Research on the Benefits of a Montessori Education

Maria Montessori believed that our first duty of education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop. She said that more than a century ago and today Dr. Steve Hughes, a neuropsychologist and a pediatrician who is also a Montessori dad, firmly believes that the Montessori Method strengthens certain brain functions that help expand cognitive development. Dr. Hughes claims that neurological development is strengthened by learning through the Montessori Method, especially the areas of social development and executive function. Skills like organizing, planning and prioritizing, starting tasks and staying focused on them to completion, accepting other points of view, self-monitoring, and self-regulation. In a Montessori classroom, children develop executive function skills through different activities such as: waiting, looking for material by going through a maze created by other students doing their activities on the floor, searching the shelves for work that interests them, etc.

Dr. Steve Hughes states:
“Montessori children are independent moral agents. They have self-control, advanced academic skills, empathy, and they understand complex systems. They understand that we are all connected. They know all human beings have the same needs, and they also know that whatever comes out of a smokestack is going to land on someone, somewhere they love the earth. They are attached to reality. They are tomorrow’s leaders and they will change the world.”

Please enjoy this short video of Dr. Steve Hughes’ talk on research that supports the benefits of a Montessori education.

Looking ahead:

Fraser Woods Montessori School Calendar for the 2021-2022 school year.

Reminder: We have no school on Monday, May 3rd.

Painted Rocks

Painted rocks are a way to spread joy and kindness through art. These are also known as kindness stones or rocks. The rocks are painted with an inspirational message or a cheerful design and left in nature. When people find them they can take them home for inspiration, put them in another spot, or place them back where they found them. Earlier this year FWM students from different classes painted some kindness rocks of our own, and this week Upper El students placed them around the playground for younger students to find. We enjoyed participating in this activity and were excited to see several had been found the day after we placed them.

It’s been a few weeks since we had a community meeting and students were enthusiastic about having one this week. We had many items on our agenda (eight) but only had time to brainstorm, discuss, and make a decision on one. Our topic was wearing shoes in the classroom. Throughout the year of having regular community meetings, the students have become very good at the process. They show great respect for one another and everyone gets a chance to share ideas and feelings. It’s a wonderful process to observe amongst these fourth and fifth graders.

We had some great lessons this week. Fourths learned about finding the area of a parallelogram in geometry and fifths worked with measuring the circumference of a circle. We learned about five different ways seeds move in our biology lesson. History lessons focused on our closest living relatives and shared characteristics in fourth grade and the Neolithic Lake Dwellers in fifth grade. We enjoyed having Lit Circle outside this week on a hot spring day.

We are spending a lot of time outside now that the weather is nice. Don’t forget to send in sunblock and bug spray for our outdoor learning and time in the woods!

There is NO SCHOOL on Monday for a faculty professional development day. Have a nice long weekend!

Mrs. Doyle’s Class: Nature’s Classroom

Continuing with our study of insects, we are thrilled to welcome five caterpillars to our classroom. It is so exciting to observe each step of the fascinating life cycle of the Painted Lady Butterfly. Right now our caterpillars are busy eating and growing bigger every day. During this incredible period of growth, they will shed their exoskeletons four times and grow more than ten times their original size! When they have finished growing, the caterpillars will climb to the top of the cup. Once there, they will hang from the paper disk in a “j” shape under the lid. They will shed their exoskeletons one last time before they pupate and form a chrysalis.  Ask your children to update you on what is happening each day with our caterpillars. The discussions taking place among the children about the caterpillars are amazing.

Spring is the perfect time to go for a nature walk and bug hunt and that’s exactly what we did this week. Going on a nature walk is a simple, fun, and meaningful way to spend time outdoors.  A bug hunt is a really fun way to help incorporate what we are learning about insects inside the classroom and what we observe outside, in nature.  The best thing about a bug hunt? Once the children get in the habit of learning, observing and studying insects, their reaction is less likely to be, “aarrghhhh a bug!”

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Michelle & Lizette

Mrs. Hood’s Class: Explosion Of Words!

During the last couple of months we have been using three period lessons using different materials in our environment. Three period lessons are a fundamental approach in our Montessori environment to introducing a new concept to children. They are used to move the child from basic understanding to mastery. The three period lesson was developed by Edouard Seguin, a French physician who worked with special needs children in France and the United States during the late 19th century. He discovered ways to increase children’s cognitive abilities and believed in the importance of developing their self-reliance and independence. Seguin’s writings were a major inspiration to Maria Montessori and the source of many of her practical ideas. In simple terms, the three steps, or periods, are:

  1. Naming (Introduction) “This is a dragonfly.”
  2. Recognizing (Identification) “Show me the dragonfly.”
  3. Remembering (Cognition) “What is this?”

