We endorse Montessori because it is a child-centered approach that helps children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace, it cultivates and protects intrinsic motivation for learning, it fosters independence, responsibility and confidence, and it promotes creativity and critical thinking. In addition, the mixed age group is an ideal social setting that encourages natural and effective learning, cooperation, and self-confidence, at the same time it discourages unhealthy competition.
In a Montessori classroom, children are active participants in learning. A child follows their own interests, works at their own pace, guided by well-trained teachers in a prepared environment that supports the child's exploration. Teachers (guides) have an unobtrusive role in the classroom, observing keenly, talking softly, and giving individual instructions or small group presentations in a timely manner that meet the child’s needs.
Montessori materials are well designed, hands on, age-appropriate teaching tools that facilitate effective and meaningful learning.
Why Montessori Plus?
Striving to provide the best possible education for young children, we want to incorporate into our program all elements that have been proven beneficial for early childhood development. Therefore, besides endorsing the Montessori Method, we also put emphasis on social and emotional development, art, music and movement, physical education, and bilingual education. We also provide opportunities for dramatic play.
We don’t make such choices simply out of personal preferences. Although we do love all of them, our choices are based on findings of solid scientific research. The following is a summary of our rationale based upon research.
Social-Emotional Development: Research has suggested that helping children develop social-emotional skills increase their chances of success in school, work and life, and that there is a need for emphasis on social-emotional learning in early-childhood programs. As a result, besides the Montessori Method, social-emotional learning is also a focus of our program. For the best interest of the child, we invite parents to be our partners in social-emotional coaching. Here are valuable resources for parents: Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning- Resources-Family Tools and Conscious Discipline.
Art: To meet the needs of the whole child, activities that involve children in both making and enjoying art are essential. Art activities help children develop in many areas; art also has value in and of itself. Fostering the development of children's aesthetic sense and engaging children in creative experiences are the objectives of our integrated art program. There are accomplished artists in our faculty who will carefully guide and encourage children’s creative art exploration.
Music & Movement: No one questions the importance of music and movement in early childhood education, so we are not going to elaborate on how they contribute positively to the happiness and development of young children. We do want to point out two research findings: a) for children to benefit in their spatial-temporal reasoning, music must be an ongoing part of the curriculum; b) as many as 85% of people are kinesthetic learners. Combining this with the fact that 99% of what is learned is unconscious, we cannot emphasize enough the impact of music and movement activities in a learning environment. Therefore, music and movement is another emphasis in our program.
Physical Education: Research has indicated that: a) children who are physically active and experience success in movement activities show higher levels of self-esteem and a greater sense of accomplishment; b) there is a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance, probably because regular physical activity is linked to better brain function; c) physical activity helps children get through the day without fatigue and makes them more alert; d) physical activity improves children's physical fitness and lowers their risk of obesity.
To incorporate high quality physical education in our program, we have created a well-equipped indoor gym in the school where children can stay active all year around. Yoga and gymnastics are part of our curriculum. To encourage a healthy, active lifestyle, it is our daily routine to walk to parks to play outdoors.
Bilingual Education: As shown by numerous studies over a long period of time, there are significant life-long benefits (cognitively, socially, and culturally) for children who learn a second, or even third, language at a very young age. Our children are exposed to mandarin Chinese in their daily routine at school. As Chinese is such a different language system than English, the learning process is certainly a fun brain exercise!
Dramatic Play: Dramatic play has been shown to benefit children intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. It is such a natural part of a young child’s life that we believe it deserves adequate outlet/support in our program. Therefore, at our school, there are also dramatic play areas equipped with items that are recommended by professional groups in the field of early-childhood education.