Preschool Room - Philosophy
Welcome to the Preschool
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Preschool. To assist you in a smooth transition into our classroom, this pamphlet has been prepared to introduce you and your child to this new environment. Within the pages of this booklet, you will find descriptions of our philosophy, program and routines, as well as general information.
Arrivals and Departures
Please be sure to sign in your child each morning and out each afternoon. Our sign-in sheet will be used in the event of a fire as an attendance list so, please be sure your child is represented appropriately. If your child is expected to be absent or late, please indicate so on the sign-in sheet, or telephone us by 9:00am to let us know. Please make sure your child goes to the bathroom in the morning when s/he arrives.
Communicating with Your Child's Teacher
- You will find a special “parent�? sheet next to the attendance record clipboard which you can use to indicate any special events or changes in your child’s life. This helps us be supportive to your child during periods of change. Changes such as visits from grandparents, a parent on travel, moves, sickness or deaths in the family are noted here each day.
- Daily reports of your child’s activities are posted on the bulletin board or reported in individual notes to parents.
Montessori Education Questions and Answers
WHAT IS IT?
The Montessori system of education is both a philosophy of child growth and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom with limits and a carefully prepared environment that guarantees exposure to materials and experiences that develop intelligence, as well as physical and psychological abilities.
The Montessori system takes full advantage of a child’s self-motivation and unique ability to develop his/her own capabilities. Adults expose the child to materials but the child directs his/her responses and makes his/her own selections. Key premises of Montessori education are:
- Children are to be respected as different from adults and as individuals who differ from each other.
- Each child possesses unusual sensitivity and mental powers for absorbing and learning from his/her environment that are unlike those of an adult both in quality and capacity.
- The most important years of growth are the first six years of life, when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
- Each child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. However, each child works not as an adult for profit and completion of a job, but rather for the sake of the activity itself. It is this activity that accomplishes the child’s important goal – the development of self, including his/her mental, physical and psychological powers.
HOW DID IT BEGIN?
Dr. Maria Montessori was the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn, and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment. Shifting her focus from the body to the mind, she returned to the university in 1901, this time to study psychology and philosophy. In 1904, she was made a professor of anthropology at the University of Rome. Her desire to help children was so strong, however, that in 1906 she gave up both her university chair and her medical practice to work with a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Later, she traveled all over the world lecturing about her discoveries and founding schools. She published approximately 15 volumes and numerous articles about education before her death in1952.
Her medical background led Montessori to approach education not as a philosopher or educator in the usual sense, but rather as a scientist. She viewed the classroom as a laboratory for observing children and testing and re-testing the validity of ideas and practices for aiding them in their development. This open-minded attitude and respect for the child are the fundamentals of Montessori education.
IS IT FOR ALL CHILDREN?
The Montessori approach is used successfully with children aged 2½ to 18 whose abilities range from gifted to developmentally delayed or otherwise disabled. Its individualized approach to education works well where children of many backgrounds are grouped together. It is also appropriate for classes in which the student-teacher ratio is high because children learn at an early age to work independently.
MONTESSORI VS TRADITIONAL PRESCHOOLS
The goal of both Montessori and traditional preschools is the same. They each provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kind of learning experiences each school provides and the methods the school uses to accomplish this goal.
Montessori educators believe these differences are important because the help shape how a child learns, the child’s work habits and the child’s future attitudes toward himself/herself and the world around him/her.
|Emphasizes cognitive & social development||Emphasizes social development|
|Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom||Teacher is center of classroom as “controller�?|
|Environment & method encourage self-discipline||Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline|
|Provides mainly individual instruction||Provides group & individual instruction|
|Provides mixed age groupings||Provides same age groupings|
|Children teach & help one another||Most teaching is done by teacher|
|Child chooses own work||Curriculum is structured for child|
|Child discovers own concepts by self-teaching materials||Child is guided to concepts by teacher|
|Child works as long as he/she wishes on chosen project||Child generally is allotted specific time for work|
|Child sets own learning pace||Instruction pace is set by group|
|Child spots own errors from feedback of material||If work is corrected, errors are usually pointed out by teacher|
|Child reinforces own learning by repetition & internal feelings of success||Learning is reinforced externally by repetition & rewards|
|Provides multisensory materials for physical development||Provides fewer materials for sensory exploration|
|Provides organized program for learning care of self & environment (polishing shoes, cleaning sink)||Provides less emphasis on self-care instruction|
|Child can work where he/she chooses, moving around while not disturbing others; group work is voluntary||Child is usually assigned own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group lessons|
|Provides organized program for parents to understand Montessori and participate in learning process||Provides for voluntary parent involvement|