Montessori Intenational Curriculum

Did you know that Montessori education is not just for young children? Montessori schools exist in over 110 countries serving over 1 million children and teens from birth to age 18.

 
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What if there was an education system that incorporated everything that leading education and brain based learning research shows work best ...

Current research in education and cognitive neuroscience shows that students learn best when:

  • multiple teaching and learning methods are used,
  • they are fully engaged in their learning because the topics, themes, and/or the learning process interests them,
  • classrooms have flexible seating options so they are able to choose where they work best whether that is a stand up desk, on a rug and floor cushion, sofa, armchair, or a shared table, 
  • teaching is differentiated based on each student's ability in each subject, 
  • the school and classroom are a safe social and emotional environment free from bullying and negative peer pressure,
  • student's health and wellbeing is a priority,
  • connections between different subjects are made, and
  • teachers have the time to truly get to know their students and their families,

Montessori education emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. All kinds of intelligences and styles of learning are nurtured: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, intuitive, and the traditional linguistic and logical-mathematical (reading, writing, and math). This particular model is backed up by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Teachers guide and support students in choosing their work by presenting lessons individually or in small groups, by having frequent mini-meetings, and writing the week's work in their work journals. Students are challenged according to their ability and are never bored. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

Montessori schools place children in three-year to six-year age groups up to elementary school (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, or 6-12), and two-year or three-year age groups in middle and secondary school (12-15, 15-18, or 12-14, 14-16, 16-18), forming learning communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child to child teaching, and socialization.

Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education. 

The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks.  Students design contracts with the teacher to guide their required work, to balance their general work, and to teach them to become responsible for their own time management and education. 

Education of character is considered equally with academic education, children learning to take care of themselves, their environment, each other - cooking, cleaning, building, gardening, moving gracefully, speaking politely, respecting other's work and not interrupting it, being considerate and helpful, doing volunteer work in the outside community, etc.

In fact, Albert Einstein shared Dr. Maria Montessori's views on education:

"It is not enough to teach a man a specialty. Through it he may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise he - with his specialized knowledge - more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person. He must learn to understand the motives of human beings, their illusions and their sufferings, in order to acquire a proper relationship to individual fellow men and to the community.

These precious things are conveyed to the younger generation through personal contact with those who teach, not - or at least not in the main - through textbooks. It is this that primarily constitutes and preserves culture. This is what I have in mind when I recommend the 'humanities' as important, not just dry specialized knowledge in the fields of history and philosophy.

Overemphasis on the competitive system and premature specialization on the ground of immediate usefulness kill the spirit on which all cultural life depends, specialized knowledge included.

It is also vital to a valuable education that independent critical thinking be developed in the young human being, a development that is greatly jeopardized by overburdening him with too much and with too varied subjects (point system). Overburdening necessarily leads to superficiality. Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."


—Albert Einstein, "Education for Independent Thought" New York Times, 5/10/1952

Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations. They excel in both the arts, and in science & technology. Early advocates and supporters of Montessori education include: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, and Woodrow Wilson. Well known, successful Montessori graduates include: 

  • the founders of Google, Wikipedia, and Amazon; 
  • Julia Childs; 
  • Anne Frank; 
  • Yo Yo Ma;
  • Sean "P. Diddly" Combs; 
  • Katharine Graham - Pulitzer prize-winning author and former owner & editor of the Washington Post (Now portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie The Post.)
  • George Clooney;
  • Jackie Kennedy; 
  • Devi Sridhar - the youngest ever American Rhodes Scholar, author, Oxford research fellow and lecturer on global health politics
  • Helen Keller; 
  • Beyonce;
  • Joan Cusack - Academy Award nominated actress;
  • Erik Erikson - psychologist and author
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, and
  • a number of Nobel Prize and Grammy Award Winners

Click here to read about the Montessori elementary, middle school, and secondary curriculum and Learning Communities at Odyssey Heights School for Girls.