Chapter 12: The Hand

In this way, children who are left free to explore can accomplish great tasks, little by little. Knowing that children learn through interaction with their natural environment, and knowing that we can learn about their process by observing how they interact, it should come as no surprise the importance that Maria Montessori placed on children’s hands. In addition to objects that the child can see and hear, they also need objects to manipulate freely.

Children take cues from the actions of those around them. More than pure imitation, they learn to use these actions for their own purposes. They are fascinated by our most mundane activities.

Between 1 1/2 and 3, they can be seen performing tasks, which make no sense to an onlooker using household objects. Dr. Montessori observed an 18 month old child carrying a pile of folded napkins, one at a time, to the opposite end of the room and back. This child performed their task slowly and carefully. By the time they were done, the napkins were, more or less, still folded and still in a relatively neat pile.

Other examples include carrying large objects, pouring liquids and repeatedly removing and replacing stoppers from bottles. If we were to assume the point of these tasks was to accomplish something, we’d be missing the point. 

We may want to step in and help, either to ease the child’s work or to save our carpet. However, these exercises are important for the child’s growth. In the Children’s House classroom we call these practical life activities.

So we’ve identified some common obstacles to growth, and their underlying cause. The solution, again, is a combination of understanding, patience and a prepared environment. Of course, nobody’s perfect, but every attempt on our part to follow the child nurtures their independence and feeds the child’s love of learning. Every step in the right direction brings us closer to where we want to be.

Chapters 7-9: Sensitive Periods

Council Oak Montessori

Chapter 7: Psychic Development

It is strange sometimes to watch an infant at play. They seem fascinated by seemingly trivial things. It is easy to write these interests off, but if we would like to understand and assist their growth, it is important to pay attention. Dr. Maria Montessori observed children for this purpose and discovered what she calls “sensitive periods.”

During sensitive periods, children are particularly responsive to certain stimuli. They absorb all of some kind of thing, be it language or the arrangement of objects, until they have acquired the skill associated with it. 

The child learns with ease and intensity all that it is currently sensitive to. Once the sensitivity is lost, the learning becomes more difficult. Any adult who has tried to learn a new language can probably attest to this.

Sensitive periods can be observed both in the child who is joyfully focused on something, and the child who throws a tantrum at seemingly small discomforts. When children encounter obstacles to their sensitivities they can react violently.

Infants, of course, are sensitive to speech. “As different sounds play chaotically about a child’s ears they are suddenly and distinctly heard as something charming and attractive.” Dr. Montessori suggests speaking in clear tender words. You may notice them focusing clearly on your lips, learning how you produce different sounds.

Another tip for assisting infants in a sensitive period helps them to understand their surroundings. Dr. Montessori suggests laying them on a slight incline so they may observe “the heavens as well as the earth.” Place them in the same spot multiple times so they may get a sense of the objects in relation to each other.

Chapter 8: Order

A very important sensitive period is that for order. As early as the first few months children become fascinated with well ordered objects. However, their reaction to disorder is easier to see.

One example that Dr. Montessori gives is that of a six-month old when a lady entered the room and placed an umbrella on the table. The child began to scream and cry. After several attempts to calm him, his mother had the insight to remove the umbrella from the room.

He immediately calmed down. The introduction of the umbrella had interrupted the pattern of memory the child had been building for the room.

Order persists as a need into older children and adults. However, it is different for the children in the sensitive period. Order allows all of us to “orient oneself within one’s environment and to dominate it in all its details.”

Infants are starting from scratch in the business of ordering themselves. They are learning up, down, left, right, far, and near for the first time. For the child, an understanding of both inner and outer order is necessary to crawl, and to grab objects among other things. With so much to learn, it makes sense that small changes in order can feel overwhelming.

Chapter 9: Intelligence

Knowledge isn’t built up by passive exposure to the world. Instead it is built up quickly, guided by inspiration that comes on swift and powerful as summer rains. That inspiration, Dr. Montessori believed, stems from the child’s reasoning power.

