Our Mission

Mis Manos Montessori School strives to provide each child with a pleasant environment that is sensibly balanced between freedom and structure. Our carefully prepared materials meet the child’s natural needs for language, order, movement, refinement of the senses, and social graces. With the overall guidance from our Montessori trained teachers, Mis Manos Montessori School will bestow upon your child a strong foundation, enabling him/her to develop into a well-rounded, responsible, happy and fulfilled adult.

"We must give the child not only the world, but also a clear picture of 'mankind in the world'." ~ Maria Montessori

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The Purpose of Montessori Education

Dr. Maria Montessori believed no human being is educated by another person.  The child must do it themselves or it will never be done.  A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in the classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge.  Dr. Montessori felt, therefore, the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate the child's own natural desire to learn.

In Mis Manos Montessori School classroom this objective is approached in two ways: first, by allowing each child to experience the excitement of learning by the child's own choice rather than by being forced.  Second, by helping the child to perfect all their natural tools for learning, so the child's ability will be at a maximum in future learning situations.  The Montessori materials have this dual long-range purpose in addition to their immediate purpose of giving specific information to the child.

Parents should understand that a Montessori school is neither a baby-sitting service nor a play school that prepares a child for traditional kindergarten.  Rather, it is a unique cycle of learning designed to take advantage of the child's sensitive years between zero and six, when he can absorb information from an enriched environment.  A child who acquires the basic skills of reading and arithmetic in this natural way has the advantage of beginning his/her education without drudgery, boredom or discouragement.  By pursuing his/her individual interests in the Montessori classroom, he/she gains an early enthusiasm for learning, which is the key to his/her becoming a truly educated person.

The Montessori Program

PRACTICAL LIFE: The Practical Life area enhances the development of task organization and cognitive order through the care of self, care of the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy, and coordination of physical movement. The work chosen in this area gives each child independence and control over his own life by developing his muscles and coordinating his movements. The purpose of Practical Life exercises is to develop concentration, attention to detail, sequential actions, and good working habits that the child will carry throughout life.
 
SENSORIAL:The jobs found in the Sensorial area enable the child to order, classify, and describe sensory impressions. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, and smell. There is a certain joy for the child who discovers that his environment has order. This enables him to make order out of a multitude of experiences; hence, the learning process.
 
MATHEMATICS: The math area makes use of manipulative materials that enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, and memorization of basic facts. The child is introduced to the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through work with concrete materials that teach the concept of quantity, and each appropriate symbol matching that quantity. The exercises in the math area not only teach the child to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function.
 
LANGUAGE: According to Dr. Montessori, the evolution of language begins with the infant’s unique capacity to absorb language fragments which form the basis of her development. Language arts include oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics, and children's literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, and various presentations that first teach children the sounds of each letter symbol, followed by the matching of each sound with its accompanying symbol. After phonetic comprehension is mastered, reading development continues in a logical, sequential order. Reading is considered an individual skill and most of the children in class will be working at different levels. The child must be allowed and encouraged to develop intellectually at his/her own pace if the joy of learning is to remain long-term.
 
SCIENCES and CULTURAL ACTIVITIES: The Montessori environment exposes the child to basics in geography, history, and life sciences. The child learns that science is simply an investigation of his surroundings; and just how his surroundings affect him and the control he has over them. An introduction to simple land forms and geographic basics enables the child to begin to understand where he lives and the planet we live on.  Music, art, and movement education are part of the integrated cultural curriculum. By introducing these cultural staples, the Montessori classroom fosters individual expression and develops creativity in thinking and doing. The overall cultural curriculum stimulates within the child an awareness of the world in which she/he lives and the role we all play.

The Process of “Normalization”

In Montessori education, the term “normalization” has a specialized meaning. “Normal” does not refer to what is considered to be “typical” or “average” or even “usual”. “Normalization” does not refer to a process of being forced to conform. Instead, Maria Montessori used the terms “normal” and “normalization” to describe a unique process she observed in child development.

Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment suited to their needs, they blossom. After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process “normalization” and cited as “the most important single result of our whole work.”(1)

She went on to write:

Only “normalized” children, aided by their environment, show in their subsequent development those wonderful powers that we describe: spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others…. An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery… One is tempted to say that the children are performing spiritual exercises, having found the path of self-perfectionment and of ascent to the inner heights of the soul.(2)

E.M Standing, author of Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, lists these as the characteristics of “normalization”: love of order, love of work, spontaneous concentration, attachment to reality, love of silence and of working alone, sublimation of the possessive instinct, power to act from real choice, obedience, independence and initiative, spontaneous self-discipline, and joy. Montessori believed that these are truly “normal” characteristics of childhood, which emerge when children’s developmental needs are met.

