What is Montessori?
Montessori is an approach to education based upon the principle that education should work with the nature of the child instead of against it.
Dr. Maria Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own individual pace and according to their own choice of activities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Why do Montessori classes accept different age groups together, such as 3 to 6 and 6 to 9 years old?
Montessori classrooms are arranged so that all children benefit from having a multi-age community to interact with. Younger children benefit from having older peers as role models and mentors. They are inspired to reach the academic levels that their older classmates have achieved and are thus motivated to learn new things. The older children benefit by taking on a leadership role which develops their confidence and by consolidating their knowledge when they show their younger classmates how to do an activity.
The mixed age setting encourages children to experience compassion, respect and cooperation with each other due to the community atmosphere as opposed to the competitive atmosphere of same aged classes.
Why do Montessori classes tend to be larger than those found in many other schools?
Our Montessori classrooms are actually two regular rooms opened up together to house 25 mixed aged children. As the focus of the learning environment is the child not the teacher, a lot of space is needed to display all the learning materials the children will work with. The ideal number of students in such a class setting is from around 25 students to facilitate a warm community atmosphere, collaborative learning and peer mentoring.
The ideal Montessori classroom is like a beehive humming with the buzz of busy students doing their respective projects as opposed to a regular classroom where the children are assigned to their seats and the teacher is the center of attention.
I have heard that Montessori schools around the world have a reputation for being extremely expensive, is this true for your school?
It is true that most Montessori schools in many countries are considered schools for the elite and beyond the means of most people. This is partly due to the high cost of setting up a Montessori classroom with a full set of equipment and materials which are purchased from all around the globe. In addition to this a reputable Montessori school needs to hire qualified and trained teachers in the Montessori Method as well as providing ongoing staff training and development in addition to participation in conferences and affiliations to international Montessori associations.
Despite the above you will find that our fees are actually comparable or very competitive with respect to other international schools in Egypt. This is due to the vision of our school’s founder to provide the best quality education with affordable tuition fees.
Is there assessment in the Montessori class?
Assessment in our classes comprises a number of methods. The Montessori record-keeping system assesses the mastery level of all activities each child has worked on. The children’s work journals, and Montessori teacher’s observation notes provide valuable information regarding what each child is learning and their interests, strengths and weaknesses. In fact observation is a key practice in Montessori classrooms which really helps the teachers get to know their students very well. In addition to this we run standardized assessments as required of us as an American School accredited by Advanced Ed.
A number of times over the course of the year the Montessori teacher reviews where the child is at in terms of development within the Montessori curriculum as well as the common core standards of the American curriculum using the assessment tools mentioned above. The teacher discusses this with the child and together they set goals with the child for further development, therefore giving the child a sense of empowerment and responsibility for his/her learning journey.
How does your Montessori school report student’s progress?
In our Kindergarten program, a report is issued throughout the academic year on monthly basis. Parent teacher meetings are held twice a year where you can discuss your child’s progress with his/her teachers.
In our Elementary program, a written check list is delivered after each quarter. The check list includes the dates for every activity that was presented, practiced and perfected. There is a comment on each activity.
The student portfolio covers the students work throughout the year which includes his/her writings, drawings and projects.
Academic reports are issued twice a year (the mid year and the end of the year). It includes a detailed comment and a ranking scale.
How can Montessori teachers meet the different needs of children in the class at the same time?
Montessori teachers lead children to ask questions, think for themselves, explore, investigate, and discover. Their ultimate objective is to help their students to learn independently and retain the curiosity, creativity, and intelligence with which they were born. Montessori teachers don’t simply present lessons; they are facilitators, mentors, coaches, and guides. Maria Montessori once said “The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist.””
How do we prepare the child to be transferred from the Montessori to the non Montessori system?
Moving from concrete to abstract:
Any concept in the Montessori system is introduced using 3D objects and manipulatives. We first introduce the concept using the Montessori manipulatives and learning aids, and then we ask the student to solve questions without the materials. He/she then depends on his/her visualization of the concept, which was presented earlier.
Children take homework in the form of sheets on a regular basis.
Children are given assessments like "tests or quizzes". Gradually they are trained how to perform in exams so there is no stress on them later on.
Is it true that children in the Montessori class just spend their time playing?
As Montessori students work with the Montessori materials and equipment they become fully engages enjoy themselves so much that some may go home and say to their parents “I played all day”. Other children perceive their activity as important “work”, and do not consider the materials as toys. This work that they do is an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn.
What are the subjects covered in the Manarat Montessori Elementary curriculum?
Our curriculum covers the following:
French or German
Matter and Astronomy
Health and Science
- Advanced practical life
- Cosmic education
- Islamic Studies
- Physical Education