Frequently Asked Questions
Who was Maria Montessori?
Born in Italy in 1870, Montessori was an anthropologist, pioneer educator, and the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy. She graduated from the University of Rome and opened her first Montessori school, Casa dei Bambini (A Children’s House), in Rome over 100 years ago in 1907. Montessori based her educational ideas on her observation of children in diverse cultures who she found learned best in a homelike setting. She discovered universal principles of human behavior in all cultures around the world, which earned her worldwide acclaim with a year. Five years later, she brought her message to the US. She made it her life’s work to transform adult beliefs about children and their education, authoring 25 books based on her method. Maria Montessori was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with children. The American Montessori Society was formed out of her teachings in 1960.
What makes Montessori different from traditional schools?
Montessori classrooms are bright, inviting, multi-age learning communities. In this child centered learning environment, children develop a meaningful degree of independence and self-discipline. Students learn to take pride in doing things carefully for themselves. They freely move about and enjoy independently chosen work. The role of the Montessori teacher is that of a guide and observer. The teacher prepares an enticing learning environment. The teacher works with small groups of children and acts as the link between the child and the environment by removing obstacles, including stimulating objects, and demonstrating the apparatus.
The beautiful Montessori materials are used by the children to investigate and discover concepts. Children are able to manipulate and explore concrete learning apparatus as often as needed to reach understanding. These materials stimulate the child’s logical thought and discovery.
Is Montessori right for my child?
Montessori educational methods work with all kinds of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Individual developmental rates and types of intelligence are recognized and respected. The student who will be most successful in the Montessori classroom will possess:
• Self motivation and self discipline
• Love of learning and broad interests
• Ability to work independently and complete a task
• Intrinsic motivation
Will my child transition easily into a traditional classroom?
In our experience, both personally and professionally, children make the transition to a traditional classroom with ease.
What distinguishes an NPCH graduate from a child who has attended traditional pre-K through Kindergarten programs?
Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they've been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time well. Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop good self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.
What is the academic focus for each year at NPCH?
Each year spent at NPCH yields incremental development for success in the following year, while offering fresh challenges every step of the way for every child:
Year I: In the first year of schooling at NPCH, the child learns basic environmental rules and focuses a great deal of energy and effort in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas of the school, the foundation for later academic work. The child gains self-control, concentration, coordination, determination and order through the process of mastering Practical Life and Sensorial skills. Older children in the school help the younger children, and the younger children emulate the older children and learning from their example.
Year II: With a growing skill set, the child moves on to the second year, which is the most social of the three years in our school. Here she focuses on learning numbers to 100, blending sounds and beginning to form words. She writes with finer skill through the work of metal insets and the beginning of the exploration of geography.
Year III: The Year of the Kindergartener: The third year, however, is the most important. It allows the child to lead, teach, and wrap up his years of growth. It is now that he feels empowered to become the leader he has been imagining himself as becoming during the prior two years.