At Montessori Renaissance Academy, we work to instill a sense of independence, respect, and responsibility in the students we work with. If you visit a classroom, you will find children working both independently and together on projects of their choosing. Our teachers guide the children, and our structured environment ensures a sense of order and respect. As children develop, they are shown new activities (or “work” as you will hear the children describe it).
Our multi-age classrooms also encourages older students to demonstrate materials to younger students. Many children will observe their classmates working on materials.
While independence is the pillar of a Montessori education, this does not mean that a child enrolled in Montessori is allowed to roam wild and do whatever he or she pleases. This also does not mean that there is no socialization with others. Because the basic tool of survival is the mind, human beings must know how to think and how to reason. This is the main goal of Montessori education: To develop the child’s capacity to reason and to rely on his or her own mind. When an individual can do this, he or she has achieved self-confidence and has built his or her self-esteem.
The Montessori method does not teach the child what to think, but how to think.
In the Montessori view, rational thinking is not severed from reality nor restricted to solving immediate problems. “Reason is man’s faculty for understanding reality and for guiding his actions on the basis of that understanding.”* Therefore, the Montessori method is structured so that the child develops an ordered mind, much like a filing cabinet. Because the child discovers and verifies processes and answers on his or her own rather than memorizing unconnected facts, the child learns that his or her mind is competent and able to deal with the world.
The independent individual, according to Montessori, is one who “through his own efforts is able to perform the actions necessary for his own comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in so doing, multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual.”