The Montessori Classroom is highly structured. The choices that students are encouraged to make are very clear. These specific rules teach the student how to move through, and manage the environment (classroom).
Respect for self, respect for others and respect for the environment are the basis for the rules. At Palm Harbor Montessori Academy, we have high expectations for our students. Each student must have a sense of independence and responsibility to be able to manage in the Montessori environment successfully.
The teachers at Palm Harbor Montessori observe the students constantly. Along with observation comes working one on one with each child and this enables the teachers to informally assess each student’s progress. The teachers prepare the environment and then guide the student to the materials that are best suited for them that day. The materials are all very well structured and sequenced in every environment. The structure in the environment contributes to the student’s freedom of choice and there is a constant balance between the student’s choice and the teacher’s direction. The teacher decides when to intercede or direct a student’s activity. The teachers base their decision on each student’s development.
Guidelines are given for the use of Montessori Materials. These guidelines encourage the student to make quality choices. The student may use certain materials after they have had a “lesson” with the teacher. The students are encouraged to practice these activities and are free to “choose their work”. The activity (work) is taken to a mat or a table, thus defining the student’s workplace. The student’s workplace is never disrupted or used by other students. The student then shows his or her work to the teacher. The materials act as diagnostic tools for the teacher to understand what lessons the student is ready to receive. This method also nurtures independent thinking and learning.
Students at Palm Harbor Montessori Academy are independent learners and are expected to remember two basic things when it comes to choosing their work:
- A lesson from the teacher gives the student freedom to choose that particular work.
- The student shows the teacher his or her work after completion or before putting it away. The teacher decides when to assist the child and the child is encouraged to ask for help whenever needed.
When students make choices, they become involved in their work at a deeper level than when someone else tells them what to do. By following the rules and guidelines, and respecting others, all the students are given the freedom to make choices. Thus, the self-discipline that is acquired naturally follows. Granted there are times when the teacher makes the decisions and choices for individuals and the class. This guidance from the teachers is constant in order to keep the environment balanced and a place for all to learn at their own level. Observing a classroom, one will find older students helping to guide the younger students, which is another enriching experience for all. The students at Palm Harbor Montessori Academy respect one another and look to others for guidance making the community an incredibly peaceful and kind environment.
All the wonderful techniques taught in the Montessori Classrooms lead to cooperation, respect and success. We encourage you to visit our campus and observe a classroom in order to see for yourself the wonderful education your child can receive at Palm Harbor Montessori Academy.