Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the school called Montessori?
Montessori education is based on the work of Italian physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, whose research gave birth to an innovative educational system. In January 2007, the centenary of her first class in Rome was celebrated around the world.
What is the Montessori approach?
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children under six have an extraordinary ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings and are driven to do so. She called this the “absorbent mind” and recognized that the young child’s brain is more capable of learning certain skills during these years than it will ever be again. In Montessori education children’s innate love of learning and desire to explore are nurtured by opportunities to spontaneously choose and engage in meaningful activities.
The wonderful Montessori learning materials provide reasons for children to touch, manipulate and learn as their interests and curiosity directs their activity. Toddlers are explorers who learn through their senses and movement. Their program has a focus on language development, independence, practical life skills, social skills and toilet-training. Preschool, JK, and SK age children learn practical self-help skills; practise discriminaing sizes, shapes, colours; learn phonetic sounds of the alphabet, print, begin to write stories and read, count, learn number symbols, explore arithmetic; discover botany, zoology and geography with hands-on materials. Under the guidance of a Montessori-trained teacher, the children experience the joy of learning. Through their own efforts they develop self-discipline and an ability to concentrate.
Montessori education ensures the development of self-esteem, and provides experience from which children build their knowledge base. They go beyond learning skills to begin cultivating their abilities to express themselves and think clearly. In the Montessori multi-age setting, they learn both from each other and because of each other through their relationships, helping friends and peer-teaching.
What training do the teachers have?
Teachers may hold traditional E.C.E. diplomas as well as specialized Montessori training. Others hold B.A. degrees and Montessori training. They have specific training for the toddler, early childhood or elementary level. The average years of experience of our Montessori-trained teachers is 22.5 and ranges from 5 to 37. Montessori educators guide, coach and facilitate each child’s learning.
How is the school organized?
The Montessori School of Cambridge (MSC) is a not-for-profit and charitable organization operated by a volunteer Board of Directors. Programs for children under the age of six are licensed under the Day Nursery Act. The school is non-denominational.
How can parents be involved?
Collaboration with parents is encouraged through class observations, open communication and frequent dialogue with teachers. Parents are involved on the Board of Directors, committees and in fundraising activities that provide resources to develop children’s programs. Over the years, families have contributed gifts of time, talent and resources at each step of our school’s development (see Milestones). Our motto is “Working Together for the Sake of the Children.”