Welcome… and thank you for your interest in the Pioneer Montessori School! Our first priority is to assist you in researching the best possible educational environment for your child. Taking into account their specific needs and learning style. Our hope is that this journey will make you a passionate believer in Montessori education!
In this tab, we will attempt to give you a brief introduction to the Pioneer Montessori School and to the Montessori philosophy. However, no concise writing will ever fully do justice to the entirety of Montessori. That is why we put such a large emphasis on observation and school tours. We will never be able to explain the enormity of Montessori, but bit by bit, we hope our students can provide you with a glimpse into what makes our school special.
At the younger ages, the lessons in Grace and Courtesy, foster an environment of respect; respect for each other, respect for the environments, and respect for the materials. All of our classroom environments are prepared with the child’s independence in mind. They are able to easily access all of their work materials as well as the cleaning supplies to maintain the environment. The classroom space and energy is created by the students for the students. The end result is an environment that all students feel responsible for.
What are Multi-Aged Classrooms and Why do they Work?
Students ages 18 months to 3 years begin in our PrePrimary room. From 3 to 6 years, students are in one of our two Primary classrooms. Students ages 6 to 9 (or 1st to 3rd graders) are in the Lower Elementary classroom. Finally, students ages 9 to 12 (4th to 6th graders) are in the Upper Elementary classroom.
When adults enter a Montessori classroom, they often comment on the harmonious way students move about the classroom, working independently and with each other. Students are busy with their work, without being coaxed into it by the adults in the room. This classroom culture is due in large part to the multi-aged students. When a child enters a Montessori classroom as a first year, they are given the gift of older students to observe and model. Through these daily observations, these young students are shown how to act in the classroom, how to treat the materials, and how to treat their fellow students. Younger students are also constantly watching the lessons and independent work that the older students are doing. These observations prepares and inspires the younger students for the years to come. Older students pass down classroom traditions and display the behaviors of grace and courtesy that are so integral in Montessori environments. They are on hand to help younger students with their work, and show them where everything is. Ultimately students excel when there is a balance of age and experience.
It is because of this harmonious balance between the older and younger students that we expect all of our students to stay through their entire three year cycle. It is their obligation to pass along the gift to the younger students coming after them that they received as first years from the students that came before them.
However, let us be clear that not only is it in the best interest of the classroom environment for students to stay for the duration of the three year cycle, but it is also in the best interest of the child. Students get to spend two years anticipating the moment they become the leaders of the classroom. For many children, the first opportunity for them to step into a leadership role is as a third year in a Montessori classroom, whether that be as a Kindergartener, a third grader, or a sixth grader. The students explore the complexities of this role in a safe and comfortable setting, preparing them for future opportunities to assume the responsibilities of a leader. The curriculum in a Montessori classroom is specifically designed with the three year cycle in mind. Lessons slowly build in complexity during the child’s three years in the classroom, moving from concrete into the more abstract. If a child does not complete the three year cycle, they are essentially receiving only the beginning of a much larger lesson.
What is the Three Hour Work Cycle?
In each classroom, students have the opportunity during an extended period of their day to submerge themselves completely in their work, without interruption. This period of time is slowly expanded as the child grows and their capacity for concentration builds. By Kindergarten, students will remain fully immersed in their work for three hours. In Lower and Upper Elementary, we strive for two three hour periods each day. This period of uninterrupted work allows the child to explore and expand their natural curiosity for learning. Lead teachers will invite students to different lessons each day during this period to introduce new materials and concepts. The remainder of the time, students keep busy in small collaborative groups or independently working with self-correcting Montessori Materials.
Students are given lessons, then given the freedom to choose which activity to work on. This method encourages self-motivation…because when are you more apt to be engaged with your work, when you are choosing your own work, or when you are told to do something specific.