Tremont Montessori is pursuing accreditation from the American Montessori Society, a very rare feat among public Montessori schools. To achieve this goal, we prioritize AMS’s Five Core Components of Montessori Education, which are:
1. Properly trained Montessori credentialed lead teachers for the level they teach
2. Multi-age classrooms of 3-year age groupings
3. Use of Montessori materials
4. Child-directed work
5. Uninterrupted work periods
Multi-age groupings are a cooperation and of the Montessori program, creating a sense of family, building opportunities for cooperation, and offering learning opportunities geared to sensitivities and needs of a child’s unique developmental stage. Our Children’s House Classrooms serve ages 3 to 6, or PreK and Kindergarten. Lower Elementary classrooms serve children ages 6 to 9, or grades first through third. Upper Elementary classrooms serve ages 9 to 12, or grades four through six. Middle School classrooms serve children ages 12-14, or grades seven and eight. Optimally, one third of the group changes each year as the oldest children move on and a new group enters.
When children stay in the same environment for a three-year cycle, the bonds and understanding between child and teacher are significantly strengthened. The children’s sense of security gives them confidence and supports the development of leadership skills, as they take part in organizing community meetings and events and make group decisions regarding classroom expectations and rules. The confidence that comes from returning to the same classroom and teacher for three years also fosters students’ sense of academic courage, self-assurance, and competence.
Use of Montessori Materials
Everything we know as the “Montessori Method” -- all of the educational curriculum -- stemmed from Dr. Montessori’s singular belief that children have a desire to learn and be successful. Additionally, the importance of classroom and school environments are an important part of a Montessori Education. Montessori teachers take on the responsibility of creating an environment to facilitate children's discovery of interest while building their knowledge. Montessori classrooms have materials organized on shelves to make it easy for students to work independently and progressively in an ordered fashion. Dr. Montessori designed materials that allowed hands-on learning for students in all aspects of the curriculum. Montessori materials are beautiful, colorful, and inviting for students. They also scaffold complexity and allow students to practice towards mastery by having a ‘control of error’ which allows students to self-correct as they are learning concepts. As they master concepts, students are given lessons with increasing rigor and move from concrete understanding to abstraction. Montessori materials allow students to focus on fundamental concepts which are replicated throughout all grades, thus reducing the educational burden on the child and deepening conceptual and procedural understanding of major math standards. For example, a child will learn that units are green, tens are blue, and hundreds are red in a math lesson about quantity in the Children’s House. In Lower Elementary, students will multiply whole numbers using the checkerboard where they again see a pattern of green, blue, and red squares representing the product in millions. In Upper Elementary, they will see pastel squares of the same colors to represent tenths and hundredths on the decimal checkerboard.
Students are supported in choosing meaningful and challenging work by the design of the classroom environment and individual work plans. Students can move around the room and select their work, while also choosing whether to work individually on a work mat or with a partner. Through observation and formative assessments, the adult guides determine what support is needed for the student to progress.
Uninterrupted Work Periods
Montessori pedagogy values in-depth study of concepts and themes for deep and meaningful learning experiences. Dr. Montessori believed students who demonstrated responsibility for their own learning should be able to have a great amount of freedom in their choice. In order to internalize this self-control (which she called normalization), the students had to learn how to learn and be given time to experience the joy of learning. This is a critical component of Montessori education and why our classrooms have uninterrupted work periods. Typically, the day is organized to allow students at least 2 hours, and ideally 3-hour time periods, so students can work in a concentrated manner for large blocks of time and be most self-directed in their work towards practice, mastery, and accomplishment.
Dr. Montessori believed that Cosmic Education was essential in elementary education because it provided children with a framework to understand the world and their place within the world. Children learn to respect studies of the past, develop an understanding of ethics, and value the contributions of others. In this way, Cosmic Education teaches children of the interdependence of all things and develops a sense of gratitude that comes from that awareness.