She gives the example of a child of four weeks old who encountered two men, his father and uncle. Both men were of nearly identical height and build. The child became frightened, he had seen them both only separately and thought them to be one person.

The men, having been acquainted with Dr. Montessori’s work, separated. Standing some distance apart, the child could observe them one at a time. Eventually he figured out that they were in fact different people.

Because the men understood the child, they were able to assist him in learning this lesson much quicker. They understood that he needed clarity in the situation. All too often however we misread these situations, distracting and hindering growth.

Unless we see the reason behind the whims of children, we risk delaying their development. Another example comes from the sensitive period that follows order. One could say that it grows out of the sensitive period for order. This sensitive period is that for small details.

The sensitive period which children reach around the age of two attracts them to details that normally escape the notice of adults. Dr. Montessori’s gives the example of a drawing that she was shown by a young child. He asked her to observe a car, but the picture was clearly of a hunting dog.

After he insisted and directed her to it, she saw the car. Behind the dog, and the man with the rifle. Behind the cottage and down a winding road was a dot that clearly represented a car.

This logically follows the period where children can identify objects in relation to each other. They are now looking for the greater challenge that these minute details pose to their observational skills.

Overall, it is easy to mistake the whims of children as trivial. However, as Dr. Montessori observed they are deeply significant. Children follow a logical pattern, passing through various sensitivities to develop the skills that we have come to take for granted.

By understanding their processes, we can assist in their growth. By misunderstanding we can unwittingly hinder it.

Chapters 4-6: The Spiritual Embryo

Chapter 4: The Newborn Child

To newborn children, all the world is strange and magnificent. They undergo the enormous task of adapting themselves to this environment. Dr. Montessori was in awe of this. She believed that newborn children must be handled gently to nurture that effort.

Children aren’t born into a natural environment, amidst trees and birds and other animals. Instead, they are born into environments that we, as a society, have created. They are brought into this world in buildings and rooms furnished for our comfort. 

At the time of writing “The Secret of Childhood,” the environments Maria Montessori saw newborns in were not well suited for their needs. Since 1936, many improvements have been made, but there is still much to learn from her observations.

Dr. Montessori felt that in the same way we care for new mothers, we should care for newborn children. We should shield newborns from harsh sounds or light. The hands that care for them should be gentle and directly trained to care for infants. Clothing should be light and loosely fitting, a newborn child’s warmth should come externally, from their caregiver’s embrace.

Although Dr. Montessori believed progress had been made, she also believed much needed to be done. “A newborn child should not simply be shielded from harm, but measures should also be taken to provide for psychic adjustment to the world about it” (p. 23).

Chapter 5: The Natural Instinct

When other mammals care for their young, they often go through great lengths to shield them from the world. They nurture their young in some protected place, such as a cave, or the hollow of a tree. Only in captivity or other dire circumstances do we see these instincts fail to appear.

Acting on its natural instincts, the mother cares for not just the safety of their newborn, but also the “development of its natural instincts.” This best takes place in a calm, secluded place. Only after the preliminary skills are developed will the mother introduce her young to the world. In the same way, Dr. Montessori asks that we give our children the peace and calm needed to develop their own natural skills.

Chapter 6: The Spiritual Embryo

Dr. Montessori believed “a child’s education should begin at birth.” As evidence of a child’s psychic development, she looks to the length of time it takes newborns to develop physically. Other animals can run, walk, communicate in a fraction of the time it takes humans to do the same. The reason humans take so long is our ability to be individualized. “Every man has his own creative spirit that makes him a work of art. But there is need of much toil and labor.”

Those movements, which take longer to master, are voluntary and not instinctual. “A child develops not simply as a member of the human species, but as a person.” Children are capable of becoming anything and that potential is present from birth.

