Program Overview

THE MONTESSORI LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:

WEM PhilosophyThe learning environment is central to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.  Acknowledging this, the Whole Earth strategy to advance the school’s mission is stated in the following manner: 

“Believing children to be the most valuable natural resource on Earth and the best hope for the realization of our vision, we will offer a prepared environment in which each child can grow in his or her own time and way toward their greatest potential; mentally, emotionally, socially, creatively and spiritually.”

“It is the child who is the future of humanity.  It is he who constructs the adult of the future.  He possesses powers of concentration and spontaneous learning that the adult does not possess; for this alone, he deserves a tremendous amount of respect.  He is smaller, but not inferior; he is one who is to be revered.”  - Maria Montessori

“Man, the adult, since the onset of industrialization has in many parts of the world created an environment that is somewhat unnatural.  It does not provide the optimum conditions for him to grow and flourish to his fullest potential.  Rather it often seems to inhibit man’s natural development in many ways.  If respect for the environment is not practiced, man may create an environment to which he can not  adapt.”  - Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori, being a scientist, realized that nothing can change the potential of an individual.  But the environment in which that individual lives, can either enhance or inhibit its development.  So she created for the children of the slums of Rome in 1907, an environment which she believed would allow each child to develop naturally from within; would enhance this process and make it possible for each child to develop in accordance with his or her own nature to his or her fullest potential.

A very specific sequence of units is presented each year in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) classroom that was developed specifically to nurture in students respect for self, others and the environment.  This series of studies was designed and then implemented over the course of a year as part of the Founder’s Masters in Education for Curriculum and Instruction.  This took place during the first full year of the school’s operation.  This same skeletal outline has served to guide faculty every year, with student interest determining how long and/or how in-depth each teacher will stay with a particular unit of study.  Not every teacher will be in the same place at the same time, as each will follow the interest of the children in her respective class. Materials remain on the shelf for the remainder of the year while faculty moves on to the next theme in the sequence.