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An Introduction to Montessori Learning

Post Date:02/15/2017 9:01 AM

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With over 100 years of success in diverse cultures around the world, the Montessori Method of education will continue its legacy within the Tempe Elementary School District through the newly added Meyer Montessori, opening for the 2017-2018 school year to children ages three to five. The District plans to expand by adding a level each year, up to grade six.

Developed in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italian physician, educator, and innovator, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.

The American Montessori Society notes that the method promotes a view that children are naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

The Montessori system has been successful with children from all socioeconomic levels, representing those in regular classes as well as the gifted, children with developmental delays, and children with emotional and physical disabilities.

Another advantage of the Montessori approach is that it includes multi-age classrooms with students of varying abilities and interests, and allows each child to work at his/her own pace. Tempe Elementary’s Instructional Excellence Executive Director Bernadette Kadel has been integral in helping the District launch Meyer Montessori with this approach in mind.

“Meyer Montessori, as a public school of choice, will provide a true Montessori experience that often challenges public schools,” said Kadel. “The multi-age classrooms beginning in the primary years classroom with three- through five-year-old students, is rare in the public school setting.”

The traditional school system places students in grades, and as preschool is often separated from the general elementary grades, you will not often see these students working and growing together. The multi-age groups are a foundation to the Montessori philosophy. As the youngest are developing independence and understanding in the sensitive years, the oldest are models, who, by example, are assisting in the development of the entire community. 

Meyer Montessori aims to promote the development of social skills and emotional competency as well as meeting the needs in the intellectual realm. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a “guide,” allows the child to experience the joy of learning, while giving the time to enjoy the process. This ensures the development of self-esteem.

“It is an individualized program like no other,” said Kadel. “In Montessori methodology and philosophy, the key is to create experiences in which children create their own learning and develop a deep understanding of their gifts.”

Similar to our project-based learning that Tempe Elementary is implementing District-wide, Meyer Montessori will provide a student-centered and hands-on learning experience for children in preschool through sixth-grade. Tempe Elementary School District Superintendent Christine Busch believes in continuing the District’s mission to provide educational opportunities for all types of learners.

“Tempe Elementary became interested in providing choice in educational learning environments for students and their families beginning in 2008,” said Busch. “Through several years of committee work that involved community stakeholders, Montessori learning was one of the choices desired by parents.”

After having to close four schools seven years ago, Tempe Elementary School District is very excited to reopen Meyer School as Meyer Montessori for the 2017-2018 school year.

“Tempe Elementary community, governing board, students, staff, and parents have worked tirelessly to provide choice in educational environments for our students who have many different learning styles,” said Busch. “We believe Meyer Montessori will be a wonderful option for children who will thrive in a Montessori type of environment.”

When asked about what she was most excited for with the launch of Meyer Montessori, Kadel also agreed that it was continuing Tempe Elementary’s vision to prepare our children for the opportunities of tomorrow through our variety of school and learning choices.

“Anytime you get the opportunity to bring our community another choice in education, it is exciting,” said Kadel. “The focus is to assure that we bring a true Montessori program to our students and parents.”

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