Look at the wide eyes of a baby. They absorb everything, preparing to speak and to walk. These impulses to absorb and learn are as delicate as the child.  “Just as a physical embryo needs its mother’s womb in which to grow, so the spiritual embryo needs to be protected by an external environment that is warm with love and rich in nourishment, where everything is disposed to welcome and nothing to harm it.”

Children mold themselves by interacting with their surroundings. By taking seriously the notion that children shape themselves, our roles as caretakers shifts from the shapers of children to being their guides. Rather than pointing out where they should go, we must listen to where the child wants to go, and help them to arrive safely.

Chapters 1-3: The Era of the Child

The Era Of The Child

Chapter 1: The Era of the Child

Maria Montessori’s book The Secret of Childhood was published in 1936. She begins by talking about “the progress made in recent years in the care and education of children.” As far back as the 1890’s, new medicine and science shed light on the personalities of children. Studying children gave insight into every branch of medicine, philosophy and psychology. In comparison to other research, “the influence of the knowledge to be derived from children is much greater in that it extends to all human questions.” With this lofty inspiration, Dr. Montessori begins her work, seeking the secret of childhood.

She starts in an unsuspecting place – psychoanalysis. Despite some problems with Freud’s version of it, she believed psychoanalysis could “help us understand the contributions given by the hidden life of a child.” There’s more to our subconscious than just the scary parts. Rather than focusing on the problems, she focuses on the solutions.

Psychoanalysis finds issues present in adulthood can have their origins in infancy. Since these issues are difficult to cure in adulthood, Montessori seeks to prevent them in childhood. By starting in childhood and observing with the aim of discovering those conflicts as children experience them, we work to eliminate repressive conflicts before they fester.

The Montessori method aims to “embrace the whole of human life from the time of birth.” Dr. Montessori and all those who seek to follow her footsteps have taken up the calling “to assist the psychic life of the child.” We do this by giving children the space to work through problems with a safe and understanding adult.

Chapter 2: The Accused

We all want the best for our children. The genius of Maria Montessori comes from her organized method of education. She looked at the old methods and found mistakes. She then looked at the situation with compassion. These mistakes must come from a misunderstanding.

If it’s all just one big misunderstanding, then the correction isn’t so difficult. Dr. Montessori likens it to a dislocated shoulder. Put things back in order and the healing goes smoothly.

The issue we need to re-order is that “in their dealings with children, adults do not become egotistic, but egocentric.” We often take up the role of creator, trying to mold children to fit our ideals. Even if we do so with love, enthusiasm and sacrifice, we unconsciously suppress “the development of the child’s own personality.”

Chapter 3: Biological Interlude

The fear, of course, is that too hands off a technique will let the worst parts of a child’s personality run amok. As we will find throughout her works, Dr. Montessori looks to research the natural world for guidance. She sees everything in the world developing seemingly automatically.

The nature of animals and plants are adapted not only to their environment, but also their place within it. The coyote, deer, rabbit and hawk all live near us and occupy the same woodlands and fields. They all fit together into the whole. Like these animals, “the newly born child has latent psychic drives characteristic of its species.”

The instincts of children take longer to make themselves known. This slowness is a testament to their depth and complexity. Dr. Montessori looks at the inner plan of children with reverence. “Because of its delicate condition, like that of all incipient beings, the psychic life of a child needs to be protected and to be surrounded by an environment that could be compared with the wrapping placed by nature about the physical embryo.”

I see this often when I meet with Lila in the office, or when I’m stopping by the classrooms. We get quiet and listen to children. We try to make them comfortable. Then, once they’ve calmed down, the problems become clear. I’ve seen it in carpool when a young student is missing their mom. It happens in Lower Elementary as the children work to shape their social group. It happens in Upper Elementary and Middle School too as the older kids take their first steps towards adulthood and independence. Every time they figure it out for themselves! We just make sure they have a calm place to do it in.