It has been evident that your children have been going through a sensitive period for language showing itself as an insatiable hunger for words, and we have found ourselves giving three period lessons so often either indoor or outdoors. Lately we have observed an explosion of words and the toddlers seem very proud of themselves when being able to reach the last step of the three period lesson. We have seen a big boost of confidence and joy! It’s just amazing to watch!

If you have a couple of minutes, we encourage you to check this article  to find out more  ideas on how to encourage the expansion of your toddler language skills at home.

Enjoy the pictures of your busy little explorers this week! 


Mrs. Hood and Mrs. Maria

Mrs. Lopes’s Class: The Magic of Metamorphosis

“Growth is not merely a harmonious increase in size, but a transformation” -Maria Montessori

This week we have been learning all about the life cycle of a butterfly.  We had five caterpillars join our classroom last week and the children have been captivated by the rate of change we observe each day.  The caterpillars arrived very tiny and over the last week have grown and shed their exoskeleton several times.  This week our caterpillars have entered into the final stages before emerging as a butterfly, the chrysalises.  The children have spent many days learning about the magic of this transformation called metamorphosis, and are eager to see when our butterflies will join us!

We also had so much fun going on a nature scavenger hunt outside this week.  With the warm weather finally arriving , we were all excited to do some outdoor learning.  Children were given a checklist to search for natural objects on the playground – rocks, leaves, soil, and of course some bugs.  We collected as many as we could find and the children were thrilled to share all the objects they were able to collect!

Have a wonderful week,

Amanda & Sharlene

Mrs. Wilson: Spring Cleaning and Water Play

The children are ready for another extension to our practical life, cleaning activities, and care of the environment materials. The wood polishing activity is no longer used as table work. The children are welcome to take the wood polishing tray to any shelf that may need to be polished.

Our flower arrangement work is now just a tray, funnel, and pitcher on the shelf vs a station. This extension is another way the children will develop their executive function. By limiting the material on the tray the children need to think of what they need and where to find it in order to complete the task.

On Wednesday, the children came into the class to see a surprise. We finally got two new goldfish. The children will pull up a stool, sit, and observe the fish.

Along with feeding the fish, the children can now participate in feeding the birds outside. They help fill the bowl with seeds and with an adult they can bring the food outside near our window.

Wednesday’s weather was absolutely amazing. While using the hose to fill the bins for waterworks a few children decided it would be fun to run through it. This lead to a spontaneous morning of water play. All the children were full of laughter and smiles as they ran around through the water.

Reminder: Monday, May 3rd – No school, Professional Development Day.

Middle School: Earth Day!

As part of Earth Day on April 23rd, the Middle School took part in an all-day project on the property of Fraser Woods. The day began with each grade assigned a portion of our outdoor trails located behind the school’s playground to be cleared of debris such as leaves, fallen limbs/sticks, or rocks. Once the set trail was clear, students searched for limbs to border each side of the trail. These borders will help prevent an excess of debris on the trail along with establishing a clear path of use. After the trails were cleaned and bordered, 6th year students carefully marked the path of travel with blue blazes. The Middle School is excited for the trail’s use by other students in the school.

A continuation of this project is being developed by the 6th year Earth Science class. Students are currently creating a 3-D topographic map of the trail which will be printed using the school’s glow forge. This map will indicate which portion of the trail will have either a steep or gradual slope along each path of travel based on the distance from one contour interval to the next. Once the map is completed, students will designate two entry points of the trail for the maps to be displayed. We look forward to its completion.

The goal of this project was to promote an outdoor experience in nature where learning for all grades can take place. We feel that goal has been met. Thank you to all who participated in this project.

Nature knowledge is most important for young children. It would be well if we all persons in authority, parents and all who act for parents, could make up our minds that there is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in. Let them once get touch with nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things..”  ~Charlotte Mason
-Z. Brown

Captivating Cultural Work

This week in magnetism, the children are learning about the north and south poles of a magnet. Each end point is referred to as a pole. After some investigation, they discovered that two unlike poles will attract and two like poles will repel one another. In addition to locating the poles and exploring the attraction between them, we also learned about the Earth’s magnetic pole. The south pole of a magnet it attracted to the south pole of the planet and the north pole of the magnet is attracted to the north pole of the planet. We explored this concept with a bar magnet, a piece of thread, and a ruler.

In physical science, we enjoyed learning more about the composition of the earth. The children are learning about our protective blanket, how each part of the atmosphere plays an important part. Each child participated in a discussion about what the atmosphere is and what makes up the atmosphere. Afterwards, they learned specific nomenclature for the five parts of the atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.