Montessori Educational Program
The Montessori Method was founded in 1907, with the opening of Maria Montessori’s first school in Rome, Italy. Since then, her principles have helped to educate millions of children worldwide. The method has changed very little since then and today, we see our students working with the same materials as the little ones from Rome did over 100 years ago.
The Montessori approach to educating children is a proven method; not only can we teach advanced and abstract concepts to very young children, but we are able to accomplish this in a manner that respects each individual child and his/her unique path to learning. A Montessori teacher is a skilled observer; he/she carefully watches each child during the day and is careful to direct the child to more advanced or unexplored materials while at the same time respecting the child’s choices. It is a delicate balance that we carefully implement here at ÉMIM.
The Montessori approach is a concrete approach; abstract concepts such as volume, length, grade, sound, letters, teen numbers, the Decimal System, the continents and bodies of water, magnetism, weight, measurement and grammar are all presented in such a way that children can feel, smell, hold, manipulate, experiment with, explore, discover and experience using their whole bodies and all their senses. This is a very important and meaningful concept in regards to young children; their senses are heightened and they absorb information and experiences by touching and discovering for themselves.
The Montessori Method teaches traditional academic subjects such as reading, math and geography, but it also teaches important social, personal and physical skills. The ability to make choices, to engage in and complete work independently, and the respect given to children to plan their day all develop within the child a deep sense of personal responsibility, motivation, initiative and caring.
Children learn to take care of themselves and their environment. They learn to care for others and uphold social rules in the classroom. They learn to care about their learning and learn to value knowledge. They learn to make choices and they develop effective work habits. The preschool years are especially important in that they lay the foundation for the child’s future school life. A Montessori education develops the important skills and habits necessary for a successful school experience.
Not only do we take great pride in the Montessori environment at ÉMIM, but we also provide an excellent enrichment program that complements our young students’ preschool life.
Children are exposed to a variety of classes, programs and materials that provide a rich and diverse educational experience. Our classes are equipped with a myriad of art supplies that students are free to work with at will. Gluing, painting, coloring, collage, papier maché and mandalas are all regular fixtures in the preschool classes. Our students regularly supply us with original pieces of art that decorate our rooms. Directed, group art projects as well as individual projects combine to provide an artistic environment for our little ones.
Music is also important to the development of our students. Music is a regular part of our day. During Circle Time, we sing songs in both languages and often, during Work Period, there is music playing in the background. During naptime, children listen to soft, classical music to relax them. The older preschool children have a weekly music class with a specialized music teacher. We also have several concerts throughout the year to showcase our love of music!
Our preschool program offers the children an early exposure to subjects usually reserved for older children. From the age of approximately 2.5, children start to learn the letter sounds using the Montessori material. By the time they reach the prekindergarten class, they are normally working daily with these materials, strengthening their knowledge of the letter sounds, recognizing the letter symbols in cursive, writing in cursive and reading phonetic words. By the end of the preschool years, our students are well prepared for the demands of kindergarten.
Like language, our students are introduced early to the world of mathematics, using the didactic, self-correcting math materials developed by Dr. Montessori. These materials offer the child a sensorial, hands-on experience with quantity, length, number symbols, odd and even, the teen numbers and the Decimal System. By the age of 4 or 5, the children enjoy working daily with these activities and some progress to the mathematical operations with the materials.
The atmosphere at ÉMIM is one that values the input and cooperation of the family. As educators, we aim to cultivate an environment where parents, educators and the administration work in tandem to provide the most effective learning experience for each of our students.