To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible.
In 1907, Italy’s first female physician turned educator, Maria Montessori, opened the Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) in a low-income district of Rome. Building upon existing educational theories, Dr. Montessori developed a unique teaching philosophy which was holistic in nature. Fundamental to this approach is the idea that a child possesses their greatest capacity to learn in the early years of life (from birth to six years old).
Dr. Maria Montessori did all the heavy lifting of creating a completely new way of looking at young children. Like many jewel-like things of beauty, this practical application of her work is wonderfully simple.
The Montessori method is a child-centered educational approach, based on scientific observations and has been time-tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. Montessori classrooms are beautifully crafted environments designed to meet and fulfill all the educational and developmental needs of your child.
At Gift of Grace, we have adopted the high standards and integrity of this teaching method and we strive to nurture, at all levels, each child’s individual strengths and interests. Our preschool is furnished with sets of low shelves and child sized tables and chairs. There are flowers and works of art, and everything is aesthetically pleasing and organized. On the shelves are a huge variety of interesting, self-contained materials for the children to use. Children move freely, making their own choices about what they want to work with and whether to work alone or with other children. They set out rugs and mats to create work areas, and then bring materials to their work areas to use. When finished, they put the material back in the same spot on the shelf where they found it. Children follow a few simple rules that encourage them to respect each other and share the space and materials constructively. Teachers wander among them, demonstrating materials, guiding children as needed, and working with children individually or in small groups. The atmosphere is busy, rich in opportunities for all kinds of fun work, and the children largely manage themselves. Following Montessori’s approach means following and guiding the child. As Montessori observed, children will teach us if we just observe and listen. Children can follow their own paths using the same space and equipment; and learn social skills in a natural way. Their development as individuals is encouraged, not molded to fit adult designed, one-size-fits-all lesson plans. Montessori activities help children experience the thrill of succeeding through their own motivations. Isolating activities and skills helps children develop concentration. The entire setup shows respect for the child. The Prepared Environment truly is a “help to life,” as Montessori intended.
At Gift of Grace, we expose children to the world in many ways and encourage them to become independent. We help life. We follow the child.