The philosophy that guides the teachers of MMS is one that comes from all of our influences—history, traditions, research, extensions of the Montessori philosophy as well as the Reggio Emilia Approach. We have used this research to create our own identity of MacDonald Montessori School.
MacDonald Montessori School:
An Integration of the Montessori & Reggio Emilia Approaches to Learning
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, educator and innovator known for the philosophy of education that bears her name. Her observations of how the children she worked with absorbed knowledge through the use of and manipulation of their existing materials and classroom environments that she thought fostered the children's natural desire to learn.
Loris Malaguzzi was an Italian educator and founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach.
He graduated pedagogy and began his career as a primary school teacher. He later began working with the teachers and administrators of the city of Reggio Emilia to open the first municipal preschools. He believed the children have many ways of thinking and expressing themselves-the hundred languages of children.
Mind, Heart, Body and Spirit
As we challenged our thinking about the Domains of Knowledge we were struck by the separation between thinking/curriculum and the joy/wonder of learning. We played the game of listing words that embodied our relationships with children and their total enthusiasm for learning.
The words in the spiral are some the words we felt were essential. Children and nature do not separate anything. Knowledge for its own sake is sterile and cold. The Values expressed in the Spiral are the essence of life.
Domains of Knowledge and the Heart of Learning
Imagination - Creating - Curiosity - Awe - Astonishment - Excitement - Enchantment - Freedom Honor the Thinking - Magic - Spirit - Soul - Wonder - Joy - Connections - Relationships - Struggle Focus - Coping Skills - Love - Complexity - Energy - Beauty Trust - Amazement - Core - Intrigue Miracle - Anticipation - Marvel - Skepticism - Surprise - Puzzlement - Heart - Power - Process Competent - Empathy - Compassion - Fantasy
We embrace the Domains of Knowledge and recognize they are all integrated interactive, interwoven, dynamic, and interchangeable in the daily living and learning of children.
The philosophies of Maria Montessori and Reggio-Emilia Approach are characterized by their seamless blending and connections between their theory and practice. Since we have been strongly included by them both, we are set with the privileged challenge of doing the same in our own context. Our theory and therefore our practice include attitudes about children, teachers and parents.
MacDonald Montessori School
sees children as...
… active protagonists in their own growth and development.
… possessing extraordinary potentials for learning and change.
… having the right to be respected and valued in their own identity, uniqueness, and differences.
… competent in living and constructing experiences within their environment to which they are capable of making sense and meaning of.
… capable and full of potential as well as decision makers in their own quest for knowledge and autonomy.
… born explorers and should be encouraged to express their discoveries in their own languages. They, therefore have a right to a rich variety of opportunities and materials for giving voice to their theories.
…view collaborative relationships and interactions as the core of our process. Give value to time and the rhythm of the day. Research into the interests of the children and teachers come from the daily life of the classrooms. Respect is given to all these aspects for the learning to show forth the progress.
…are partners in learning with the children and their role is to act as a resource, and provocateur. The teachers research the learning of the children and offer intentional support as the children construct knowledge. Documentation is seen as a tool to help understand and guide decisions. The documentation comes from observations, photos, and analyzing the work collaboratively.
…see professional development as not only conferences, workshops and in-services but an essential element of daily life. As teachers examine and reflect upon their work they broaden their vision of education.
MacDonald Montessori School
believes that parents...
…enter into the relationships and interactions of our school as the most important people in the life of their young children. There are many opportunities for rich and powerful relationships. The teachers and parents seek to participate in complementary and cooperative knowledge for the well being of the children.
…have the right to share their time and talents, life and work experiences as well as cultures. Contributions to and collaboration with the school-wide community is to be highly valued. As children have a hundred or more ways to express themselves, so also do their parents. Each family’s history, work experience, extended family, culture and skills add a unique contribution to the school community. There are a hundred or more ways for this participation to unfold.