Montessori is term for a teaching style, originally created by Maria Montessori, that is defined by several key tenets. In contrast to this, at Foundations Creative Child Care and School in Kennesaw, the teaching methods are compiled from a variety of resources, including Montessori, so that the best elements from each method can be utilized to provide a classroom setting uniquely suited to the creative exploration and learning of children.
Here are some of the types of educational philosophies for young children:
Academic/Traditional: activities are presented by the teacher with little input from students (teacher-directed); reinforcement through frequent repetition (recitation, tracing dittos, etc).
Montessori: classrooms set up primarily with specialized educational materials developed by Maria Montessori; three hour blocks of independent work time; mixed- age classrooms of children 2.5 yrs old to 6 years old in one classroom
Play-Based: classrooms set up with a variety of activity centers to promote engagement; children play throughout the day, with teacher supervision
Reggio-Emilia: heavy art emphasis, with dedicated art rooms and art teachers; child-initiated projects as the primary topics; children’s work displayed and documented in the classroom
Waldorf: no technology or media allowed in the school or curriculum; academics introduced only at 1st grade and above; gardening and cooking and art are primary parts of the day
Foundations’ School identifies with certain elements from most of these philosophies, with no single one defining school philosophy fully. Foundations takes a research-based approach, looking at teaching methods independently of their philosophy association. For instance, hundreds of studies have been completed on the benefits of mixed-age classrooms, so Foundations implements mixed-age classrooms in different stages depending on age group (preschool classrooms have one-year age spans; elementary classrooms have two to three year age spans), though different from the Montessori mixed-age groups.
Foundations uses Creative Curriculum as the basis for the learning goals and classroom setup in the preschool classrooms, as it has solid decades of research supporting the benefits of activity based settings for children. We also pull from the child-initiated, project-based approach of Reggio Emilia, because brain research has shown that learning occurs more naturally and is retained longer when it is of direct relevance to a child’s interests.
In the Elementary school program, subjects are taught using a variety of resources. So much research is available on the different types of learners, and each student truly is unique, so teachers assess learner styles and adapt teaching methods wherever possible to best meet a student’s needs. For instance, Math does not use just a single textbook, instead using online learning sources, a variety of textbooks with different approaches, different styles of workbooks, hands-on manipulatives, and project work, even incorporating drama and literature into math projects.
Foundations has a commitment to continuous improvement. We do not limit ourselves with any particular set philosophy, but instead we evaluate our practices regularly, looking to see where we can make enhancements or bring in new information. For the 2015 school year, Foundations is partnering with PowerBrain Education, a program for young children specifically designed to incorporate the yoga and meditation into an education setting, based on tremendous amounts of research showing that this increases the ability to focus and self-regulate. We continue to seek out new ways to incorporate into our classrooms what we know about how the brain learns best. This is why we consider Foundations to be “More Than Montessori.”
For more information on Foundations for the Future Creative Child Care and School in Kennesaw, GA, please visit FoundationsSchool.com or call 770-429-4799.