"Children have a deep sense of personal dignity" ~ Maria Montessori
Just as the little child cries out "help me" to do it "by myself" through his actions,
so does the older child demonstrate the same need at successive levels of sophistication
as he grows... Education must be designed to fit the changing needs and personality
of the older learner."
“Control the environment, not the child.”
- Maria Montessori
"There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses."
At CMS we strive to guide our students to become self-confident and independent thinkers
who learn because they are interested in the world and enthusiastic about life.
We work to develop culturally literate children by nurturing their fragile sparks
of curiosity, creativity and intelligence. However our students master much more
than academics, such as learning grace and courtesy, care of the environment, control
of movement, precision set up and clean up, attention to detail, awareness of exactness,
sequencing, coordination, a sense of beauty and order, self-reliance and the responsibility
that comes with liberty.
Our classes at CMS allow a child to work with older children in one subject, younger
children in another, and still have social interaction with children his or her own
age. In this way the classroom is a more accurate reflection of the larger society
the children are preparing to enter.
At CMS, children settle in quite easily and find a comfortable role within the classroom
environment. They look forward to coming to school to work on their lessons and
to participate in our Montessori-based routine. This format helps the child to develop
inner connections with their activities while remaining focused. The rhythm of the
day provides our students with a calming and soothing atmosphere allowing the child
to experience a sense of accomplishment.
Success in the Montessori method here at CMS is in part defined by providing children
with a sense of belonging to a family and helping them learn to live harmoniously
with other human beings. Maria Montessori believed there was more to life than simply
the pursuit of wealth and power. According to her, the most important goals were
finding one's place in the world, having meaningful and fulfilling work , and developing
inner peace and depth of soul. These are the goals we share with the children, parents
and teachers who make up the Courthouse Montessori School family.
From the moment they begin to speak, children are driven by an innate desire to master
the skills of everyday life. "Me do it" is a refrain every parent hears, whether
it be to put on a shoe or pour their own drink.
In Practical Life* lessons, the child's drive to master the world is harnessed to
the maximum. With exercises such as pouring, spooning, and sorting, children learn
control of movement. These exercises also develop deep concentration and a sense
Repetition is one of the keys to success and children are free to repeat the tasks
over and over as long as their inner need dictates. They graduate to increasingly
more complex tasks as their attention to detail improves. Self control develops as
a result of the interest and concentration in this specially prepared environment.
Since the children work from their own choice without pressure or coercion, they
learn to make decisions as they develop both initiative and independence.
The Montessori method reveals the child as an enthusiast of order and intellectual
work, capable of concentration and eager to learn for the joy of learning.
Our Philosophy: C + M = S
Dr. Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy ever to become a doctor. She believed
we should "look to the child" to observe the way they approach the world. As she
applied her keen powers of observation, one discovery followed another, giving Montessori
an increasingly clear view of the mind of the child. She found that little children
were capable of long periods of quiet concentration, even though they rarely show
signs of it in everyday settings.
Dr. Montessori trained teachers to pay close attention to children's spontaneous
behavior, arguing that only in this way could a teacher know how to teach. Traditional
schools pay little attention to children as individuals and expect a child to adapt
to pre-set standards and curriculum.
In a Montessori classroom, a combination of three elements combines to develop the
child's maximum potential: 1) an observant teacher; 2) a carefully Prepared Environment;*
and 3) the child's own Absorbent Mind.
The classroom contains special manipulative materials designed for maximum appeal
and effectiveness which take advantage of children's natural tendency to experience
the world through their senses. At CMS, these specific Sensorial Materials* serve
to hone visual discrimination skills, develop abstract concepts such as superlatives
(big, bigger, biggest), and provide indirect preparation for writing and reading.
One of the cornerstones of the Montessori Method is the recognition of children's
urgency to learn specific activities at each stage in their development. These stages
which children pass through are called Sensitive Periods.* During these cycles the
child readily absorbs a particular type of knowledge often showing unusual aptitude
for that particular skill.
Some examples of sensitive periods:
Language acquisition birth to 18 mos.
Precision & coordination 2 1/2 to 4yrs.
Writing 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years
Social Graces 3 to 6 years
Numbers 4 to 5 years
Words leading to reading 4 to 5 years
*Terms marked with this asterisk were coined by Dr. Maria Montessori. Heralded as
the century's leading advocate for early childhood education, her research and studies
helped change the course of education.
Many elements of "modern" early childhood education have been adapted from Montessori's
theories. She is credited with the development of the open classroom, individualized
education, manipulative learning materials, and educational toys.