General Information

Montessori Philosophy:

In the early 1900s, Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female medical doctor in Italy, developed a comprehensive and world renowned system of education [from birth to adulthood] that uses careful observation of a child’s needs and development as a way to assess and offer him/her developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction.

Montessori education is characterized by:
• A child-centered, individualized and hands-on curriculum;
• The classroom as a “prepared environment” which encourages independence, freedom within limits and a sense of order.
• Specially designed, hands-on materials that enable students to self-correct as they learn. • Multi-age groupings/classrooms that foster peer learning and concept mastery.

In this educational environment, children are allowed to develop at their own, natural pace and specially trained teachers help guide them toward discovery with materials designed to cultivate concentration, motivation, self- discipline and a love of learning.

Today, the Montessori method is used worldwide in both public and private settings, educating children from birth through highschool. There are over 4, 000 Montessori schools in the United States, just over 200 of them are public.

Nature-Based Education:

Nature-based education uses a hands-on approach to experiencing the natural world. Nature-based education is learning about nature, and also learning through nature. Through active work and learning play in natural environments, children learn about themselves, their peers, and the world in which they live.

Many influential philosophers of education have placed experiential learning by and through nature at the heart of their arguments. These philosophers include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Pestalozzi, John Dewey and Kurt Hahn. In addition, Maria Montessori herself advocated for elements of a nature-based approach.

Education research in the last few decades supports these philosophical arguments for a nature-based approach, especially for children aged 4-12. Working and playing in natural environments is a universally preferred activity for all children across cultures. It increases a child’s motor skills, collaboration and creativity. These same children have greater ability to concentrate, act autonomously and resist life stresses. They also show a greater tendency toward empathetic and compassionate interactions with their peers and other adults. And as they mature, these children are more likely to develop caring attitudes toward the environment, and more likely to develop positive environmental life habits.

Nature-based education changes the way that children approach learning. It energizes students to learn in all subject areas, and it empowers them to become active explorers of their own world.

WHAT

HOW

WHY

Create a dynamic learning environment for children.

By utilizing our local and surrounding natural resources.

To integrate every academic discipline including science and maths, language arts, foreign language, history, geography, social studies and the arts.

Develop an environmentally literate learning community.

By promoting experiences where students create and develop real-world projects that enable them to apply new skills across content areas.

To nurture the natural leader in each child and to foster their skills, grow their knowledge-base and ability to make well- informed, meaningful choices.

Provide an academic experience above and beyond the NH Core Curriculum.

By fully embracing the Montessori Scope and Sequence in all aspects of the school’s approach to learning, and by incorporating nature-based learning practices.

To instill in our students a love of learning, using relevant and meaningful lessons and activities that encourage the use of critical and creative thought.

Address the needs of the “whole child”—emotional, social, cognitive, physical and sensorial.

Through Montessori’s focus on individualized education and a ‘follow the child’ moniker.

So as to recognize the unique pace at which each child moves through her/his learning process.

In its approach to education, MVCS will “follow the child” using Montessori methodology.

Through careful observation, classroom instructors will follow the natural pace of each child as they work toward mastery of a concept.

Among other things, Montessori education combines freedom with responsibility, a more active role for the children in their own learning, high standards for academic excellence, social awareness and moral development.

Nurture executive functioning skills (organization, adaptability, initiative, memory, planning, self-monitoring, etc.)

Develop individual work plans, with student/teacher collaboration.

To support children in their work toward assuming responsibility for their own learning.

Inspire naturalist intelligence.

By embedding the natural world into every aspect of the curriculum, children will be encouraged to develop reverence and a sense of stewardship for the earth and all its inhabitants.

To increase self-awareness and the importance of whole community learning. The outdoors is proven to reduce stress and improve cognitive, social and health benefits in children

Offer education appealing to a variety of learning styles—kinesthetic, visual, tactile, social, auditory, etc.

“The hand teaches the mind.” Provide hands-on classroom materials and engaging lessons that exact “total child involvement.”

Providing classroom materials and resources developed for the Montessori approach will help learners—of all styles and ability—reach their highest potential.

The Goal of Integrating these Approaches:

Nature experiences reduce many barriers to learning, including stress and attention deficit, which encouraging the full use of the senses. A cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy is its focus on sensorial education, making the combination of these approaches supreme. This integrated approach to learning emphasizes the child’s relationship to the natural world thereby promoting respect for the environment, the self and our global community.

Academic skills

  • Real world hands-on experiences to support core academic training, particularly in science and maths.
  • Enrichment of core curriculum in language arts through introduction of new learning landscapes.
  • Decreased absenteeism and discipline problems.
  • Outdoor classrooms are an appropriate arena to introduce children to the interconnections that linknature to economic systems and society.
  • Research has proven that children who spend time in nature experience increased levels of academicsuccess and enhanced problem solving skills.

Personal development (mental and physical)

  • To add a sense of excitement, adventure, emotional impact and aesthetic appreciation to learning. • To improve nutrition, diet and health.
  • To teach the art and science of cooking with fresh products from the garden or local farms.
  • To re-establish the celebratory nature of a shared meal.

Social and moral development

  • To teach sustainable development.
  • To teach ecological literacy and/or environmental education.
  • To teach the joy and dignity of work.
  • To teach respect for public and private property.
  • Reduces anti-social behavior such as violence, bullying, vandalism, and littering.
  • Vocational and/or subsistence skills
  • To teach basic skills and vocational competencies.
  • To produce food and other commodities for subsistence consumption and trade.

Life skills

  • To engage children in community service and environmental care.
  • To involve students in lessons of leadership and decision-making.
  • To introduce and nurture executive functioning skills.

Community development

  • Teaching community dialogue, capacity building, and partnerships.
  • Learning to organize individuals for action.