Here at Fairbanks Montessori School, we encourage children to learn at their own pace. Maria Montessori’s Method encourages development through personal experiences and interest based learning. Our school and our staff are dedicated to this method of education, and it is our personal goal to create a better world, one child at a time.
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally.
Maria graduated from medical school in 1896, where she was among Italy’s first female physicians. Though she was not the first female medical school graduate, as reported by many of her biographers, it does not detract from her accomplishment. Maria defied conventional norms and expectations to successfully make her way in this rigorous field, which required tremendous strength, dedication, and perseverance.
Maria opened the first Montessori school, the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House on January 6, 1907. Maria accepted the challenge to open a full-day childcare center in San Lorenzo, a poor inner-city district of Rome. The students were under-served children, ages 3 – 7, who were left to their own devices while their parents went out to work.
Using scientific observation and experience gained from her earlier work with young children, Maria designed learning materials and a classroom environment that fostered the children’s natural desire to learn and provided freedom for them to choose their own materials.
To the surprise of many, the children in Maria’s programs thrived, exhibiting concentration, attention, and spontaneous self-discipline. The “Montessori Method” began to attract the attention of prominent educators, journalists, and public figures. By 1910, Montessori schools could be found throughout Western Europe and were being established around the world, including in the United States where the first Montessori school opened in Tarrytown, NY, in 1911.
The Montessori theory is an approach to learning where the key principles are Independence, Observation, Following the Child, Correcting the Child, Prepared Environment and Absorbent Mind.
The team at Fairbanks Montessori is committed to the Montessori Method of teaching. The classrooms are organized into five curriculum areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, and Cultural, with the materials carefully ordered on the shelves. Children are observed carefully and lessons are given individually based on the teacher’s assessment of each child’s needs and abilities. Their knowledge is constantly enhanced through interactions with each other, and lessons carefully introduced, at the proper time and in the proper sequence.
the montessori method
The Whole-child Approach
The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach his/her full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation for future intellectual academic endeavors. The holistic curriculum, under the direction of a qualified teacher, allows the child to experience the joy of learning and gives him/her time to enjoy the process . It ensures the development of self esteem and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge.
The Prepared Environment
Self-directed learning can only take place if the environment is suitably designed. This means that there are beautiful materials appropriate for every age that are placed at a low level for children’s accessibility. All furniture and materials are child sized, which includes tables, chairs, cleaning supplies, and more. The children are taught to keep their environment clean, and they learn to respect one another and their workspace. A professional Montessori teacher ensures that their class is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, and teaches their students to interact with their environment in a way that fosters peaceful focus. A Montessori classroom maintains a routine that makes children feel respected and secure, which allows them to learn and grow exponentially.
The Montessori Materials
Dr. Montessori designed a number of multi-sensory, sequential, and self correcting materials to facilitate learning in every area of the curriculum. Beginning with Practical Life, children learn fine-motor skills as well as self care and care of their environment. For their Sensorial development, Montessori designed materials to help children use their senses in different ways, such as experimenting with texture and weight, differentiating smells and sounds, and learning about colors. Montessori created a language curriculum that focuses first on learning the phonetic alphabet with sandpaper letters and the moveable alphabet while simultaneously using the metal insets to learn writing in a continuous line. It then moves on to building words, learning blends, and reading. The math program focuses first on learning numbers 1-10, then builds on that with teen numbers, 1:1 correspondence, and the hundred board. Montessori math often progresses to addition and subtraction, building thousands numbers, and even multiplication and division. Montessori's cultural materials includes, geography, science, history, art, and language. The children learn about continents, oceans, many different science subjects, world history, and even art theory.
Originally called a “directress”, the Montessori teacher functions as an educational guide, a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper, and meticulous observer of each child’s behavior and growth. The teacher’s main function, once the classroom has been set up, is to engage each child with the materials in that classroom. Extensive training is required for full Montessori certification, including a minimum of college degree and a year’s student teaching under supervision. These teachers work tirelessly to help each child reach their highest potential.