Beginning A Journey: Through the Montessori Method

Beginning A Journey: Through The Montessori Method

I’m Dave Power, the current marketing manager at Council Oak, but my journey with COMS didn’t start here. Way back in 1999, I arrived at the Lower Elementary classroom for my first day at Council Oak Montessori. I remember only pieces from back then, but my eight years with COMS shaped who I am today. After graduating in 2007, I went on to attend Brother Rice High School, Loyola University and Western Illinois University. Through all the twists and turns that the entry into adulthood took me, as it takes many of us, my Montessori education has guided me.

Now that I’m back at COMS, much has changed. The location and the faces are different, there is a garden and hot lunches now. There’s a robust music program and many other opportunities for students these days. However, despite all these changes, much has stayed the same. The spirit of Maria Montessori and the ideas, which infuse every day at COMS remain the same. When I walked in for my interview, I recognized these were indeed Montessori children. There’s something in the way they speak and in the way they carry themselves. My younger brother Matt saw it too.

I couldn’t tell you what makes up that Montessori spirit. Right now, that’s not something I can articulate. It goes deeper than the materials or the uninterrupted learning. My COMS education nurtured my natural curiosity well enough that it still burns strong. I am writing this blog to share my search for the “Montessori spirit.” I invite you all to join me. I will be reading Maria Montessori’s “The Secret of Childhood.” Lila Jokanovic, our head of school, was kind enough to lend it to me from her office library. I am surrounded by a supportive and knowledgeable staff. As I continue my exploration, I will undoubtedly rely on them in both large and small ways.

In the coming months I will do my best to distill the information found in this book. Follow me on this journey and we’ll all have a deeper understanding of this innovative educational philosophy. From the Forward to the book, we learn this is about something even deeper than education. Maria Montessori saw something in children that would help us to understand ourselves and each other – the secret of childhood. The writer of this book’s preface, Mario M. Montessori (Maria Montessori’s son and close associate), writes:

“This first American translation of The Secret of Childhood is a very welcome addition indeed – for our work in all English-speaking countries, but especially in the United States. For here (in the U.S.) a number of schools use Montessori only as a teaching method. Here also many people believe this is what she meant. They disregard what she most valued: the contribution the child can give humanity. I have often thought this notion should be disputed because of the confusion it causes, but where can one find a person to speak with sufficient authority?

Here is the answer. “Let Maria Montessori speak for herself.”

How Montessori Sparks Children’s Creativity and Learning

Montessori Sparks Children’s Creativity And Learning

Every education system is designed to facilitate learning. However, Montessori stands out in its pursuit of inspiration, giving children the skills and passion necessary for deep learning. Students go beyond typical memorization to develop the strengths they will use to creatively investigate their environments throughout their lives.

The World as Background

Of course, children in Montessori schools do learn about major academic topics. Mathematics, language and history are all important to the curricula. In Montessori, these subjects goes beyond a simple repetition of information. Independent research, group activities and even classroom sessions all seek to empower students intellectually and emotionally. Fostering a curiosity for questions and a passion for seeking the answers informs every moment of Montessori education. Learned young and reinforced over time, this system of creative investigation helps Montessori students to move through life’s obstacles with confidence.

The Central Support Role

Instructors play the important role of nurturing creative investigation. In the Montessori classroom, the teacher is more than a source of information. They are observers as well, paying close attention to each child.

Through long-term development and engagement tracking, teachers know where each student’s strong and weak points are. By building long term understanding instead of the tradition form of grading or external rewards and punishment, teachers keep students on track and remain flexible to the individual needs of each child. Usually, attention is provided on an immediate, palpable level.

For example, a teacher might notice a child responding to something with stronger emotions than expected. Rather than simply taking a note or marking off participation points, the teacher takes the child aside to explore the issue. Because the classroom is set up for self-directed learning this doesn’t interrupt the other children. After learning how to work through emotions with the teacher, conflict resolution begins happening among peers.

