A Community of Passionate Educators and Learners in Geneva and French border area.
From the Absorbent Mind to the Reasoning Mind
Where has the little absorbent mind child who discovered everything around him gone? Well, he has metamorphosed into a reasoning child. The reasoning mind creates a need of increasing abstraction and intellectualization in the child. He is no longer satisfied with the closed environment in the first plane of development of the 0-6 year old. He needs to expand his environment to satisfy his mental development, his sense of imagination, his social, spiritual and moral development.
The primary aged child has a new state of mind that Maria Montessori described as the reasoning child. He/She needs a larger field of action so that he can begin to answer not only his new preoccupations (morality, imagination, concerns about the world surrounding him) but also is intellectual and emotional development (need for social integration, slow separation from the family circle, increasing need for abstraction, research for origins and intellectual curiosity).
Primary Montessori education is global, which allows the child to understand he is part of society and of the universe. This education also has the objective to continue to develop autonomy in his learning and critical thinking.
The general basis is for the interdependence and interconnection of all of the subject matters taught. The primary materials will help the child in learning easily complex concepts and will bring him towards abstraction in each of the subject matters: mathematics, French, sciences, geography, art and history. German is also be part of our program.
The curriculum of the French department of Education is respected.
I have heard that the Montessori Pedagogy is only for children in Pre-K and Kindergarden. Is that true? The Montessori environment and its benefits of developing self esteem, autonomy, social intelligence, in addition to the academic development, is also the basis of the Montessori elementary program. The elementary aged child is curious by nature. He's more and more open to his environment and his desire to discover. The elementary program, while respecting the academic advancement of each student, also proposes to think and reflect for himself, while consolidating autonomy, self-esteem and social intelligence.
Since the Montessori Pedagogy follows the rythm of the child, how can I be sure that my son/daughter is actually advancing? Following the rythm of the child does mean to let the student wander about or fall behind. We observe the child to best define how to accompany their learning of the different notions presented. We base our approach on the multiple intelligences a student can have and that learning strategies are different for each. It is important for us to accompany each student in identifying their strengths and own learning strategies. We regularly communicate with the parents in order to inform the advancement of their child and we send an academic report corresponding to school holiday periods.
I heard that children in the Montessori elementary program do not have the same level as the traditional system... To follow the rythm of the child is certainly a necessity in order to have self confidence and to grow. However, it does not mean to dawdle. The program of the department of Education is embedded in the curriculum and also follows a three-year cycle. On different levels, the Montessori student will surpass the requirements of the official program of the department of education, with motivation and engagement as the environment greatly contributes both.
Why isn't there any homework or grades in the elementary program? The Montessori student only needs to worry about exploring, discovering and setting their own challenges while learning and having fun! This creates intrinsic motivation as opposed to working for grades, tests and evaluations. The purpose is to develop a love of learning, of discovering more and learning more all the while daring to surpass themselves. This is a base to allow these future adults to apprehend their social and professional life with energy. The work carried out during the school day is enough to attain those goals.
How is the level of knowledge controlled in a Montessori elementary classroom? Without homework, grades or tests, it can seem difficult to evaluate the levels of the students. The teachers are actually evaluating continuously by working closely with the students each day, everyday. Whether it is during the lessons or during the times the students are working on those lessons, we are by their to monitor and observe. Regular revisions of previoulsy presented lessons is also a way to see the comprehension levels of each student. We are also available for students to come to us if they need something to be re-explained.
I am concerned that my child will not be able to transition into the traditional system after the elementary years, so I prefer to only enroll him for the pre-K and Kindergarden. this is a common and frequent concern expressed by parents. The transition from one system to another will require a phase of adaptation, which can be easy or more difficult. The feedback we hear from our elementary student graduates is that it is progressive as former students remark there is a different way of working and organising. Given they are autonomous and with a high level capacity of adaptation which is emphasized in our school, they understand and simply adapt to their new environment and way of doing things. There are several steps in their transition; first to find their marks, then accept the new constraints and rules, such as staying in their seats and that the level of individual attention is less. And at the same time, our students leave with tools, strengths and richness that will remain with them forever, which will help with the transition: high adaptation capacity, self-esteem, being responsible, curiosity, empathy and autonomy. All of these tools are in the toolbox for life!
Won't my child fall behind because there are younger children in the classroom? The mixed aged classroom is a basic, fundamental aspect in the Montessori pedagogy. It encourages to develop several essential competencies in child development such as: helping each other, respecting differences, socialisation, sense of responsibility and on top of that, inter-generational interactions of different age children favor learning. It creates an environment for emulation as the younger students want to imitate the older ones. For the older ones, they learn leadership skills in a respectful way. They consolidate their knowledge by assisting the younger ones in their learning process. Lifelong skills are developed as the students learn how to live together in a community and tapping into collective intelligence through collaboration and not in competition.
There are few children of the same age in the classroom, so this will be a restrained human environment for my child during these years. Given the mixed aged classroom, the human environment is continuously changing. Each school year, new students integrate the classroom and other graduate. The curiosity to get to know new students, and integrate them into the fabric of the class creates a sense of openess.
Why invest so much money by registering my child in a Montessori elementary program when traditional public education is free? It is true that private Montessori schools are expensive and can make up an important part of the family budget, especially when there are siblings. However, even public education is costly as one pays indirectly through taxes anywhere from 7,000 to 22,000 euros depending upon the level of education. Our school is a non profit organisation financed solely by tuition and registration fees. The fees are used to pay for expenses of running the school (rent, maintenance, salaries, materials, social charges etc.) We are absolutely convinced about the importance of this investment in a child's education. It is even more important than University years. During the elementary years, crititical thinking is encouraged in a Montessori classroom forming the future adult.
I cannot imagine how a Montessori classroom works, can I come to observe before I register my child? yes, absolutely, it is an important aspect of the registration process. Contact us for an appointment.