Inside the Casa
Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952), her specifically designed materials and activities are intended to systematically reveal the world to children through logic, order, inquiry, and discovery. In non-graded classes of mixed ages, children are presented with lessons using these materials. They choose their own activities based on the natural interest and curiosity inherent to their developmental level and on personal preference. Children are allowed to "do it themselves" with little or no assistance, only gentle guidance. Materials are "hands on" and explore a variety of subjects from the concrete to the abstract, while engaging the child through multiple sensory pathways.
Our classroom is arranged to offer children numerous experiences in language, mathematics, art, science, geography and cultural studies, sensory explorations, music and the exercises of practical life. Works are arranged from simple to complex in each area so that every child is able to find something to suit his needs for discovery. Our directors are trained to recognize the cognitive development and interests of each child, in order to support and encourage the natural love of learning we believe is present in all children. Lessons are presented individually or in small groups, as requested. The atmosphere is one of respect, cooperation, joyful independence and community.
Our work periods last for three hours, as is recommended for Montessori schools. We convene twice during that time: once for a morning meeting and later for music and movement. An additional brown-bag lunch program is optional. This extra time gives the children many wonderful opportunities to practice their social and practical life skills while enjoying the meals they’ve helped to pack and prepare at home.
At TCCH, we strive for a "Peaceful Classroom." The child's ability to move freely through the classroom stems from the introduction to grace and courtesy lessons at age 3, when the child is in a sensitive period for these skills. Learning to wait one's turn, learning to respect the environment and peers, gaining the skills to resolve conflict all contribute to the child's growing sense of order and routine. As the child matures he or she will be attracted to the geography area of the environment. Understanding that the child is part of a global community, that everyone has the same basic needs, and that they can have a role in contributing to the well being of that community establishes the child's potential to make a real difference in his world.
some TCCH insight
- Why do we change shoes? Partly to keep the carpets clean, but mostly we only use our special shoes in school to allow students to build independence, stability, and balance.
- The Montessori classroom is child-led. That means each job is chosen by the child for him or herself. This allows the student to feel capable and in control of their environment.
- As prescribed by Dr. Montessori, class time is kept to three hours, during students may complete one work or many, depending on their focus and interest. We convene for circle time before dismissal.
- Studies are showing a direct correlation between Montessori education and positive character traits such as grit, perseverance, and tenacity.
- Though each work is chosen by the child, that child may not complete that work without a lesson from the teacher. They also may not move on to the more complicated jobs until they have mastered the previous work.
- As part of a global society, TCCH does not celebrate holidays. We do, however, reinforce seasonal traditions and the celebration of nature.
- There are many "subjects" we study in the Montessori method - some that extend beyond a traditional classroom's instruction. These include practical life skills, grace and courtesy, gross motor development, art, music, geography, math, and sensorial development.