Monday, September 7, 2015

Beyond Academics


Dear Parents,
Welcome to the 2015-16 school year!  We are so excited to open our doors to you and your children this week.  Like the rest of schools across the nation, we have spent the summer months preparing classrooms, attending professional development, and rejuvenating our spirits in preparation for giving of ourselves fully in our work.
This year we have some exciting new programs to compliment the stellar Montessori classroom experience.  Primary through Middle School will enjoy weekly 'Tune In' time, designed to guide children in how to go tune in to their bodies and thoughts in reducing stress and encouraging well being.  These same programs will also enjoy 'Eco-Binding', where children connect to the outdoors in expanding their understanding and appreciation of nature.  Our fitness time for Elementary through Middle School will include a rotation of sports led by professionals whose philosophy on fitness and sports team behavior match our values in Montessori.   In addition, we have our newly formed Parent Association in place and ready to make the parent experience its best.  
Also unique to this year is that our school will begin the process of renewing our certification with the American Montessori Society.  We are proud to have held the highest level of certification throughout our school's history. This certification renewal process requires providing evidence of best practices in all areas of school administration and teaching.  Particular to the student experience, Montessori schools must show learner outcomes that are unique to Montessori yet so foundational and crucial in developing the next generation of adults.
The original American Montessori Society learner outcomes are as follows, and are worth reading as you begin the year committed to a Montessori education for your child.  Truly, a Montessori education goes beyond academics and prepares for life!
LEARNER OUTCOMES of a Montessori education:
 Independence: The child is able to choose his or her own work, apply energy to that work, complete it to a personal criterion of completion, and take and return the work to the place it is customarily kept, in such a way that another child will be able to find the work ready to use. The child is able to seek help and locate resources to continue the self-chosen task without necessarily involving the teacher.
 Confidence and Competence: The child’s self-perceived successes are far more numerous than his or her self-perceived failures. The child is capable of self-correcting work, upon observation, reflection, or discussion. The child can manage the available array of  learning materials with a clear sense of purpose.
 Autonomy: The child accepts or rejects inclusion in another child’s work, or work group, with equanimity.
 Intrinsic Motivation: The child is drawn to work for the apparent pure pleasure of doing so. The child, once having achieved a particular competence, moves on to revel in mastery by showing others, which solidifies the child's own knowledge.
 Ability to Handle External Authority: The child is able to accept the 'ground rules' of the group as appropriate in his or her dealings with other children. The child, when distant from the teacher, is able to function as if the teacher were nearby.
 Social Responsibility:  The child has obtained independence and autonomy and, at the same time, developed social responsibility. The child has come to know that independent and autonomous persons are always a part of a group and must participate positively in that group for the good of all.
Academic Preparation:  The child acquires academic skills and applies them in other learning situations. There is evidence that the child has 'learned how to learn' through exploration, discovery, inquiry, analysis, and expression of individual thought.  
 Spiritual Awareness:  The child is in touch with their spiritual (not necessarily theological) self, knows how to listen inwardly, experiences joy and wonder, and recognizes and honors the unique spirit in other beings, acting humanely and compassionately toward others.
 Citizens of the World:  The child  recognizes they are part of a world political system and a world ecological system. Through experience, the child has learned the laws of mind and of nature and understands the consequences of disobeying either of them. Civic virtue and respect and care for the natural world are evident in the child's actions.
source of list of outcomes adapted from: http://www.odysseymontessori.net/learner-outcomes/