10201 Democracy Blvd
Rockville, MD 20854-4439
"We provide an environment that encourages children to develop intelligence, self-confidence, love of learning, independence and self-discipline The school is open to children of any race, religion, color, nationality, or ethnic origin.
The school is approved by the Maryland State Board of Education and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. Unlike most women of her day, she studied mathematics, physics, and natural science. Although she originally planned to become an engineer, she became so interested in biology that she decided to study medicine. In 1896, ranking in the top of her class, she became the first woman to graduate from the University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Montessori became interested in children left to waste away in mental institutions. She began to work with these children, and eventually they were able to pass the State Elementary School Exams. It was said she had performed a miracle! Dr. Montessori felt this was certainly no miracle and if these children were capable of attaining this level of achievement, what then would be the level of work that healthy and normal children could achieve if given the proper environment? So began her years of work and study with normal children which evolved into the philosophy of education now called the “Montessori Method.”
The Montessori Method is not a method of education as such but an integral way of life. There is no formal dogma or theory. The fundamental concept is that children have a passionate love of learning, of work, of order, and self-discipline--all of which can become permanent and self-enforcing traits if the child is properly encouraged. All of the ideas of Dr. Montessori were a result of her direct observation of children themselves. The special materials used in the Montessori schools were developed in her attempt to fill the needs of children as she saw and interpreted them. She also discovered that in the development of the child, there are what she called “sensitive periods.” At fairly predictable ages children pass through periods of sensitivity to such things as order, courtesy, touch, language, mathematics, dimension, etc. By combining a knowledge of these periods and a judicious use of the apparatus, Montessori schools have introduced to very young children vast areas of knowledge usually believed unavailable to them.
The children are free to make these achievements because they are given an environment established and geared to their needs. This is what Dr. Montessori meant by the “prepared environment.” The Montessori materials are housed on low shelves, within easy reach of the young child. The only restrictions upon the use of the materials are that they must be properly used--not abused--and must be returned to their place after use. Most materials have a built-in control of error so that the child can correct himself without the aid of an adult. The tables and chairs are all lightweight and arranged purposely in the environment to encourage grace of movement. There are numerous activities in the classroom that assist the child in caring for this unique environment. The child learns to take great pride in caring for this special environment, and being responsible for it. With a “place for everything and everything in its place,” the child becomes part of an ordered environment.
Dr. Montessori found order to be an integral part of liberty. The concept of liberty in the Montessori school is often misunderstood. While liberty is essential for the child, it must never be allowed to become license. It is a point of arrival rather than a point of departure. The child is made to understand what he must not do. But because he is free, he learns to make choices. The order of progression is from controlled freedom to concentration to self-discipline. The child works, not to know, but to grow.
Excerpted from the preschool's website