When the child engages with the Montessori materials in total concentration for long periods of time, a transformation occurs. This transformation is what Dr. Maria Montessori calls “normalization”. It is a process that occurs over a period of time, usually three or four years and it requires the child’s total engagement with the Montessori materials.

(1&2- “The Absorbment Mind; 1949).

Mis Manos Montessori School, Tucson, AZ

Fundamental Differences between Montessori and Traditional Education

 

Montessori

 

Traditional

Respect for individual differences;   Emphasis on conforming to the group;
Self-motivation and child centered learning process;   Emphasis on grades, punishment or rewards as motivating factors;
Multi-age grouping whereby students learn “horizontally” from observation of other people’s work, directly or indirectly;   Students grouped chronologically to suit teachers’ pre-planned class activities;
Students learn at their own pace, free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish and according to personal enthusiasm;   Subjects are taught in lecture form and students must change activities and attend as a group all at the same time;
Students learn by practicing their subject matters in school with the supervision and assistance of the teacher as needed;   Students must practice on their own and be graded on “busy work” or home work that is often done without close monitoring;
The classroom is designed for the gathering of information and knowledge: the children are free to move and tire less;   Students work at assigned desks and passively sit and listen to lectures. The work period must be interrupted frequently;
Knowledge is acquired through the use of concrete materials, scientifically designed to enhance conceptual thinking and lead to abstraction;   Knowledge often consists of memorization of irrelevant information from abstract concepts unrelated to the child’s daily experience, rather than from hands on work
Testing is built into the method as the third period of the “three period lesson” and is applied routinely when the individual is ready. Materials aim at self-correction, repetition and competence.    Scheduled testing does not take into consideration the preparation of each individual. Students are intimidated and taught that passing is more important than knowing.
 

The Forgotten Citizen - Maria Montessori

"The Forgotten Citizen"
Parts from a Letter Written in 1947 and Sent to all Governments

My life has been spent in the research of truth. Through study of children I have scrutinised human nature at its origin both in the East and the West and although it is forty years now since I began my work, childhood still seems to me an inexhaustible source of revelations and - let me say - of hope.

Childhood has shown me that all humanity is one. All children talk, no matter what their race or their circumstances or their family, more or less at the same age; they walk, change their teeth, etc. at certain fixed periods of their life. In other aspects also, especially in the physical field, they are just as similar, just as susceptible.

Children are the constructors of men whom they build, taking from the environment language, religion, customs and the peculiarities not only of the race, not only of the nation, but even of a special district in which they develop.

Childhood constructs with what it finds. If the material is poor, the construction is also poor. As far as civilisation is concerned the child is at the level of the food-gatherers.

In order to build himself, he has to take by chance, whatever he finds in the environment.

The child is the forgotten citizen, and yet, if statesmen and educationists once came to realise the terrific force that is in childhood for good or for evil, I feel they would give it priority above everything else.

All problems of humanity depend on man himself; if man is disregarded in his construction, the problems will never be solved.

No child is a Bolshevist or a Fascist or a Democrat; they all become what circumstances or the environment make them.

In our days when in spite of the terrible lessons of two world wars, the times ahead loom as dark as ever before, I feel strongly that another field has to be explored, besides those of economics and ideology. It is the study of MAN - not of adult man on whom every appeal is wasted. He, economically insecure, remains bewildered in the maelstrom of conflicting ideas and throws himself now on this side, now on that. Man must be cultivated from the beginning of life when the great powers of nature are at work. It is then that one can hope to plan for a better international understanding.

Maria Montessori

Videos: Learn more about a Montessori Education

 

VIDEO 1: A 12 minute introduction to Montessori education from the Montessori Foundation.  Click here...

VIDEO 2: This is a recording of a talk given by Montessori Foundation President, Tim Seldin, to Montessori educators on the outcomes of a Montessori education that we typically see in children by age twelve.  Click here...

VIDEO 3: This is an excerpt from "Nurturing the Love of Learning" produced by the American Montessori Society.   Click here...
VIDEO 4: Google Doodle celebrates Educator Maria Montessori.   Click here...