These methods of emotional exploration prepare children to use empathy to develop creative solutions to a variety of issues. Moments like these happen every day across the Montessori schools of the world, each unique to their own context and community.

The Conducive Classroom

The physical classroom is also designed to foster creativity. Teaching spaces in Montessori help children learn through discovery, analysis and synthesis. Some of the classic early childhood education activities, such as building block exercises, form the foundations of future revelations. Montessori materials are designed to be self-correcting in the same way puzzles are. There is no judgment for doing something wrong. The child is free to explore until they get it right. You don’t get a red mark when the piece doesn’t fit. You grab another piece. Classroom materials encourage exploration, open-ended interaction, and establish a fun, informative place to take creative risks.

Creativity in Montessori is part of every subject. By default, children use their curiosity to learn about the world — this educational system recognizes, allows, and celebrates natural curiosity.

If you are naturally curious about Montessori education, Council Oak is happy to answer any questions. Please feel free to reach out for more information on this subject as it may pertain to the creative development of your young learners.

How Students Benefit From Maria Montessori’s Teachings

Council Oak Montessori

Parents have many questions when it comes to Montessori schools: What makes an educational reformer from early 20th-century Italy relevant here and now? Why have Maria Montessori’s teachings spread throughout the world and benefited so many students? To answer these questions, we need to ask a few others. Who was Maria Montessori? What were the foundations of her educational model and what benefits did these teachings provide at the time they were developed?

Who Was Maria Montessori?

Few people have had such an impact on primary and secondary childhood education as Maria Montessori. Perhaps this impact stems from the integrity of her teachings. Her work began with her own commitment to learning, she was the first woman in Italy to earn a degree as a doctor of medicine. Only after her medical career did she move on to her groundbreaking work in educational development and reform.

Maria Montessori’s enthusiasm for and commitment to learning was a foundational element of her philosophy. Her program centered around the idea that children are naturally eager to learn. By following these natural impulses, and fostering emergent academic and social skills, Montessori teachers guide children towards the same lifelong commitment to and enjoyment of learning Maria Montessori had herself.

What Are Montessori’s Main Teachings?

In keeping with her background as a medical doctor, Maria Montessori’s educational teachings centered around the psychological and physical development of children. She was able to correlate social and mental developments with the physical changes she noted during her teaching and observation.

Specifically, she charted the development of several universal human traits. These real-world observations of human development were the basis of understanding that informed her educational system. Through these observations,  Montessori classroom environments promote peace, dignity, empathy and lifelong curiosity in students.

How Does Montessori Education Benefit Students?

Montessori’s teachings benefit students in a number of ways. To begin, the system of learning they describe is based on direct observation during childhood development. This leads to the discovery of universal human traits as well as individual traits. Teachers nurture these traits to promote an understanding of peace through empathy and intellectual rigor. Students practice this peace inside and outside the classroom. In a Montessori system, they are always able to explore the diverse, multicultural world in which we live — even as research tools, cultures and environments change around them.

Academic leadership and lifelong curiosity are common characteristics of the graduates of Montessori programs. Benefits are also found outside the classroom. The practical, peace-focused teachings of Maria Montessori empower children to help others throughout their lives. The lessons look beyond individual excellence in college and careers, and towards creating a better world for everyone.

Learning Empathy in the Montessori Classroom

Council Oak Montessori

A respect for empathy lies at the heart of the Montessori classroom. It all started more than 100 years ago in Rome with Maria Montessori’s inclusive and innovative approach to education. Her principles have been developed over the history of the teaching method, but the core idea is still the same: The understanding of others’ emotions is necessary for building and maintaining relationships.

To achieve the goal of life-long respect for others, the Montessori program focuses directly on emotional comprehension and communication. In and out of the classroom, we treat these as skills to treasure and develop. In fact, many of the concepts that define the program come from empathy. “Follow the child” is one example — a core idea that calls instructors to practice emotional awareness and active discussion as part of their teaching practice.

