An Authentic Montessori Environment

  • Montessori, Bilingual, Sustainable

  • Child-centered education

  • Designed to nurture your child as an individual

 

Antigua Green School identifies Montessori as our guide to provide a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment which is truly bilingual and in tune with our natural world. We operate on an understanding of the principles laid out by Maria Montessori and developed by the educators who followed in her footsteps. The method makes the natural assumption that children are intrinsically good, peaceful, and naturally motivated to learn. We value its intrinsic respect for each child’s potential, its promotion of peaceful communities, and its specific pedagogical structures. We emphasize the importance of every child’s development as an individual and value the balance of Montessori’s scientific approach to children’s development and its understanding that all children will learn at their own pace.The method cultivates a child's natural desire to learn which helps children to develop positive attitudes about themselves and their world while fostering a desire for lifelong learning. The Montessori method is a time tested, modern and progressive method, that has been able to remain at the forefront of child development and progressive education because of its ability to be applied to each individual child and remain relevant by adapting to new technologies and ways of understanding the human brain. We apply these principles to provide an education that is immersed in nature and relevant to the modern world.  

Montessori classrooms are different from a traditional classroom in many ways and our beautiful campus was designed specifically as a Montessori. A Montessori classroom is a beautiful open space, free of clutter and cartoonish colors, that is designed to be calming, interesting and conducive to learning. Our classrooms are built with windows and doors on all sides to be filled with natural light and so that the transition from the interior to the exterior is seamless, inviting children to enjoy the benefits of interacting with nature throughout their entire school day.

Our Montessori guides (teachers) have a combination of in-house and internationally recognised Montessori training certificates to ensure each child receives the guidance and tracking needed to reach their potential.

“The child has one intuitive aim: self-development. He desperately wants to develop his resources, his ability to cope with a strange, complex world. He wants to do and see and learn for himself, through his senses and not through the eyes of an adult. The child who accomplishes this, moves into harmony with his world. He becomes a full person. He is educated.”  Maria Montessori

 

Why Montessori?

Maria Montessori’s original observations of children, over one hundred years ago, stand true today: that children are naturally good, naturally peaceful, and naturally motivated to learn. The scientific principles of observation, analysis, reflection and action helped her to develop specific materials and methods for serving children. We believe these same principles can be used in Montessori classrooms today, to serve the children in the environment and to help translate Montessori’s original vision to the demands of our modern world.

 

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Who was Maria Montessori?

Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educational theorist in the early twentieth century whose observations of children revolutionized the field of early childhood education. One of the first female physicians in Italy, Montessori had few opportunities to practice medicine and found herself working in large institutions with individuals with intellectual impairments. Montessori applied the same principles of the scientific method to her practice with young children in the institution, experimenting with materials, language and learning structures until she identified a strategy through which the institutionalized children were able to pass and excel on state achievement tests. Her curiosity led her to apply these same strategies with typically developing children although she remained limited in the environments open to her work. In 1906, Montessori convinced the owner of a tenement house in San Lorenzo, Rome, to give her the use of one of the apartments in the building in exchange for her promise to tend to the children of working families during the day. The first Montessori school was born.

Over the next thirty years, Montessori continued to refine her model, lecturing on children’s development and learning around the world. Often received as a radical, Montessori nonetheless inspired a generation of teachers to create classrooms of their own, following her original principles and, over time, leading to the establishment of thousands of Montessori schools across the US and around the world. Today, the Montessori Method has been incorporated into schools of all kinds: private and public, small and large, and expanded to serve children as young as infancy and through the high school years.

 

What We Believe

Montessori schools, like other communities, often reflect the personalities and preferences of the people who comprise them. While there is no one way to implement Montessori, there are some key presumptions Montessorians make about children that help to inform the environments we design:

  1. We believe that children are innocent of adult bias, and will choose to do the right thing when they feel safe and in control. Unlike “blank slate” models, Montessori presumes that the natural state of children is positive, and that when children’s behavior is less positive, it reflects some obstacle to the child’s natural state.

  2. We believe children are intrinsically peaceful. Montessori classrooms are often notable for their peaceful, gentle climate, within which children of differing ages and development seem to interact with each other with less conflict and more joy. We believe this is the natural condition of childhood so, when conflicts do occur, we look to the physical design of the classroom, the developmental differences between children, or the choices of the teacher to resolve them.

  3. We believe children are intrinsically motivated to learn. Montessori shies away from traditional models of punishment and reward, believing that children’s motivation to learn is natural to them and continues to blossom in environments that allow authentic learning.

