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What is Montessori?

The Montessori method is a child-centered, evidence-based approach to education developed by Italian physician and reformer Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Today, Montessori educators continue her tradition of tailoring educational methods to human development and incorporating the latest in brain science into educational models.

Montessori principles at Oneness-Family School:

  • Tapping into each student’s natural passion for learning and individual interests. 
  • Developmentally-appropriate approach to teaching that meets students where they are – cognitively, socially, emotionally.
  • Concepts are connected to “big picture” perspectives in a holistic approach, using integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum across all subject areas.
  • Multi-age groupings, allowing students to both learn from and help guide their classmates in a collaborative and respectful manner.
  • Individualized learning, allowing students to learn as much and as rapidly as they want and are prepared for, demonstrating mastery of each topic or skill before moving on to the next. 
  • Dynamic classroom environment of student engagement and initiative. 
  • Strong emphasis on cultivating community, finding one’s own voice, and contributing to a peaceful and sustainable world.

How Montessori informs each stage at Oneness-Family School: 

Preschool through Kindergarten

Maria Montessori called this “the age of the Absorbent Mind.” Colorful, age-appropriate Montessori materials encourage and inspire curiosity, imagination, and learning in the eager minds of students ages two to six. Language- and movement-rich activities nourish their rapid vocabulary development and strengthen motor skills and coordination. A growing body of research affirms Dr. Montessori’s observation that a student’s ability to focus is the foundation of all other successful learning. Our preschool-K students are given the freedom to become absorbed for long periods of time in a single activity and to return to and repeat certain activities of choice until they attain mastery of the skill involved. Our classrooms are designed to allow uninterrupted work cycles, so children develop strong attention skills.

Elementary

Elementary students learn in highly resourced, multi-age classrooms grouping students in grades 1-3 and 4-5 together to progress from concrete to abstract learning, using hands-on materials and technology to build lasting layers of increasingly complex knowledge. Our cross-curricular Montessori program combines math, science, reading, writing, expressive art, foreign languages, yoga, and athletics with social and emotional learning. In language arts and math, elementary students work in groups according to ability level, regardless of age or grade, and are assessed regularly for both academic progress and social-emotional development. Each keeps a portfolio of the year’s best work and takes part in regular self-assessments and peer assessments. All are encouraged to express their unique personalities through art, music, and movement.

Middle School

In the middle school years we tie abstract concepts together with the information learned across subjects, equipping students to develop systematic and strategic, big-picture thinking skills. Our middle school students move through themed cycles, exploring concepts through the lens of disciplines including literature, science, and social studies. Students plan and organize their work in consultation with their teachers, helping them to establish the focused attention, time management, and other organizational skills essential to success in higher education. Working collaboratively on group projects, they learn to lead and be accountable to the team, share responsibility, and gather input toward a common goal. Internally motivated and empowered to learn as much and as quickly as they desire, our eighth graders enter high school at a high level in math, science, English, and foreign language. They also possess an understanding of the meaningful use of what they’ve learned.

High School

Our project-based approach to high school curriculum takes the best of what we’ve learned from our Montessori program for elementary and middle-school students and applies it to 21st century high school needs. We focus on communication, collaboration, organization, critical and creative thinking, information literacy, citizenship, and ethics through college prep courses in math and science, English and literature, languages, history, technology, and a flexible athletics program. Our approach moves away from standardization and toward individual learning; away from testing bits of information and toward utilizing diverse resources available to students both locally and online. Our high school students explore topics that spark their interest and imagination, build positive relationships with supportive instructors and mentors, meet and collaborate with like-minded peers, and learn to become the driver of their own learning process.

Across all ages and stages…

Montessori-educated children reach maturity with exceptionally strong abilities in innovation, problem-solving, self-organization, ethics, cooperation, and leadership.

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