The South County Montessori School is a state-approved, non-profit, incorporated body started in 1976 by a group of parents and teachers with the objective of providing the best possible early learning experience for young children in the community.
The school has grown from 20 to approximately 100 students but it has remained loyal to its original goals. The school has expanded beyond pre-school to include children through third grade, in recognition of the continuum which these years represent in a child’s education.
The school bases its educational programs upon the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator (1870-1952). Dr. Montessori, one of the pioneer investigators of child development, saw the early years of life as crucial to the future growth and functioning of the individual.
By carefully observing children, she evolved a learning theory which stressed the importance of each child’s learning for him/herself at his/her pace. She saw that a child’s growth is marked by “sensitive periods”, periods when he/she feels an inner drive to understand certain processes, whether it be the behavior of water, the use of letters and words, or musical sounds. She observed that learning is thorough, concentration intense, and enthusiasm great when a child can pursue activities to which he/she is at this time “sensitive”. Thus encouraged, the child acquires a positive attitude toward the pleasure of learning for its own sake, and learning becomes an active personal experience.
The school does not take a doctrinaire attitude to Montessori’s insights but views them as a basis from which to create the most appropriate educational philosophy, aimed at the development of the whole child, enabling him/her to grow in both physical and mental independence, self confidences and self discipline.
The Role of the Teacher
The teacher, as a warm, responding adult, assists the child in the learning process and establishes an atmosphere of friendly respect and tolerance among the children. He/she exercises control through the planning of the environment rather than through the control of the child’s behavior. He/she encourages children to set their own standards and to take risks both intellectually and socially. Each class has two teachers, at least one of whom is Montessori-certified.