When a child is given a little leeway, he will at once shout, ’I want to do it!’ But in our schools, which have an environment adapted to children’s needs, they say, ‘Help me to do it alone.’ ~Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
One of the hallmarks of a Montessori Education is known as the Learning Triangle. The Learning Triangle consists of the environment (classroom), the child, and the teacher.
What does that look like at FWM?
The classroom environment is prepared by the teacher to encourage independence, a sense of order and freedom within limits.
Given choice, children take advantage of the materials presented in the environment to develop themselves.
The teacher’s role is that of a Guide, Mentor, and Model or Directress/Director. After individual lessons are presented to students, the students interact with their teacher when support and/or guidance is needed for the student to work successfully.
We see this at work every day.
In Toddler and Primary the children are interested in real activities with an intelligent purpose. The classroom environment allows for the development of movement, language, work with small objects, toileting, order, music, grace and courtesy, senses, writing, reading, spatial relationships, and mathematics.
In the elementary classrooms, children have a desire for intellectual independence. Students explore their place within the world and come to appreciate the interconnectedness of all things. This is also the “bridge to abstraction” which is the students’ transition from concrete to abstract thinking.
In middle school, students develop self-concern and self-assessment, critical thinking and exploring social and moral values, equity, and social justice. Adolescents also have a desire for emotional independence.
I am humbled by the work of our teachers and ever impressed by the care they take in preparing their classroom environments and the lessons they teach. Observing teachers as they guide, mentor, and model for their students assures me that The Learning Triangle is alive and well in every classroom at FWM.