Our Approach to Montessori

Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned education as fostering the growth of complete human beings who are attuned to their environment and seamlessly integrated into their time, place, and culture. At MCS, we embrace this holistic approach to education, extending our focus beyond academic excellence to encompass emotional and social growth, , preparing students to become global citizens.
In our classrooms, a vibrant tapestry of activities unfolds simultaneously, characterized by dynamic movement and engagement. Students may be found working autonomously, engaging in peer collaboration, participating in small group tasks, immersing themselves in reading, receiving personalized instruction from teachers, undertaking creative projects, or tackling complex challenges.
Prepared Environment
At our school, classrooms are meticulously crafted by Montessori educators to cater to the unique needs of our students. Each classroom is thoughtfully designed as a "prepared environment," where furniture is scaled to the child's age and size. Materials are showcased on open shelves, strategically arranged to capture student’s curiosity and engagement. Our aim is to create spaces that inspire exploration and foster a love for learning.
We design the prepared environments to cultivate independence among our students. Within our classrooms, students are empowered to take initiative in their learning journey. They select works from designated shelves, engage in individual or collaborative learning, and returned any used classroom materials to their designated place. From tidying up their personal belongings to deciding when to enjoy a snack, students exercise autonomy in various aspects of their daily routines. Our approach to fostering independence encompasses the intentional design of our classrooms, the supportive guidance of our educators, and the invaluable mentorship provided by and to fellow students. Embracing independence is not just a skill—it's a continuous journey of growth and discovery within our learning community.
Toddler student working on a work Primary student working on work LE student working on work UE student working on work AC student working in the garden
Freedom and Responsibility
We understand and appreciate the significance of freedom in cultivating independence among our students. However, it's essential to address the common misconceptions surrounding freedom within the Montessori framework. Contrary to popular belief, freedom is not synonymous with boundless freedom. Instead, it involves making choices within established boundaries. Additionally, the concept of freedom is intricately linked with responsibility—two principles that complement and strengthen each other in our learning environment.
In Montessori education, the freedom to select one's own work is a fundamental principle. As students demonstrate greater responsibility, they are granted increased autonomy in their choices. Responsible behavior includes treating classroom materials with care, maintaining focus and engagement during work periods, and completing tasks within reasonable timeframes.
Within our classrooms, students enjoy freedom of movement, provided they exercise responsibility. In fact, movement is encouraged and embraced as a natural part of the learning process. Students may move about the classroom to select new tasks, complete assignments, engage in discussions, or attend to personal needs. Importantly, these decisions are entrusted to the students themselves, empowering them to navigate their learning environment independently.
Two Toddler students washing dishes in their classroom Primary student working with a mallet and nails to decorate a pumpkin Lower Elementary students emptying their classroom recycle bins Upper Elementary students working independently outside on a picnic table An Adolescent student sitting on the bridge in one of our wetland habitats
Role of the Teacher
Within Montessori philosophy, the primary emphasis lies on the children, with adults playing a supporting role in their educational experience.
While Montessori teachers offer students lessons with materials, the true learning occurs through the child's own engagement with the materials. The child takes on the role of self-teacher, guiding their own educational journey. The adult's role is to carefully observe each child's progress, identifying their evolving needs and guiding them towards the suitable materials in the prepared environment.
Acting as trained observers, teachers attentively monitor developmental milestones and assess a student's readiness for new challenges. They are always available to offer support and to guide students in new directions of exploration and learning as needed.
Teacher helping Primary student Teacher helping upper elementary students Teacher meditating with lower elementary students Teacher showing toddler students be finished baked good items Teacher working with lower elementary students
Articles/Links of Interest
In Search of the Real Google (Time, Feb 20, 2006)
How Do Innovators Think (Harvard Business Review, Sep 28, 2009)
The Montessori Mafia (The Wall Street Journal, Apr 5, 2011)
“Montessori Madness” (Trevor Eisler/321 FastDraw, Jun 28, 2011)
Superwoman Was Already Here! (Daniel C. Petter-Lipstein, Sep 7, 2011)
“Why Montessori Education Is Priceless” (Montessori Life, Winter 2014–15)
“Polishing the Penny” (Montessori Life, Summer 2015)
“Grace and Courtesy Beyond Please and Thank You” (Montessori Life, Spring 2016)
“The Importance of Family Meals” (Montessori Life, Summer 2016)
Montessori Rocks! Top 33 Montessori Resources (Montessori Rocks, 2017)
“Starting Each Day: Tips to Get out the Door On Time” (Montessori Life, Spring 2017)
“The Joy of Reading to Children” (Montessori Life, Summer 2017)
“Today’s Grandparents” (Montessori Life, Winter 2017)
“Talking Respectfully to your Children” (Montessori Life, Winter 2018)