The first duty of the educator…is to recognize the human personality of the younger being and respect it.
— Dr. Maria Montessori
Letter from Sharon Glasson, Owner and Operator of Montessori Children
I appreciate you, a parent taking the time to research schools in order to make the best choice of school placement for your child. I’m happy that you have found Montessori Children—“Young Minds of the Future” and I would like to share my personal story in order to help you in the process of reaching your decision on such an important step in your child’s “early educational foundation.”
I’m a parent, not unlike you, who was looking at various preschools for my then 3 year old son. I needed to return back to work after giving birth to our then newborn daughter, and in need of a few hours of child care. At the time I was a Production Manager with 25 years experience working for Estée Lauder at the time. I did not know much about Montessori education but as a concerned parent we hoped to find a preschool that envisioned the children as a young adult , who’s desire was to see the children become a contributing member of society who has: competence—confidence—compassion—self respect. I didn’t want him to be in an environment that was not stimulating enough (play/daycare).
The Montessori Classroom
On my first visit to a Montessori School, I was very impressed by all of the calm and purposeful activities for the children in the Montessori classroom. I immediately experienced the feeling of a loving/caring relationship between the teacher and the children, as well as orderliness and peacefulness in the classroom. I made my choice based on my “Motherly Instinct.” Something about this school, at the time, gave me a sense of relief…as if this is what I was in search of; at that point I did not fully get or understood what a Montessori school truly consisted of.
After enrolling my son, I was not disappointed at all—in fact, I was impressed. I was impressed in the joy of learning, rapid language, math development, and accomplishment of activities that my son has displayed. In June of 2008 my son graduated from his Montessori preschool. During the summer of 2009, I went back to enroll my then 2 1/2 year old daughter in the same Montessori school. Once again, in need of some child care, I had come to a cross road in my own life-looking to change my career. I wanted to find a career working with children.
My Montessori Teaching Journey
After telling my daughter’s teacher about my plan to change careers, she invited me to observe a class and asked me to consider becoming a certified Montessori teacher. After learning a little bit more about Montessori and observing a class, I felt as if the “light bulb” was just turned on for me as the parent not even thinking as a teacher. I became interested that I was constantly asking my daughter’s teacher, Kathy Finkmann, questions. Mrs. Finkmann was happy to show me the Montessori materials and share with me how she and her Montessori teachers, combined with the materials, taught my young children these skills so easily. I realized I would not be able to get the same results in my then planned journey to continue my education as an aspiring elementary school teacher. Realizing if Dr. Montessori theory was true: once the opportunity to teach a young child is gone—it is gone! The window of opportunity to educate the child is during the preschool years. This is when to lay down the foundation and the love for learning. The light bulb became brighter for me. I then decided to take the Montessori teacher training course given to me by Mrs. Kathy Finkmann.
I later found out that Mrs. Finkmann was trained by Mrs. Laskshmi Kripilani, who was trained by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. That in itself was thrilling! I’m proud to say, Mrs. Finkmann is still part of my life as an esteemed directress, mentor, and consultant.
I found that the Montessori philosophy and method of teaching exceeded the traditional teaching. Montessori classrooms are not divided by age; the children are in mixed age groupings with purpose. Socially the children naturally accept each other’s differences. The older children display compassion, as well as leadership qualities. The younger children can see from their peers what they will later be able to do themselves, which creates motivation and enthusiasm. The trained teachers are skilled at developing specific lessons based on the child’s individual abilities and interests. The Montessori Classroom and the individualized instruction are in opposition to traditional preschool teachings.
Traditional teaching presents one lesson to the class, which is separated by the age of the children. This widespread technique ignores individual differences. The Montessori teaching materials are concrete and manipulative representations for the abstract to the concrete reading and math skills.
The children love doing the work in the Montessori Classroom and are able to excel at their own personal and “natural rate of readiness.” The children are not held back from learning because of their age.
The Montessori Approach to Childhood Education
During my internship at The Children’s Montessori Center is where I learned how to direct each child to discover and develop his or her unique talents and possibilities. Experiencing no two children will learn at the same pace, nor will they necessarily learn best from the same teaching methods, and the goal is to be flexible and creative in addressing each child as a unique individual. The children discover their own innate abilities and develop a strong sense of independence, self-confidence, and self-discipline. In this atmosphere in which the children learn at their own pace and compete only against themselves; they learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. They quickly find that few things in life come easily, and they can try again without fear of embarrassment. The Montessori materials have built in control of error aiding the child to correct themselves.
One way of thinking about the difference between this approach and one that is more traditional is to consider that while learning the right answer may get children through school, learning how to become a life-long independent learner will take them anywhere! The lessons are designed where children learn by doing it. The experience is where the child is able to experience the feeling of success. It’s the old motto of:
Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I will remember.
Let me do it and I will understand.
Children learn through experience!
Every activity in a Montessori preschool has a specific purpose, and a good Montessori teacher will be able to explain thoroughly their purposes. Children will rarely sit at a desk and do repetitive or menial busy work—they will be playing and learning through the prepared materials. The children are learning to think, observe, and reflect.
Again rather than presenting the children with loads of right answers, the teacher needs to ask the right questions and lead the children to discover the answers for themselves. I have learned to let the children experiencing for him or herself will become its own reward and each success will fuel their desire to discover even more. Believing the child comes into the world with their own unique plan for life and that it is the child who will unfold before us…revealing their own place in live. During my internship, experiencing the power of the Montessori classroom and how it is specifically designed to enrich these periods with developmentally appropriate activities that feed into those special times of intense focus and concentration. The Montessori classroom is commonly referred to as a prepared environment. This name reflects the care and attention that is given to creating a learning environment that will reinforce the children’s independence and intellectual development. The teacher’s role is to continue to build upon that inspiring tradition. Once I witnessed the children experiencing this feeling of success, I knew this is where I wanted and needed to be. This should be in every child’s life! There are not enough Montessori preschools in the world and we need to have this type of preschool in our communities. As an educator, it is extremely exciting to watch the children grasp difficult concepts and continue to improve and expand their knowledge. A quality Montessori educational facility brings out behaviors and beliefs within your child which leads him or her to become an “independent thinker” having a lifelong love of learning. You will personally experience your child’s early years spent in a Montessori school will have been tremendously valuable to last throughout your child’s lifetime.
I’m proud to say that my once “3 year old little boy and girl” who brought Montessori into our lives, are the “inspiration” to own and operate this Montessori preschool. Montessori Children–Young Minds of the Future supports “Teach them well and let them lead the way!” We strive to give this excellent “Early Childhood Experience” to our current children and future children. As well as being a certified Montessori teacher, a mom of two Montessori children, I am personally thankful and couldn’t be happier to bring a Montessori education to your children, your grandchildren, and the community. Again Dr. Montessori teaches: once the opportunity to teach a young child is gone—it’s gone! My trained staff and prepared environment will not miss this window of opportunity to expand the young minds of the future.
I take great pride in providing the children with quality education. Montessori Children preschool emphasizes a balance between the child’s academic learning with their social and emotional growth. At every age level, great care is taken to provide the appropriate environment to support the child in all areas of development.
Schedule a Tour
You can also call us at 631-320-3030 to schedule a visit when class is in session.
We look forward to meeting you and your child!
Our Morning Program Hours:
9:30am – 12:00pm
Monday to Friday
Our Afternoon Program Hours:
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
Visit Montessori Children of Port Jefferson!
Call 631-320-3030 to arrange a tour of our school anytime during regular operating hours.
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