Lessons in Grace and Courtesy pervade the Montessori curriculum from the earliest levels. These lessons are integral to the Montessori method’s focus on learning about and respecting cultures from around the world and Montessori education’s universal goal of bringing about peace in the
world through better education. Some of the results of this work within our Montessori school are immediately obvious in the politeness of our students. There is depth to these lessons that might not be immediately apparent as well. Each Montessori community features a Peace Table or
a space dedicated to conflict resolution among students. Students ask each other to accompany them to this space when tensions or disagreements need to be worked out among them and are coached by faculty in how to speak to each other to bring about a peaceful resolution. Also, starting in our Toddler communities, students are taught to respect each other’s personal and work space. This creates an early awareness of others’ bodily autonomy and the importance of consent in social situations.
4) Deepening Learning through Mixed Age Communities
Montessori communities each include students from a range of ages, typically of around three years. This mixed-age format confers a number of advantages upon students. In a mixed age classroom, the Montessori faculty has an opportunity to get to know each student over the course of several years. She also has a much larger curriculum to present a child who is devouring one subject at a rapid rate, giving students a substantive opportunity to learn at an accelerated pace. Also, Montessori classrooms provide the incredible opportunity for students to learn from and teach their friends. In looking up to older students, they become eager to learn the lessons they have not yet reached. In seeing younger students working, they have a chance to reinforce their expertise on concepts they have already learned through repetition. All students benefit from older students mentoring their younger classmates. There is also an established classroom culture, shaped by the returning, older students. This culture easily absorbs new students and minimizes the adjustment and community-building period for the entire class at the start of each new school year.
5) Creating Engaging Environments for Learning
Montessori observed that students are more likely to engage with their work in a prepared environment created to suit their needs and that this prepared environment worked best when it was both home-like and beautiful to students.
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