WHAT IS MONTESSORI?
Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities.
Discover how your child can benefit from a Montessori education at Belden Hill Montessori!
BELDEN HILL’S MISSION, FROM THE DIRECTOR, SARA FLANAGAN:
I was going for my first job interview, heading off wth my degree in Early Childhood Education to a small school called “The Child’s Work Center”. The environment was beautiful and the materials were all child sized. There were no pretend kitchens or toys to play with. The two ladies who interviewed me were very nice so I thought, “Let’s listen and see what they have to say.” As I sat and listened, they explained to me that The Child’s Work Center was a Montessori school. Having only a quick five minute lecture on Maria Montessori, I had no idea what Montessori really was.
The classroom was set up in 6 different areas: practical life, sensorial, math, language, cultural, and arts.
The children ranged in age from 2 1/2 to 6 years of age with a full day kindergarten. It was a three-year program. When your child started at age 2 1/2 – 3, they stayed with the same teacher for all three years. It was a beautiful thing! This structure allows the teacher to become familiar with the child and their family, along with what areas they excel in and where they need help. By the time they are ready to move into first grade, the teacher has a wonderful understanding of the child’s educational needs.
I fell in love with the Montessori method in 1979, first year I started working at the school. I received my Montessori A.M.I training in 1982. I have four boys who all attended Montessori.
Truly, you can read all the books on Montessori, listen to your friends talk about it (”Is it the right school? I heard it’s not structured!”), but to observe a Montessori classroom will change your mind forever!
AREAS OF STUDY
The Practical Life area is an area in the Montessori classroom that offers lessons that the child has seen in the home environment. Some of these lessons consist of pouring, spooning, table washing, carrot cutting and the dressing frames (tying, buckling and buttoning). Each piece of work is geared for a child to work independently. These lessons isolate one skill, allowing the child to master it one step at a time. These lessons help the child develop a sense of order, concentration, individuality, and sequential thought.
Each lesson is focused on one of the senses. The lessons consist of The Pink Tower, red rods, binomial and trinomial cubes, constructive triangles, sound cylinders, smelling bottles, tasting bottles, geometric solid cylinders. All of these material are designed to help the child focus their attention on their senses and to explore their environment using their senses.
In the Mathematics area, once again Montessori created concrete materials to represent all types of quantities so that the child can touch and move item as they enumerate them. In a Montessori environment, a child not only sees the symbol for 1; 1,000; or ½, they can also hold each of the corresponding quantities in their hand. By combining this equipment, separating it, sharing it, and counting it, they can demonstrate to themselves the basic operations of arithmetic. This activity gives them the satisfaction of learning rather than by being told. Eventually, they develop an early enthusiasm for the world of numbers.
The language area begins with the spoken language of the prepared environment. Followed by the numerous picture cards of animals, transportation, flowers, instruments etc. The Montessori child learns the letters of the alphabet through the sand paper letters. Each letter is recognized by its phonetic sound. Later the child begins creating words with the moveable alphabet. Later the child begins creating words the moveable alphabet. With the repetitiveness of the alphabet box the child becomes confident in the formation of creating words, sentences and stories. As the child continues to work with the alphabet, teachers will guide them through a wide range of pre-reading exercises. Therefore, an explosion in reading and writing will occur.
The cultural area consists of Geography, History, Arts and Science. Children have a natural interest in learning about new places in our World. The Montessori classroom gives the child a chance to explore the world through physical geography which includes the sandpaper globe, land and water forms, puzzle maps of each continent, and engaging land and water forms, as well as through cultural geography which explores the customs, music, foods, clothing, transportation, home and family life of other cultures. Children also possess a natural curiosity about how things work. In the Montessori classroom, many activities are available for the child to explore simple machines: construction of a flashlight, sink and float, magnets. Children explore Nature through studying Zoology and botany, and participating in the hands-on experiences of caring for plants and animals both inside the classroom and outdoors. The Arts is explored with a wide variety of material. Water colors, pastels, clay, gluing. Sewing buttons knitting, making pillows, embroidery. It delves into Artists their paintings as well as exploring musicians, music and instruments.
We at the Belden Hill Montessori School believe that involving the children in field trips is a wonderful way to explore and learn about our environment around us. Parents are asked to join us on various outings. Some of the outings include:
Outgoing Field Trips
Apple & pumpkin picking, New Canaan Nature Center “Maple Syrup”, Sacred Heart University “Musical Play”, Stamford Nature Center, Woodstock Nature Center “Using Your Senses Outdoors”
Incoming Field Trips
Critter Caravan, Wilton Fire Department, Dr. Mak’s Dentist “Tooth Fairy”, Maura Casey (nurse) “Hand washing, Safety, Nutrition & Health”
Other Happenings at Belden Hill Montessori
- Fall Harvest
- Fall Parent Education Night: Lessons on Practical Life & Sensorial Area
- Fall Conferences
- Thanksgiving Soup
- Mitten/Hat/Glove Tree Donations
- Winter Holiday Sing-a-Long Celebration: St. Lucia, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa
- Chinese New Year
- Winter Parent Education Night: Lessons on Language & Math
- Australia Day
- Mother’s Night & Father’s Night: Children come in with their parent and give them lessons
- Spring Conferences
- School Concert & Kindergarten Play
- Year-End BBQ Picnic
JOIN BELDEN HILL FOR AN OPEN HOUSE
October 24th at 7:30pm
You may also schedule a 9:30am classroom observation M-F