Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning and adapting to new situations.
In our Montessori classrooms, children begin experiencing learning through a "hands-on” manner at the age of two and are reintroduced several times during the following years at increasing degrees of abstraction and complexity. Children are encouraged to explore their environment, to follow natural impulses in discovering how things work, do their own research and to express themselves. Education of character is considered equally with academic education. Children learn to take care of themselves, their environment and each other. They participate in cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful and doing service for the community.
The environment is arranged according to subject areas, and children are always free to move around the room instead of sitting at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. At any one time in a day all subjects - math, language, science, geography, art, music, etc...will be being studied at all levels.
The Montessori materials teach specific things and then the creativity is incredible. Like learning to handle a good violin and then playing music. It is not considered "creative" to use a violin as a hammer or a bridge when playing with blocks. We consider it "creative" to learn how to use the violin properly and then create music. The same goes for the materials in a Montessori classroom.
The children in a Montessori setting interact as much as they feel the need to. The tasks are so satisfying, that for these few hours a day, children want to master the challenges offered by them. They then become happier and kinder - true socialization. Also, since concentration is protected above all, as all "work" is respected, children learn early on not to interrupt someone who is concentrating.
Each Montessori Classroom has a rich environment full of the Montessori Materials to help each child reach their highest potential. All the equipment in the classrooms allows the child to reinforce his casual impressions by inviting him to use his hands for learning. The classroom environment/condition is set up by the teacher with the idea that 80% of the child's mental development takes place before he is eight years old.
The tables and chairs in the classrooms are movable, permitting flexible arrangements for activities. The children also work on small carpets on the floor where they are naturally comfortable. The classroom is designed to put the child in a comfortable environment by giving him freedom in a prepared setting with attractive materials on low shelves within easy reach of even the smallest child.
The classroom is divided into three main groups: The Practical Life Exercises which are the beginning activities for the toddler through the three and four year old children, the Sensorial Area which is used by all ages in the classroom and the Academic Materials, which await each child's moments of interest in reading, arithmetic and geography.