Dr. Maria Montessori
Dr. Maria Montessori developed a method to support children based on principles of observation, capturing each child's interests when it's most pronounced, and using hands on materials to help test, explore, and comprehend ideas. The teachers prepare the environment and offer the child lessons, but the child is given the freedom and confidence to pursue learning independently.
Children ages 3-6 learn beside each other in a peaceful, calm environment. The classroom offers practical life activities to help children develop skills to take care of themselves and their environment, to learn concentration, and develop their physical skills. Sensorial materials help them learn to classify and organize their thinking and make sense of the world in a precise way. Language work begins with vocabulary and listening exercises and goes through all the skills needed to write, read, and understand simple grammar. Math work is taught in a hands-on way that gives children a sense of how numbers, geometry, and science work long before they ever learn the notation that represents it. Cultural work emphasizes geography, people, and cultures from all around the world.
Dr. Montessori designed the concept of Cosmic Education to begin with the whole (the universe) and works toward the component parts (history, geology, life forms, math, language). Our lessons are presented from the Five Great Stories and children get to choose follow-up work in such a way that they cover everything in a traditional curriculum, but get to do deep dives in areas of particular interest.
In our garden program, students connect with every step of growing food: from planting seeds to caring for plants, to harvesting fruits and vegetables, to preparing food, and then feasting on it at snack time. Working in the garden is part of daily life at WMS and all children on campus enjoy watching the fruits of their labor grow into being. In our neighborhood, where food scarcity is a problem for many families, our students learn the skills to nourish themselves at an early age. We also help contribute extra items we grow and cook back to members of the community who need healthy food.