The Montessori Classroom
All of the programs at Hawk Meadow Montessori School incorporate mixed-age groupings (a tenet of Montessori philosophy), and the primary and elementary programs are based on a three-year cycle. Maria Montessori’s research demonstrated that children learn better when doing so in an environment of mixed-age peers, including older role models who serve as guides and mentors. Another advantage to this system is that the teachers spend three years with each child, so that they can truly experience the progression of each child, and help guide him or her in terms of academic, social and emotional development.
The main role of a Montessori teacher at any age level is to observe the child – to know what the child is interested in, what the child has mastered, and what to introduce to the child as a next lesson. Maria Montessori created materials that are pleasing to the eye, and that are meant to be manipulated with the hands and explored with all the senses. With these materials, a muscular memory of letter shapes, quantities and other concepts is instilled in the children using them.