With the understanding that children construct knowledge on their own through interaction with the physical, social and psychological environments around them, our mission is to provide a Montessori based prepared atmosphere that allows all children to grow, develop and learn at an individual pace. At Sienna Montessori School, it is the responsibility of the adults to carefully coordinate the space, time, community, and materials in such a way that children are provided optimal opportunities for individual development within the context of the Sienna social community.
In preparing the children’s learning environment, we are guided by six (6) key factors that form the basis of our philosophy:
The Child and the Learning Environment :
Children are unique individuals. They develop and learn at different rates and in different ways. Children are aesthetic and artistic beings. They learn best through sensory experiences. Because they are emotional and social beings with unique personalities, children learn best when they feel secure and valued. When they feel they are accepted and appreciated, they are free to take risks, make mistakes and learn from their errors and successes. As a result of being intellectual beings, children are curious and enthusiastic learners. We know that children are physical beings who are physically active most of their waking hours, thus the learning environment provides times, space, and opportunities for object manipulation and for acquiring attitudes, dispositions, skills and knowledge for safe and healthful living. As they develop and learn, children are becoming socially responsible, caring beings with unique cultural experiences. The school fosters an accepting, tolerant and flexible attitude toward others and respect for the natural world.
Families and the Learning Environment :
Parents and families are first and most important role models. They provide a nurturing environment that supports children socially and emotionally. Families prepare children for school through positive home conditions conducive to learning. They are active partners in their children’s education besides being active learners about what is best for their children. We believe that parents, families, and the Sienna Montessori School support each other in various ways that result in a quality learning environment for all children at all levels.
Teachers and the Learning Environment.
Sienna Montessori School Strongly believes that the role of the teacher is to facilitate learning experiences through strategies that encourage children to think creatively, problem-solve, make decisions, and expand their thinking children’s skills.children’s
- relates to all children with warmth, sensitivity, and caring to establish and sustain a climate in which learning is joyful;
- invites children to participate in planning and creating a rich, stimulating environment which encourages interaction, exploration, and investigation.
- collaborates with other professionals and the children to plan, create, and sustain a safe climate in which children may work harmoniously, creatively, and productively;
- provides times, opportunity, and a range of different experiences to stimulate children to interact, reflect, communicate, and learn;
- structures opportunities for children to work individually and with other children and their teacher and other adults, and in groups of different sizes and composition formed for different purposes;
- exchanges information about the child and parents on an ongoing basis; and
models and demonstrates enthusiasm and a disposition for learning, helps children to enjoy learning as meaningful, relevant, and personally satisfying.
The Administrative Team and Learning Environment :
We believe that the role of the administrative team is to lead the learning process. The team provides the necessary conditions for the implementation of the program. These include time, resources, and support for a collaborative environment where those involved study the issues, visit other programs, and practice new strategies. The administrative team leads a process that:
- articulates the vision and direction of the school with regard to teaching and learning practices;
- allows for modification and adaptation of the program out of respect for individual needs;
- communicates with and maintains the support of parents, community, and the school board for the school program; and
- sets up an assessment system to monitor and adjust when problems occur
The Curriculum and the Learning Environment :
As Dr. Maria Montessori saw it, and indeed as theorists such as John Dewey, Marian Diamond, Reuve Feuerstein, Howard Gardener, and Jean Piaget theorized, a curriculum should provide a variety of activities and materials that increase in difficulty and complexity as the child develops skills, knowledge, attitudes, and dispositions. The curriculum:
- begins from where the child is and builds on the child’s interests and natural sense of wonder;
- is worth learning, meaningful, and engaging; is appropriate to the child’s particular stage of development;
- engages the child in meaningful activities and experiences which provide a context for the development of thinking processes;
- builds on, extends, and enhances success;
- develops the attitudes, dispositions, skills and knowledge of the fine and performing arts, humanities, practical arts and sciences;
- allows for the inclusion of locally developed programs besides the Montessori based program;
- includes a broad-based educational focus in which social, ethical, and environmental issues are presented;
- is integrated wherever and whenever possible; and
- invites children to cooperate and collaborate with others.
Assessment and Evaluation, and the Learning Environment :
Sienna Montessori School believes that assessment and evaluation foster the development of the child and promote learning. Both components are an integral part of the ongoing teaching process, but do not dominate or fragment learning.
Assessment and Evaluation:
- involve each child in self reflection and evaluation;
- focus on each child individually;
- identify and build upon what each child can do;
- identify a child’s interests and learning needs to facilitate continuous learning;
- are based on authentic evidence and appropriate practices and materials;
- include and arrange a variety of strategies and resources to suit the child and the purpose of the learning activity;
- are based on the curriculum and help direct the planning of learning experiences;
- acknowledge the whole child by focusing in a balanced way on all the program goals areas;
- aid teachers in their ability to help each child grow and develop; and link home and school in a partnership.