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San Tan Montessori is a private Montessori preschool sharing a campus with San Tan Charter School.
San Tan Montessori is founded on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. The four major areas of the Montessori classroom are: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics. Primary classes are peaceful environments where children are given the opportunity to deepen and grow concentration and independence. As with all authentic Montessori environments, this is a children’s classroom and is designed around children’s needs. Spontaneous learning through concrete hands-on activities which draw and engage interest, spirit and imagination is at the center of the classroom. The lessons experienced by the child build a solid foundation for future learning. This is especially important for the young child through the age of five, because they have what Dr. Montessori called the, “Absorbent Mind,” through which the child literally absorbs knowledge from his environment. Therefore, everything in the Montessori classroom environment serves a purpose of laying a foundation for the child physically, intellectually and emotionally. There is a special emphasis on connecting the child with nature and things that are real in the world. Dr. Montessori specified that the primary aged child is in the sensitive period for connection with the world.
San Tan Montessori classrooms are multi-age communities. Dr. Montessori termed these the “Planes of Development.” The characteristics of each plane are unique. The classrooms are specially prepared and the teachers trained accordingly to serve the developmental needs and interests of the children at each level. Multi-age classrooms also nurture continuity and strong relationships between students and teachers. The older children have the opportunity to practice leadership skills while reinforcing their knowledge through teaching their younger peers. The younger children have a model of which to aspire.
Montessori classrooms are designed to help children fully develop their unique potential through a carefully prepared learning environment that meets their individualized needs. Developmentally appropriate hands-on Montessori materials facilitate learning in a hierarchy from simple to complex and concrete to abstract. Everything in a Montessori classroom is child-sized, beautiful and inviting.
Freedom Within Limits
Montessori environments encourage children to move about freely, within reasonable limits of appropriate behavior. You will not find students confined to desks. There are countless opportunities for activity in the classroom, and the student is encouraged to choose what meets his developmental needs. When he completes his work, he puts it away as he found it with consideration for the next child to work with it. Through this process, the child develops a sense of personal responsibility. They are caring for their environment, the materials and their peers. This allows the child to prepare for a lifetime of meaningful independence and a high sense of responsibility.
Montessori students learn to do it themselves
Many people assume that a non-traditional classroom is one without structure; a place long on “freedom” and short on learning. In the case of Montessori classrooms, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori very carefully structured what she called the “controlled environment,” a setting which begins with a built-in order, setting both children and teachers to work learning from the environment and from each other. Behind it all, unobtrusively, the teacher guides the overall activity. This approach to teaching is “indirect.” It does not impose external tasks and timed deadlines on the child nor does it abandon the child to the dead-end of permissiveness. Instead, the child discovers the lifelong joys of investigation and the value of self-discipline.
Our students learn concentration
In a Montessori classroom, the child selects activities that spark curiosity. The child stays with that activity as long as he chooses. He may join with other children in a small group and benefit from the mixed-aged grouping found in the Montessori classroom. A low student to teacher ratio ensures that each child is engaged in productive work and that no child is blocking another’s pathway to investigate and discover. The child has become the center of the learning process. He comes to realize that the world is a treasure-house of wonders and that the key to unlocking those treasures lies in the power of his concentration.