In the first plane of development (ages 0-6), Cosmic Education introduces children to the natural world through experiences with nature and sensorial learning materials. In the second plane of development (ages 6-12), Cosmic Education introduces children to natural cycles in our world, fundamental needs that all humans share, and the connectedness of all living things. As they move into adolescence, students begin to explore contributions they can make to their community and society at large.
Montessori education aspires to prepare children to demonstrate care and concern for themselves, and to establish an innate awareness that they are citizens of the world and stewards of their own communities. At Tremont Montessori, we offer peace literacy lessons in class meetings and teach students to resolve conflicts nonviolently. Learners have an opportunity to be a part of respectful, inclusive classrooms and ongoing modeling and specific lessons communicate that all people have the same fundamental needs. This leads to respect and acceptance of the diversity of everyone they encounter. Tremont Montessori educators implement the Nautilus approach to behavior challenges, an approach that keeps children’s work and well-being at the center. Montessori educators understand that all children want to do well and that self-regulation happens through work. Our SEL coordinator and PCIA, Ms. Curtis, works with students and staff alike to support healthy and safe decision-making and compassion and respect towards peers and the community.
Classroom Community Meetings
Community meetings are a vehicle for classroom-level problem solving and decision-making. These meetings are an inclusive, proactive, and community-building approach to promoting the well-being of all scholars and for preventing and reducing negative outcomes for scholars. Community meetings are facilitated by students daily and last 20 minutes. Community meetings may include planning and problem-solving activities, social and emotional skills development, or discussion about a story. These meetings create a sense of belonging as well as provide opportunities for students to practice speaking and listening skills.
Grace and Courtesy
“Bring the child to the consciousness of his own dignity, and he will be free. We see no limit to what should be offered to the child, for his will be an immense field of chosen activity.”
-Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Montessori’s educational philosophy was grounded in the singular belief that children have innate dignity and purpose. The Montessori teachers create an environment to model dignity and purpose in the classroom. Children are given multiple opportunities to practice within their classroom and school community, sharing respect and experiencing their own sense of purpose. This is why Grace and Courtesy lessons are an essential ingredient to successful Montessori schools. To have child-directed work, children must be aware of their own actions and be considerate of others’ rights to learning. Clearly aligned to modern day Social Emotional Learning (SEL), grace and courtesy lessons are the primary SEL curriculum. This approach will be taught, modeled, reinforced, and integrated throughout all levels of Tremont Montessori, and repeated creatively until internalized by students.
Children’s House Grace and Courtesy lessons, skills, and practice at this level focus on how to sit in a circle, how to introduce a friend, how to clean tables, sweep floors, and how to get a teacher’s attention respectfully.
Lower & Upper Elementary Grace and Courtesy lessons, skills, and practice focus on building positive social independence. Since children at this developmental level have high social needs, many grace and courtesy lessons are focused on working, learning, and maintaining a community and skills–related to peaceful interactions with classmates and care for their environment–are introduced, discussed, and practiced. By using questioning to explore specific themes, grace and courtesy align with the imagination of students at this level. Children can imagine different outcomes based on different behaviors.
Middle School Grace and courtesy lessons and practice allow adolescents to reflect on ethical challenges and expand beyond school walls, into the local and world community. The intensity of living and learning in the community becomes even greater as adolescents define their own moral make-up in relation to others and are challenged to act on their beliefs and values. Grace and courtesy lessons and practice at this level focus on listening, responding, and reflecting as a way of building mutual respect for individuals in the community. Regular advisory and “Solo” time, or Personal Reflection, is embedded into the day to create spaces for young adolescents to reflect on their own voice (“dial into their moral compass”). Lessons focused on these skills allow adolescents to practice perspective-taking. One example is students' planning and conducting service opportunities. Another example is for students to participate in civic and community life in their school and city. Additionally, while maintaining lessons from earlier grades around peaceful and respectful interactions, this level takes on a greater responsibility for the care of the school environment.
Learn more about Montessori Education and how it benefits your child from the American Montessori Society.