A Collaboration Between Teachers and Students

Theory and history are important, but equally so is the method by which children go about learning empathy in a Montessori classroom. Empathy is something our teachers both embody and attempt to foster in their students, leading to a collaborative environment in which emotional understanding is held in high regard. The transformation from self-absorption to compassion, facilitated by the example of older children and teachers alike, is often noticeable by the end of the very first stages of our program.

Our teachers look forward to guiding young ones from their starting points towards the time they can blossom into individuals who truly care about others. They do this through both a systematic approach, discussed later in this article, and through their handling of classroom events. Instructors, for example, take the time to recognize emotions that flare up during a group discussion, bring these feelings into focus, and guide children towards meaningful resolutions.

A Skill To Build: Parent-Child Relationships

Of course, parents are also invited to join in the student’s journey towards compassion and understanding. The process of approaching and developing empathy at home could very well be the same many teachers use in the classroom:

  1. Emotions are named, using words such as “sad” or “angry”.
  2. The named emotion is defined using observable behavior, such as talking about a child’s crying or screaming.
  3. A solution is offered or discussed, allowing the child to participate in processing their emotion.

These steps, when repeated, foster the revelation that other people notice and are affected by the internal feelings of individuals. The process opens up the huge, interconnected world in which we live and shows by example that there are compassionate way to deal with emotions. This compassion prepares children to form and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. It also provides another avenue through which to practice critical thinking,

An early and consistent focus on empathy is one of the most important distinguishing factors of this unique learning program. It helps students form stronger friendships and perform better in groups and as compassionate individuals. This careful study of caring was embodied through Montessori’s own academic activism and teaching program. Now, it forms the basis of creating a school-home environment through which children grow intellectually, explore socially and strengthen emotionally.

Pre School vs. Montessori: The Best School for Your Toddler

Council Oak Montessori

Montessori primary education is about setting a strong foundation. It’s a hands-on application of a simple idea: What students do in the pre-school and kindergarten years will set the tone for their entire academic career and beyond. We hope your child can join other excited, motivated learners to explore this important transition in their intellectual lives.

We realize leaving the Children’s House and moving on to Elementary is a big step, both financially and as a philosophical commitment to the ideas that will define your child’s education. It’s natural to have questions. To help inform your decision, we’ve put together a brief discussion of how the Montessori Elementary level differs from Illinois’s public preschool stage.

Continuity

One of the most critical differences between Montessori Elementary and the Illinois public preschool-kindergarten phase is the faculty and class structure. In Montessori, your child has the same teacher for all three of these years. The same individual who nurtures your child’s budding intellect with basic language, mathematics and research in the early years, will guide your child’s social development and expression as they undergo self-directed investigations during their capstone experience in kindergarten.

Leadership

The Montessori program operates under the theory that children are ready to accept the responsibility, privileges and freedom of leadership roles early on in their education. Children are already looking forward to being the big kids as they leave their toddler years. The preschool-through-kindergarten approach of Elementary gives them their first opportunity to shine as leaders during their third year. Many schools in the Illinois public school system would treat this year as the beginning of the K-through-five stage, considerably delaying the chance for social leadership.

Vision

To further inform your decision, look at the overall goals of both modes of education. In Montessori, children develop enthusiasm and joy for learning — they discover that broad inquiry is their privilege and their responsibility. The Illinois public school system is developed around learning standards and benchmarks in a variety of departments, which run parallel to the rest of the state education, such as science, language arts, mathematics and physical education. Both programs focus strongly on learning fundamentals and essential information. The difference is that, while the Illinois public school system prepares your child for success in public schools, Montessori Lower Elementary prepares your child for success anywhere they go in the world.

We hope you will allow your child to continue learning at Montessori. The best part of your child’s learning adventure starts now, as they begin to recognize the challenges, appreciate the triumphs and form the intellectual connections, which will make your child an inquisitive, engaged student.