Why Montessori is within our educational system?
At Gateway we subscribe to the philosophy of child development established by Dr. Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. So along with the American curriculum that we teach our students from KG1 , we follow a system of education that emphasizes independence. It views children as naturally curious and eager for knowledge. We believe that the child is capable of initiating learning in a sufficiently supportive and well-prepared learning environment, where the teacher plays the role of a guide.
- Unique subject matter that focuses on students’ balanced being in their relation to self, others, and the surrounding environment. The Montessori philosophy is distinctive in that it places great emphasis on the child’s social and emotional development, reflected in practical life activities, social grace and courtesy, and peace education.
- The Montessori three to six program focuses on enhancing the five senses of the student through the sensorial curriculum.
- Academic programs are based on educational materials that are specifically designed to help students understand the most complicated and abstract concepts in a concrete way.
- Starting from the age of six, all subjects are connected through the Five Great Lessons: The Beginning of the Universe, The Beginning of Life, The Coming of Man, The Story of Writing and The Story of Numbers, all of which give meaning to the educational context.
As an outgrowth of Maria Montessori philosophy, she created a curriculum that focused on helping each child discover joy in learning. The crux of this learning is contained in the Five Great Lessons—a primer on how everything interacts with everything else.
From the first day of class in elementary school, Montessori teachers show how the universe, life, animals, communication and numbers came into being to help contribute to life on earth.
The First Great Lesson
From the first day of class in elementary school, we factually demonstrate how the universe and earth were formed. Presented in an overview fashion, teachers create experiments that help transform one big lesson into many smaller lessons.
Via 80 large visual charts and corresponding lessons, the school focus on each child’s curiosity and enthusiasm to present new topics like astronomy, chemistry, physics, geology and geography. As students thumb through each chart, they see what they want to learn more about.
The Second Great Lesson
Every living thing has a job to do to contribute to life on Earth. From a visual timeline of life that breaks down eras, evolution, extinction and the like, our children learn about dinosaurs, animals, plants and microorganisms—and how they all connect via topics and experiments.
The Third Great Lesson
What makes man special? How did we evolve from living in caves and creating fire to fashioning tools and machines? What does man possess that animals don’t and what makes us different?
Through discovery and invention, human beings have become the dominant species on the planet. Man has built a vibrant history from tools, farming and food preparation/storage to shelter, transportation, medicine, art and spirituality. Most importantly, children learn to understand their existence, their place in the world and their personal responsibility in bettering society and the universe.
The Fourth Great Lesson
Human beings have always used language, pictures and symbols to communicate with each other. From grunts and hand gestures to the advent of the written alphabet and ultimately, the printing press, man has always sought ways to create a written record of what he sees and how he feels.
It is here in the Fourth Lesson that Montessori teachers detail the study of folk stories, mythology, language, alphabets, grammar, sentence structure and word study. From cave paintings to Egyptian hieroglyphics to Greek, Latin & Arabic letters, the lesson allows children to focus—as they see fit--on reading, writing and language.
The extended lesson focuses on understanding human beings by our common history, stories, literature, poetry and music.
The Fifth Great Lesson
The common language of the human race is mathematics. Over our 30,000-year history, man has built a system of numbers that has evolved from concepts of zero and one to arithmetic to geometry and ‘to infinity and beyond.’
The story of numbers helps students branch out to learning about the applications of these numbers in such arenas as the invention of the calendar, systems and units of measurement and economic geography.
There are several aspects of the Montessori language curriculum. These include spoken and written language, reading, and spelling. These skills are taught together.
The Montessori classroom is designed to promote language skills. Language use is encouraged in the classroom, partly by giving students plenty of freedom to speak with their peers. Students also speak with teachers a lot. Oral language skills are refined through songs, games, poems, and stories.
In the language area of the classroom, vocabulary is enriched in many ways. Precise names are used for all objects. Object classification and matching exercises are also used to improve comprehension and vocabulary.
Children learn to write before reading in the Montessori education system. They start writing between the ages of three and four. During this sensitive period, they’re thought to be attracted to the order of writing, and can easily learn this skill.
Montessori writing, like reading and math, isn’t taught by direct instruction. The focus is on practicing writing and doing engaging exercises. This resembles the process approach to writing instruction, and is unlike the systematic approach.
- In the Montessori reading curriculum, teachers take advantage of the sensitive period for reading—between the ages of three and five—during which children are more able to learn how to read. Children first learn to read (and write) through concrete material and sensory activities. This allows them to develop fine motor skills and learn through many of their senses.
-This is the most abstract discipline the students are introduced to in the Montessori section. The Montessori curriculum is therefore designed in such a way that each concept has a number of concrete materials to ensure the understanding and internalization of those concepts.
-In the Montessori classroom, five families with math are presented to the child: arithmetic, geometry, statistics and calculus. More precisely, the concepts covered are numeration, the decimal system, computation, the arithmetic tables, whole numbers, fractions, and positive numbers.
- Unique educational field trip experiences
- Unique second languages (Spanish and Mandarin)
A Montessori classroom feels more like a home than a school. You will not find a teacher standing at the front of the room delivering a lesson to the whole class. Instead, you’ll see children happily working individually or in small groups, at tables or on the floor near small mats that delineate their own space.
Specially designed learning materials are displayed on open shelves, easily accessible to the children. Classrooms also include low sinks accessible to the children, child-sized furniture, cozy spaces for quiet reading, reachable shelves with work available for free choice, and child-sized kitchen utensils so the students can eat, prepare, and clean up their snack on their own. Teachers gently guide students to help maintain the organization and cleanliness of this environment to keep it orderly and attractive, and to help your child understand how to care for materials and clean up after themselves—skills you will be happy to observe carrying over in your home.