Montessori Early Childhood Education
What is Montessori?
Maria Montessori began her professional life as Italy’s first female physician in the late 1890s. Using her keen scientific observation skills, she developed a theory of child development and education based on “following the child.” The Montessori approach is designed to assist children in acquiring the skills and self-confidence necessary to fulfill their potential. By building on interests, nurturing enthusiasm, and respecting individual needs, children can achieve discipline, independence, autonomy, and a life-long love of learning. The philosophy is based on three equal components: the child, the adult, and the environment.
Montessori philosophy states that young children possess an “absorbent mind” that allows them to easily assimilate information and understanding through all of the senses. Also, children have “sensitive periods” when their interests and abilities for acquiring certain skills are at a peak.
The role of the adult in a Montessori classroom is best described as a facilitator who observes the readiness and interest of the child and becomes the link between the child and the environment.
A Montessori classroom is a carefully prepared environment. Materials are specifically designed and chosen based upon the individual needs of the child to provide a sequential, concrete, and attractive curriculum. Opportunities for learning are carefully intertwined into the classroom. Through touching and manipulating concrete materials and objects, children are introduced to language, science, mathematics, geography, and more.
How many children do you serve and what are their ages?
MMCCC has six classrooms - one Infant, one Toddler, one Pre-Primary, and three Primary rooms. Our classrooms are comprised of children of mixed ages and genders.
Infant Program (6 weeks – 15 months)
The Turtle Infant Room is reserved for the children of Swedish Hospital employees. Basic Montessori materials and philosophy are introduced. Children are given time to independently explore and engage with many types of objects (e.g. balls, blocks, books, instruments). Establishing a warm and affectionate relationship between the children and caregivers is a cornerstone of this program. The teacher-student ratio is 1 to 4.
Toddler and Pre-Primary Program (15 – 36 months)
There are two Toddler-age classrooms- one for 15-24 month Owl classroom Toddlers and one for 24-36 month Busy Bee Pre-Primary students. These spots are prioritized for the children of Swedish Hospital’s employees. Basic Montessori materials and philosophy are continued in this program and other activities, such as line time, are introduced. Some other common activities include singing, readings books, art projects, and independent play time. Once again, developing a loving and compassionate connection between the children and caregivers is very important for this program. The teacher- student ratio is 1 to 5.
Primary Program (36 months – 6 years)
In these rooms (Bear, Eagle, and Butterfly) basic mathematics, language, and sensorial materials, as well as practical life and geography concepts, are introduced through Montessori educational philosophy and structure of the environment. Children are also encouraged to developed positive relationships with both peers and teachers. We encourage families that enroll in this program to plan to keep their child in the Primary program for their Kindergarten year. The teacher-student ratio is 1 to 10.
Is there a waitlist for enrollment? How long is it?
There is a consistent waitlist for admission to McCormick Montessori Child Care Center (MMCCC). SH employees take preference in enrollment. Applications are added to the waitlist based on the date the application and fee are received. There is a $100 non-refundable application fee. While we have a rolling admissions process, most of our new children are enrolled in the late summer/ early fall (as our graduates leave the program, and space becomes available).
How many days a week can a child come to the MMCCC?
Children attend from three to five days per week. The specific days and number are determined based on the parent’s needs and classroom availability. We encourage children to attend class consistently, arrive on time, and on a full-time basis.