85% of the brain is formed by the age of 3 (core structure)
By age 3, the brain has established a pattern of processing information that will be used throughout life. A child’s early experiences affect the quality of his brain architecture, forming the foundation upon which future development rests. Early experiences also have a greater impact on the developing brain because new experiences are stored in relation to previous ones.
skills to last a lifetime
In a Montessori education, children take ownership of their education and develop the fundamental skills they need to achieve personal and academic success. They grow a strong sense of self, the ability to connect with others, and the potential to be productive throughout their lives. We invite you to explore several research-based studies on this method.
montessori method outcomes
education choices facing parents
Progressive schools with child-centered education emphasize learning through playful activities. The child has a say in what they study and will develop strong soft skills (nonacademic skills that include social, emotional and skills that facilitate positive interactions with others and the ability to overcome challenges). Yet they often lack a structured curriculum, and the child may not attain advanced conceptual understanding in all subjects.
Traditional schools offer more academic structure, with a focus on standardized tests and grades. Unfortunately, learning in a traditional setting is often motivated through rewards and is teacher-directed to such a degree that children neither love learning, nor develop critical soft skills.
Montessori education is the third way that combines joyful, autonomous learning, with a structured,challenging curriculum. Exploration is encouraged so that children find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently.
Discover the four attributes of a high-quality, authentic Montessori school.
uninterrupted work cycles: why flow matters
In most preschool settings, children are scheduled from one activity to the next, in short time bursts: art, activities, snacktime, reading, etc. They’re never truly immersed in one activity.
Real learning takes time. Deep engagement takes time, and can’t be fit into 30-minute increments of adult-led group activities. Children have the independence to do things for themselves, at their pace, to develop a flow and finish an activity. They finish on their terms, then clean up so that the next child may use the materials.
Autonomy creates our best work. Research shows that both adults and children alike learn and work best when they have autonomy. By giving young children choices, we provide the independence to thrive, on their terms, which creates more purposeful living without the duty-bound learning.
We build critical executive function skills. Montessori encourages your child to make independent choices to develop self-regulation skills that allow them to plan, focus, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks successfully. A child is allowed to persist in a challenging activity as long as they wish instead of being interrupted to join another one.
At HMS, we employ authentic Montessori work cycles to empower your child to go deeper into their learning.
mixed-age levels in preschool:learning from each other
A key element of an authentic Montessori approach is the use of mixed age groups. Instead of placing students in classes with peers of their own approximate age (e.g., all 5-year-olds), preschool students work together in classrooms comprised of ages 3–6 years.
Children naturally teach and are taught by their peers. There are distinctive periods of cognitive development based on age and mixing ages together offer mutual benefits to all ages. The younger children are observing and absorbing while the older children begin to formulate individual and group ethics. These mixed-age communities support the development of pro-social skills and individualized learning.
Experience in leadership. Because students on the older end of each developmental plane will generally be more advanced in their abilities than their younger peers, older students are encouraged to teach what they know to younger students, who can both learn from and look up to their “elders”. Leadership encourages responsibility as well as creativity and interpersonal skills.
Longer teacher observation and engagement. Preschool students are not only with the same peers for each three-year cycle, teachers also remain with their groups for their entire time allowing for each educator to better observe the individual needs of students and to more clearly understand and encourage the development of their unique learning style. At HMS, with our very low teacher turnover, we’re able to fulfill this important piece of the Montessori vision.
Preparation for the “real world”
Your child won’t interact with children only in their exact age group outside of the classroom, so why cultivate this unnatural environment at school? Placing students where they can interact with a range of ages, experiences, and abilities provides a far more realistic representation of the world, better preparing children for their teens and adulthood.
highly-trained montessori teachers: academic focused
A Montessori teacher has a deep understanding of child development and has been thoroughly trained to guide children towards productive and challenging experiences, both individually and collectively, that will provide a firm foundation for their future. Trained teachers carefully observe children in their environment, identifying their interests and abilities and developing personalized learning plans tailored to each child’s needs. They guide the learning, introducing new lessons and levels of difficulty as appropriate. The teacher offers encouragement, time, and tools needed to allow children’s natural curiosity to drive learning, and provides choices that help them learn, grow, and succeed.
materials designed to teach: fostering independence
Montessori materials are beautiful, inviting and imaginative. They teach only 1 skill at a time to allow the child to work independently and master the intended concept. The materials are also “self-correcting.” This means the child is able to identify if they have done an activity accurately and try again without intervention from a teacher. For example, if a large block is stacked atop a tower of shorter blocks, the tower will fall down. Working with self-correcting materials helps children develop confidence and self-sufficiency and promotes critical thinking. In a sense, they become their own teachers—a skill that will last for life.
“Children in Classic Montessori programs, as compared with children in Supplemented Montessori and Conventional
programs, showed significantly greater school year gains on outcome measures of executive function, reading,
math, vocabulary, and social problem solving, suggesting that high fidelity Montessori implementation is associated
with better outcomes than lower fidelity Montessori programs or conventional programs.”
—Angeline S. Lillard, Journal of School Psychology 50