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Traditional Montessori teaching methods leading into the 21st century.
https://ashevillemontessorischool.com/about-us/strengths-of-asheville-montessori-school/

Asheville Montessori School

Key Strengths of Asheville Montessori School

 

1. A Unified Philosophy Backed by Experience

We are a traditional Montessori School, serving 105 three to six year olds. We have served this community for 18 years. We find it a strength for us that we are anchored in one method and philosophy and are able to commit to it with a whole heart. Our years of experience enhance this strength. Experience is a wonderful teacher and we are ever learning from it.

 

2. Based in Child Development

The philosophy and the method of Maria Montessori are based on the science of child development. This science is universal, applying to all children who are growing and developing, no matter their race or socio-economic background or even what time period in history that they were born in!

 

3. Prepared Teachers

At AMS, each Teacher is trained at a certified Montessori Teacher Training Program. This training has two areas of strong development. One area is the focus on the Academics of the Montessori Method. This aspect is heavily steeped in the science of Child Development. The second component is a 10 month internship, in which the Teacher-in-training is placed in a Montessori classroom, receiving a multitude of experiences and hands-on training. (Although a popular option for receiving Montessori training is the online option, we find that hiring teachers who have received their training at a teacher training center gives us teachers who have excellent preparation for their important job of teaching and modeling for young children.) Being an intern for a school year and having all that hands-on experience is invaluable for a well-prepared Montessori Teacher. Our Assistant Teachers are in-house trained and offer wonderful support for the Teachers and the children.

 

4. Prepared Classrooms

Our classrooms are equipped with a full complement of Montessori materials. These materials are well-maintained and are made from many natural materials. The classroom is designed to “call” to the child. One role the Montessori teacher has is to connect the student to the wonderful materials inside of the classroom. Those materials are organized in areas of learning and are also sequenced within that area. The materials are also designed to meet the three year cycle of the Montessori child. The child that completes the three year cycle is able to receive wonderful information about all seven continents, move through our Math sequence that leads a child towards abstract Math, and move at their own pace through much of our Language material. In addition, we seek to balance our classrooms between boys and girls and also between three’s, four’s and five/six’s.

 

5. Outdoor Education

Our playground is designed to encourage many opportunities for both your child’s physical and social growth and development with their own class, as well as with other classes. We have the joy of offering gardening three seasons of the year. The garden area is fenced in for safety and raised garden beds allow the children easy access. Occasionally, we take special opportunity to do teaching activities outdoors, such as counting, measuring, botany activities and more.

 

6. Peace Education

Another woven thread through our curriculum is peace education! This is the backbone of all we say and all we do! We teach children in very practical ways how to pursue peace and apply peaceful ways to their relationships. Our peace education includes a Peace Corner where children may go to “find their peace” and also to relax and to calm down. We have a Peace Rose for conflict resolution. (The person holding the Peace Rose is the person who is talking. The other person is listening.) The answer to all conflicts is to use our words. We talk together throughout the day about peaceful solutions and ways to find our own peace.

 

7. Positive Discipline

Respect for each person is a tenet of the Montessori Philosophy. We have a set of five simple rules that we all follow: In our school, we use kind hands, kind words, kind feet, listening ears with inside voices, and walking feet. These rules are child-friendly, easy to follow and easy to remember. If a child does not follow these rules, we ask that child to sit and think of a better choice to make. Conversations about choice are an important part of our method for guiding children. If they feel they have a choice, it empowers them and puts the ownership of that choice upon the child. We use calm voices and we mean our words. We do not use negative, shaming or derogatory words with our children. We are always mindful of the fact that each child is still in the process of forming, and is therefore in need of our respect and understanding.

 

8. Social/Emotional Development

A very important aspect of our school is the social and emotional development of each child. Every child that walks through our doors wants friends, yet they do not always know how to make a friend, be a friend or keep a friend. Needless to say, woven through every day is teaching, guiding and modeling that develops social/emotional growth. We are a community. Each day has community-building activities during circle time. These activities also help our children to develop socially and emotionally. At AMS, we care about the development of the whole child. It gives us joy to support our children in all domains of development.

 

9. Strong Administrative Support

Our Administrative Staff are wonderful multi-taskers. Our office staff stand ready to offer support and help in a variety of ways. If a child is running a fever, it is a great place to rest while we contact his/her parents. If a child needs a space separate from the classroom to make a better choice, the office is an available and safe place for that child. If a child is in need of extra quiet in order to concentrate, the office is a wonderful place to find peace. And, if a child or teacher just needs an extra smile or hug, we stand ready with both. Our Administrative staff also stand ready to be a substitute teacher in the classroom, offering a lovely opportunity for the children to be with someone familiar to and with them.

 

10. Reading Plan

Each child is allowed to unfold into reading at their own pace. Students move through our clearly sequenced material, practicing each step until they have success. Moving children from success to success is a tenet of the Montessori method. This sequenced plan for reading is applied to each child individually allowing them to build a strong foundation in both the use of phonics and the use of sight words. Many Montessori children do become early readers because they are able to move through the sequence at their own pace and are not held back to wait on group members to “catch up.” Parent volunteers and our Administrative Floater frequently works one-on-one with the emergent readers, allowing them to practice reading from sequential readers. This practice is invaluable to these students becoming fluently reading students.

 

11. Kindergarten Program

At AMS we have a well-planned and executed Kindergarten Program. This plan includes careful and intentional teaching regarding gentle leadership! Our Kindergarteners are our leaders in each classroom; they lead by modeling, giving lessons they know to younger friends and helping younger friends and their teachers with tasks in the classroom. Kindergarteners spend their morning in their own classroom, working on an individualized work plan and also practicing leadership. In the afternoon, all Kindergarteners gather in one room and begin the afternoon listening to a chapter in a chapter book. After the chapter is read, we have a discussion to build reading comprehension skills. The afternoon is then carefully designed to expose and teach our Kindergarteners a variety of skills that are needed in their next steps in learning. Many of these lessons are STEM-based and encourage Science and Math learning. This afternoon gathering is also an important time to build community with their peers. Kindergarteners enjoy doing collaborative projects together; this work makes them feel so proud. They help with each of our school service projects, feeling proud of this important and big work. They also enjoy several wonderful field trips off-campus, just for them. On Fridays, they have the opportunity to have a special picnic lunch together. Finally, they are honored at a very special graduation ceremony at the end of the school year.

 

12. Parent Volunteers

We love parent volunteers! Parents have skills and experiences that enhance who we are and what we can offer to children. It is a lovely way for the parents to feel a special connection to our community. The opportunities to volunteer in the classroom seem endless, such as reading with emergent readers, helping in the garden, reading to the class on circle, sharing a skill with the children like playing a musical instrument, and so on.

 

13. Ambassadors

Ambassadors are a special group of parent volunteers who enhance our school and serve our community in specific ways. Ambassadors reach out to new families to welcome them to our community. They sponsor several fun family events and they organize lovely things for our teachers to help them feel special. Ambassadors make such a big difference in our community.

 

14. Service Opportunities

Our community finds joy in helping and sharing with those in need. The children bring in pennies to donate towards Charity Water, a non-profit that helps developing countries create clean water opportunities. This is a year long project that the children love to be a part of. We also support local charities; we trick or treat for UNICEF, celebrate International Day of Peace, collect clothing and other items for HelpMate (a local non-profit that helps mothers and children who are victims of abuse), and donate diapers for Babies Need Bottoms. These opportunities are a powerful model to our children of caring and giving towards the needs of others.

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