WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The Montessori method of education follows and responds to the developmental needs of children, rather than making them "fit" into a rigid program. The way we teach and prepare the learning environment has been scientifically shown to be the best way that children learn the best.
Individual Instruction Students move at their own pace according to their specific needs. Students who excel move ahead without being held back by their peers or separated from them; while students who developmentally lag behind continue to work on mastering various skills at their own rate without being labeled or stigmatized. We accept the fact that children grow physically at different rates, and therefore mature at different emotional and intellectual rates.
Multi-age Class Having students of three consecutive ages in one classroom has several distinct advantages for both the younger and older student. Older students can gain leadership experience and can review previously learned concepts by helping the younger child. The younger child gains by observing and sharing skills and knowledge of the older child.
Learning for learning's sake Montessori strives to "strike the imagination" of the child; to key into those areas and topics that a child is naturally interested in, or "sensitive" to learning for the sake of learning, not because they've been bribed or threatened with some external reward or punishment (stickers, grades, etc.)
"ON-target" Instruction Since we work to meet the needs of the individual student rather than teaching to the "average" students in a class, children work on what they need to master. They are not forced to spend time on things they already know, which can be boring, no are they forced to "keep up" with others regardless of whether they've mastered that particular skill or not. This "on-target" education is achieved through careful observation of the child.
Hands On/Experiential Learning As John Dewey so aptly put it and research has confirmed, "We learn what we do." A montessori classroom is filled with "hands on" materials. This enables the child to begin with a concrete concept (adding or "putting together" beads for example) then the use of abstract symbols (2 + 2 = 4.) Oftentimes our society pushes children into abstract processes with little or no understanding of the concrete reality that they represent. Montessori materials and learning experiences are also very "wholistic" in how they engage all of the student's senses. People have one or two "modalities" (hearing, seeing, touching, etc.) by which they learn best. The Montessori materials and method reaches all of these learning modalities.
Freedom Within Limits Mary's Children's House has ground rules that allow for personal freedom but maintain community stability. In this situation, children learn to balance personal freedom and their responsibility to the greater classroom community.
Values No school, even "secular" schools, can teach in a values vacuum. Values are either covertly or overtly taught by both the teaching method and the curriculums that are utilized. Mary's Children's House is very intentional about values, we do not espouse any particular religious dogma. We respect all religious and philosophical backgrounds. We teach the child to respect and care for: themselves, others, and both the human made and natural made environments.