Because we believe children to be intrinsically good, intrinsically peaceful and intrinsically motivated to learn, we look first to ourselves as the primary stewards of the classroom environment when challenges occur. We ask what we might do differently as adults to return the children to their natural state, rather than punishing or labeling children as problems to be solved.

We encourage parents to learn more about this proven approach to education being used successfully around the world:

 

Why Child-Centered Progressive Education rather than Traditional Education?

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Children arrive at school with a tremendous potential that is unique to each individual. They come with an insatiable curiosity about the world around them. Traditional education often categorizes children by their age and treats each one as the same blank slate, standardizing every aspect of their education, encouraging and celebrating a single type of knowledge, learning and achievement and categorizing everything else as failure. Children are fed information without context, designed to prepare them to score well on the exam on which their entire curriculum is based. They are seen as one amongst many that will have to be treated exactly the same as their peers. Progressive schools are as varied as children themselves, and can be hard to define. But progressive schools can often be characterized according to how closely they reflect a commitment to values such as these:

Attending to the whole child: Progressive educators are concerned with helping children become not only good learners but also good people. Schooling isn’t seen as being about just academics, nor is intellectual growth limited to verbal and mathematical proficiencies.

Community:  Learning isn’t something that happens to individual children — separate selves at separate desks. Children learn with and from one another in a caring community, and that’s true of moral as well as academic learning. Interdependence counts at least as much as independence, so practices that pit students against one another in some kind of competition, thereby undermining a feeling of community, are deliberately avoided.

Collaboration: Progressive schools are characterized by a “working with” rather than a “doing to” model. In place of rewards for complying with the adults’ expectations, or punitive consequences for failing to do so, there’s more of an emphasis on collaborative problem-solving — and, for that matter, less focus on behaviors than on underlying motives, values, and reasons.

Social justice: A sense of community and responsibility for others isn’t confined to the classroom; indeed, students are helped to locate themselves in widening circles of care that extend beyond self, beyond friends, beyond their own ethnic group, and beyond their own country. Opportunities are offered not only to learn about, but also to put into action, a commitment to diversity and to improving the lives of others.

Intrinsic motivation: When considering (or reconsidering) educational policies and practices, the first question that progressive educators are likely to ask is, “What’s the effect on students’ interest in learning, their desire to continue reading, thinking, and questioning?” This deceptively simple test helps to determine what students will and won’t be asked to do. Thus, conventional practices, including homework, grades, and tests, prove difficult to justify for anyone who is serious about promoting long-term dispositions rather than just improving short-term skills.

Deep understanding: As the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead declared long ago, “A merely well-informed man is the most useless bore on God’s earth.” Facts and skills do matter, but only in a context and for a purpose. That’s why progressive education tends to be organized around problems, projects, and questions — rather than around lists of facts, skills, and separate disciplines. The teaching is typically interdisciplinary, the assessment rarely focuses on rote memorization, and excellence isn’t confused with “rigor.” The point is not merely to challenge students — after all, harder is not necessarily better — but to invite them to think deeply about issues that matter and help them understand ideas from the inside out.

Active learning: In progressive schools, students play a vital role in helping to design the curriculum, formulate the questions, seek out (and create) answers, think through possibilities, and evaluate how successful they — and their teachers — have been. Their active participation in every stage of the process is consistent with the overwhelming consensus of experts that learning is a matter of constructing ideas rather than passively absorbing information or practicing skills.

Taking kids seriously: In traditional schooling, as John Dewey once remarked, “the center of gravity is outside the child”:  he or she is expected to adjust to the school’s rules and curriculum. Progressive educators take their cue from the children — and are particularly attentive to differences among them. (Each student is unique, so a single set of policies, expectations, or assignments would be as counterproductive as it was disrespectful.) The curriculum isn’t just based on interest, but on these children’s interests. Naturally, teachers will have broadly conceived themes and objectives in mind, but they don’t just design a course of study for their students; they design it with them, and they welcome unexpected detours. One fourth-grade teacher’s curriculum, therefore, won’t be the same as that of the teacher next door, nor will her curriculum be the same this year as it was for the children she taught last year. It’s not enough to offer elaborate thematic units prefabricated by the adults. And progressive educators realize that the students must help to formulate not only the course of study but also the outcomes or standards that inform those lessons.

 

Critical Thinking

We aim to promote critical thinking in both our students and our staff. An increasing world population on a planet with finite resources requires that we learn to work within limitations. We believe that this encourages critical thinking.

 

Article: Alfie Kohn - What is progressive education

Video: Sir Kenneth Robinson - Bring on the Education Revolution