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“Do not tell them how to do it.  Show them how to do it and do not say a word.  If you tell them, they will watch your lips move.  If you show them, they will want to do it themselves.”

The Montessori pedagogy is an educational approach recognized worldwide.  Dr. Maria Montessori saw the universality in children’s development regardless of culture.  These are the laws that govern human development and all human beings will encounter these stages of development.  The Montessori method places strong emphasis on respect, in particular, respecting the child’s inner desires and the child’s gravitation towards certain activities. The primary, and most important goal is to help each child reach his or her full potential in all areas of life.

The presence and combination of a few elements are the foundation for the Casa environment.  The environment is carefully prepared to suit the needs of all the children in the classroom.  Children are developing and constantly maturing, and as such, the classroom materials will change accordingly as well. For example, materials in the classroom may be set up to highlight a specific theme of the time. In addition, all the materials in the classroom have a specific place on the shelf. This will create a sense of order and peacefulness for the children.

Examples of Grace and Courtesy are present throughout the environment.  From saying “Excuse me”, to “I can help you with that”, children gradually learn how to become a part of the community in a polite manner.  With this in mind, role models are also very important to the classroom.  One of the most outstanding features of the Montessori environment is the mixed age group in our Casa (3-6 year old) classroom. The mixed age group allows for the younger children to learn from their older peers, and the older peers have the opportunity to build leadership skills. The older peers are generally the role models of the classroom. Though the experience may be different for the younger and the older, this peer learning opportunity benefits all of the children.

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