things.” (Montessori, 1948: 8)
The Montessori Method
The following points comprise the major tenets of the Montessori philosophy and support the mission and long-range vision of LTMAS. They are distinguishing educational characteristics that set Montessori programs apart from traditional educational philosophies. The Montessori curriculum supports at least four of La Tierra’s essential characteristics: #2(child development orientation), #3(experiential learning, choice, responsibility) #5(multi-aged classrooms), and #6 (multicultural education). For these reasons, the Montessori model is a good choice for La Tierra.
Individualized, Differentiated Learning
Montessori education’s foundational belief is that all learners are individuals in their style, pace, and interests. The individualized curriculum of LTMAS will encourage children to strive toward achieving optimal outcomes in a non- competitive setting while utilizing Montessori inspired methods and curriculum. Teachers and students will work together to create individualized learning plans to facilitate student responsibility for their own learning.
Self-directed learning takes place when the learning, materials, and social climate are carefully set up by the Montessori trained adult. Montessori instruction progresses from concrete explorations and concept development to abstract understandings. Both the indoor and outdoor environments provide a safe and aesthetically pleasing space for learning. Opportunities for outdoor study of the natural environment may take place on school property or within the local area. A student may also bring materials outside of the classroom space for a change in learning environments. Careful preparation and modeling of the social environment introduces students to the rules and limits that when followed allow the freedom that exists in a successful Montessori classroom.
In the lower grades, materials designed by Dr. Montessori for specific learning concepts are neatly arranged on shelving and create a visual presence in the learning environment. These materials are multi-sensory, sequential, and self- correcting materials, which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts. Each classroom is stocked with a full complement of age appropriate Montessori materials that are a consistent part of the Montessori curriculum. See Attachment H in the Appendices for a complete listing of Montessori materials commonly found in the prepared environment at the preschool and elementary levels.
Peace Curriculum and Conflict Resolution
An integral part of learning for all age levels includes respectful communication and tolerance for all individuals in the community. All adults interacting with students will model appropriate methods for conflict resolution, guide individuals or groups of students to learn non-violent communication methods, and facilitate the understanding of peace as it relates to our world today. Students will also learn how to develop healthy life habits that will enhance well-being and lead to inner happiness.
The Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record keeper, and meticulous observer of each. The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning who integrates the teaching of all subjects, not as isolated disciplines, but as part of a whole intellectual tradition.
Cohesive School Community
Emphasis is placed on creating compassionate, respectful, and interconnected communities of learners within each classroom and is a critical focal part of each new school year. Teachers, staff, parents, and students will have opportunities to work together for the common good of the school and community. Elementary level curriculum supports learning and appreciation of world cultures, the natural environment, and care for animals and plants in the classroom.