We want our children to WANT to learn and have fun while doing so. We approach this goal in two ways; first by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by her/his own choice rather than being forced; and second, by helping her/him to perfect all her/his natural tools for learning, so that her/his ability will be at a maximum in future learning situations. Our materials have this dual long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child. That is why we LOVE this philosophy of learning. Welcome to St. Patrick Preschool!!
In 1989, Sr. Anne Lorraine choose to add a Montessori program to the already existing Educare program that was available to the preschool aged children. The children each spent about two hours in the Montessori classroom and the remainder of the day in the childcare rooms. Sr. Anne Lorraine retired in 1991 and Pamela Mewes was named Director, then Mrs. Rhonda Gear became the Director for the Montessori and Childcare center. During this time the infant and toddler program opened up in the Childcare building, therefore the Montessori program moved into the “big school”. In 2007-2008 Mrs. Jessica Ford was the Child Care director. Mrs. Kelly Buchanan came to St. Patrick’s in August of 2009 as a Montessori teacher as well as the Montessori Director. Mrs. Cynthia Rivas followed in 2011. In 2012, Mrs. Debbie Bayless became the Director.
Confronted by increasing evidence that children younger than five can benefit from exposure to learning, educators in growing numbers now believe that effective education must start in the third or fourth year. Over 90 years ago, Maria Montessori, the first woman to earn a medical degree from an Italian University, had already said the same thing.
Dr. Maria Montessori began to develop techniques, facilities, and apparatus to educate children. She developed what she called the “prepared environment,” an environment that already possesses a certain order, and the child is urged to develop at his or her own speed according to individual capacities in a non- competitive atmosphere, in the first year of school. “Never let a child risk failure, until he has a reasonable chance of success,” said Dr. Montessori, understanding the necessity for acquisition of a basic skill before its use a competitive learning situation. The years between three and six are the years that a child most easily learns the ground rules of human behavior.
Education, to Dr. Montessori, was a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skill. “The child of two and a half, three, four and five,” she said, “has one intuitive aim: his/her self-development.” Children desperately want to develop their inner resources, their abilities to cope with a strange, complex world. They want to do and see and learn for themselves through their own senses and not through the eyes of an adult. The child who accomplishes this, moves into harmony with his world.
The method by which children are taught in the Montessori school might well be “structured learning.” Since the children have learned to work by themselves, in the prepared environment, enjoying the presence of other children, but not working necessarily directly with them, the Montessori directress is able to work with a child individually. Classes are ungraded and arranged by groups of ages. The structure of Montessori learning involves the use of many materials, primarily in four basic instruction area: practical life, sensory development, language, and mathematics. At every step of his learning, the teaching material is designed to test his/her understanding and to correct his/her errors.
A child knows at once if he/she has done his/her job properly. If the child does it incorrectly, he/she is able to work his/her way toward the solution without dependence on an adult. Some of these concrete-learning aids allow a child to take the first slow steps toward understanding abstract ideas. What is the letter “A”? What does the word “triangle” really mean? He/she can pluck a metal triangle from, a tray and feel its shape.
Dr. Montessori recognized that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child. Children move themselves toward learning. The teacher prepares the environment, directs the activity, functions as the authority, offers the child stimulation, but it is the child who learns, who is motivated through himself to persist in his/her given task.
Small, child-sized tables and chairs stand alone or in small groups. A youngster may sit at one of them or sprawl on a floor mat. The child works at a job he selects and remains with it as long as he wants. He/she progresses only as he learns.
The teacher moves from child to child, working with individuals and occasionally with small groups. Although children talk and walk around at will, their absorption makes the typical classroom quiet. Everyone works with a concentration rarely seen in children. Discipline is firm and consistent.
The child who enters Montessori class for the first time begins to work on a wide range of activities related to real life as diverse as working with real snaps and bows, learning to serve water, scrub his hands, clean his work area when he is finished, and moving his chair quietly when sitting and rising. These jobs are not intended solely to teach a youngster domestic chores. “The child experiences joy at each fresh discovery,” said Dr. Montessori. “His satisfaction encourages him to seek new sensations and discoveries.” Preparation for such tasks is in the spirit of Dr. Montessori’s edict: “Teach the importance of doing even the smallest task well.” Through his expanding abilities gained in these early assignments, a child begins to see order apparent in confusion. Children begin to acquire the independence that comes with working with oneself. They begin to learn how to start and finish a job. Perhaps most important, they begin to understand what they can do.
If the Montessori child is free to learn, it is because he/she has acquired from his /her exposure to both physical and mental order, an “inner discipline.” This is the core of Dr. Montessori’s educational philosophy. Patterns of concentration, stick-to-it-tiveness, and thoroughness, established in early childhood assist in the production confident and competent learner in later years.
The average Montessori child can study independently, select his/her free-time activities and work with interest and concentration for extremely long periods. The child has developed an inner confidence in his ability and serenity seemingly beyond his years. This is what Dr. Montessori intended. More than anything, she was a reformer. “Free a child’s potential,” she said, “and you will transform him and the world.”
Our Montessori-styled program introduces children to the joy of leaning at an early age and provides a framework in which intellectual and social discipline go hand-in-hand.
A child may be enrolled 5 days per week
Morning: 8:00-11:00 a.m. or Afternoon: 12:00- 3:00p.m.
In a richly prepared environment, the young child has the opportunity to absorb a multitude of information progressing at his own rate. The Montessori materials encourage the child to develop and expand his/her knowledge from a concrete foundation in practical life and sensorial experiences to abstract knowledge in math, language and the cultural studies.
1. A favorable, positive attitude toward learning and toward school. Initial school experiences, unless carefully designed in keeping with psychological developments and interests of the child, can produce negative attitudes and lasting distaste for learning and study.
2. Habits and skills are essential in becoming an efficient student. These basics include the development of habits of concentration, order, initiative, creative self -expression, cooperation, and of persistence.
3. Self-confidence as an independent learner. If a child lacks confidence that he/she can achieve, he/she lacks the courage to try. Montessori classes provide appropriately designed learning tasks and materials geared to each child’s level of learning readiness, which assure success and the consequent rewarding sense of achievement which prompts further effort.
4. Ability to perceive clearly. Clear concepts of the world in which the child lives constitutes the foundations of further learning. A clear mental grasp of objects (similarities and differences) in the child’s environment sharpen his interest, thus awakening internal motivation.
Arrival and Dismissal
Arrival: Please make your child’s arrival to school consistent and on time (door will open at 8am and 12pm for afternoon children). Try to establish a familiar routine, which can ease separation.
Dismissal: All children must be picked up by parent or any persons designated in the emergency card. If a relative or friend will be picking up your child, please let our staff know by written note or telephone call. If an emergency arises, a telephone call to our office will alert staff and child that other plans will be made for the child’s transportation from school.
8am: Drop off child at Classroom
8:05-8:20: Gathering time (songs, stories, prayer, calendar etc.)
8:20-10:20: Montessori work time
10:20-10:25: Gathering time (recess dismissal)
10:30-10:50: Outside time or inside movement
10:55-11:00: Prayer and dismissal for day.
12pm: Drop off child at Classroom
12:05-12:20: Gathering time (songs, stories, prayer, calendar etc.)
12:20-2:20: Montessori work time
2:20-2:25: Gathering time (recess dismissal)
2:30-2:50: Outside time or inside movement
2:55-3:00: Prayer and dismissal for day.