Maria Montessori was an Italian, and her unique perspective was brought to the USA. Today, Fremont, California, is a blending of many cultures – Anglo, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and many others – which makes it so cool to use the Fremont Montessori method which is, by its very nature, international.
The Montessori Method is based on learning using all five senses, rather than just reading a book or sitting listening to a teacher. There is a vast range of material on the shelves, and the child can choose for himself what it is that he wants to do. It is a form of learning by exploring and by doing, and the child learns at his own pace. He is not forced or expected to “keep up” with the other children, and equally the faster learner does not get held back. In Montessori there is no “one size fits all”.
The teacher watches the progress of each child individually and gradually introduces him to more materials when it is judged that he is ready to progress further. The Montessori Method supports multi-age grouping and in our Fremont Montessori classrooms there is usually a three-year age span which is based on similarities of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. This removes any sense of competition because the children are not expected to have the same identical level of skills or perform on a par with the next child.
The classes in our Fremont Montessori schools are based on the principle of freedom within limits. If a child is being destructive or using materials aimlessly, the teacher will gently intervene and direct the child to a more appropriate use of the materials, or perhaps to different materials. There are always ground rules and guidelines in place.
Montessori Develops The Whole Child
The Montessori Method develops the whole child, not simply his intellectual ability. He uses his powers of deliberation, independent choice, and initiative, and lives as a part of a social group and community which is the basis of becoming a good citizen.
In Fremont we have Montessori schools in Niles and Irvington, with our Peralta and Maple schools based in the Centerville district. Our classrooms are spacious and filled with plenty of natural light – the windows in some buildings having been extended. We have a very wide range of materials from which the child can choose, so that he can use his own natural talents to explore and learn. The lessons are intended to promote the child’s independence, concentration, and social skills in addition to his academic development. Children engage in the arts, music, and movement, and learn Spanish, as well as math facts, science, the concepts of earth and water, countries and continents, and botany, biology, and cultural concepts.