Be part of the Kiddie Toes Montessori School Family!

Our elementary level follows the Progressive Education Method. We also use the Singapore Math Curriculum.

The Progressive Education’s main objective is to educate the "whole child" (physical, emotional and intellectual)

• Emphasis on learning by doing (experiential learning)
• Integrated curriculum focused on thematic units
• Strong emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking
• Group work and development of social skills
• Collaborative and cooperative learning projects
• Education for social responsibility and democracy
• Integration of community service and service learning projects into the daily curriculum
• Selection of subject content by looking forward to ask what skills will be needed in future society
• De-emphasis on textbooks in favor of varied learning resources
• Emphasis on life-long learning and social skills

School facilities

- Airconditioned classrooms
- Highly qualified Teachers
- Imported learning materials
- English as the medium of instruction
- Spacious play area
- Ideally located in the center of the city
- Comfortable waiting area

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Students Prosper with Montessori Method

By David Biello
Friday, September 29, 2006

Nearly 100 years ago, a physician opened a school in a poor section of Rome. In doing so, Maria Montessori went beyond being the first female doctor in Italy and became the pioneer of a new method of education. A curriculum based on close observations of children, the Montessori method includes an individualized curriculum and no grades, among other innovations. And a new study among children from Milwaukee seems to show that it delivers significant benefits over traditional public schools for the youngest students.

Psychologists Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia and Nicole Else-Quest, now at Villanova University, surveyed children who had participated in a random lottery to attend a public Montessori school in Milwaukee. A total of 112 children (and their parents) elected to participate in the study in exchange for $100; 53 kids who "lost" that lottery and attended typical public schools were compared with 59 who "won" and attended Montessori schools. Surveys showed that the parents had similar incomes--ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 a year--and, because all had enrolled in the lottery, had presumably desired a Montessori education. "This strategy addressed the concern that parents who seek to enroll their children in a Montessori school are different from parents who do not," the psychologists write in the paper presenting their findings in the September 29 issue of Science.

Lillard and Else-Quest tested one set of children after completing primary education, at around five years old. Although ethnicity data was not collected, the majority of the students were African-American, according to Lillard. On a variety of tests, ranging from letter-word identification to math, these Montessori kids outscored their public school counterparts. When confronted with social issues, such as another child hoarding a swing, they more commonly resorted to reasoning--43 percent to 18 percent. And on tests of so-called executive function--the ability to adapt to changing rules that increase in complexity--Montessori children again outperformed their peers.

But these gains at an early age did not seem to translate directly to an older cohort of 12-year-olds that the researchers also tested; both Montessori and regularly schooled children performed equally well on the skills tests. But the older Montessori children did write better essays, based on blinded ratings by Lillard and a graduate student. "We don't know if these 12-year-olds, when they were five-year-olds, were more advanced or not," Lillard says. "What is notable regardless is that they're not doing worse than their peers despite the fact that they weren't being tested repeatedly on multiple-choice-type tests." The researchers also note that the 12-year-olds may have suffered from the newness of the Montessori school in their early education, as the method often relies on peer teaching.

Lillard plans to continue following these students throughout their academic lives to assess the overall effect, as well as expanding the study to new schools in new places and different income levels. She will also be assessing what specific parts of the Montessori method deliver these improvements. "This was very authentically implemented Montessori," she says. "It's actually a fairly small percentage of schools that are this strict. How much can you change Montessori and still have these outcomes? Or what are the most important practices?"


Friday, November 5, 2010

The Tendencies of Humans

Throughout history, humans have relied on their ingenuity and adaptability for survival. Regardless of race, country, or culture, people follow similar patterns of exploration, inventiveness, and creativity. After years of careful observation, Maria Montessori was able to identify eleven important tendencies that compel human beings to construct and refine the world around them.

What do we mean by the word "tendency"? One dictionary defines it as "A predisposition to think, act, behave, or proceed in a particular way". The following characteristics are ones that we display before we even know what they are; we do them naturally and instinctively. In Montessori philosophy, they are the key to understanding how and why a Montessori classroom calls out to the very soul of the child.

Here are the tendencies of humans as defined by Maria Montessori:

Orientation. Human beings want to know their relationship to the environment around them. When children enter a new environment, they often want to look at and touch everything around them. They enjoy knowing "where" they fit in - from learning their address to finding their country and continent on a map.

Order. People prefer order to chaos and confusion. Order brings predictability and security. There are two kinds of order: external and internal. An orderly classroom (external) helps children to have orderly thoughts (internal).

Exploration. Our earth is filled with wonderful sounds, scents, textures, tastes, and colors. Children are naturally curious, and love to use their senses to learn more about the fascinating world around them.

Communication. Humans delight in conveying thoughts, feelings, and information to each other. Various types of communication include the written and spoken word, touch, facial expressions, gestures, art, music, and dance. Communication is the link of understanding between people, both face-to-face and from generation to generation.

Activity. People generally like to stay busy. For children, movement can be enjoyed for its own sake, rather than always having a goal or end product in mind. Even children who have very little to play with will find ways to be active through games, songs, dance, and pretend play.

Manipulation. Humans need to take hold of their environment to understand it. It is the next step after exploration: once you have found something interesting, you will quite naturally want to use it in some way. This is how the concept of "tools" began.

Work. Humans feel worthwhile through their work. Work leads to a feeling of accomplishment and self-respect. Maria Montessori believed that it was through work that a child constructed his true self, free of defect or misbehavior.

Repetition. This occurs when a child repeats a task over and over again. Oftentimes it is with the intent to master the task, but even after mastery occurs, a child may continue to repeat the activity for the sheer pleasure of doing so.

Exactness. Have you ever seen a child get upset because something was put back in the wrong place? Or watched them line up their blocks neatly before building a tower? Instinctively, humans seek to be precise in their work. Doing something exactly right brings enormous satisfaction.

Abstraction. This is truly the characteristic that sets us apart from animals. We are able to visualize events that have not yet occurred; we are able to feel and express emotions that are not tangible. We can imagine something that exists only in our minds, and then take the steps to make it happen.

Perfection. All of the tendencies culminate in this one. Once we have explored, manipulated, and worked in our environment, we can perfect our activities. In doing so, we are masters of our own minds and bodies as well as the tasks we set out to do.

Once we are aware of the underlying forces that compel human development, we will recognize them everywhere. The tendencies of humans are what compel babies to put everything they find into their mouths. They are the reason that a young child wants to know how things are made, and why children are filled with wonder when they enter a forest. They are the reason for our appreciation of a finely-crafted piece of furniture or a beautiful painting; we recognize the repetition that went into the mastery and finally perfection of a difficult skill.

The prepared environment (i.e., the Montessori classroom with its carefully chosen and beautifully arranged materials) is built around these tendencies. Because of this, Montessori teachers do not need to force their students to work; children are naturally drawn to the materials because they appeal to their instinctive drives. For example, the environment is safe and secure, filled only with items that can be touched and manipulated by the child. Work is neat, orderly, and accessible; this encourages exactness and exploration.

Today's child unconsciously displays the same traits that early humans did, and without realizing it, we often stand in the way of their exploration and manipulation because it is an inconvenience to us. When we are able to remove any hindrances to a child's natural tendencies, the child will flourish and likely surprise us with their pursuit of knowledge, their innovative thinking, and their limitless curiosity.
If you'd like additional information, Mario Montessori, Jr. (Maria's grandson) gave a lecture entitled "Tendencies of Man" that was published as a small booklet in 1956.