Montessori Education in Pinellas County
Our Montessori School curriculum fosters a student’s curiosity and natural interest in learning. The Lower Division programs are designed to establish foundations for success in the Upper Division and for life long learning. The Montessori curriculum and teaching methods give children an extraordinary advantage over traditional programs.
At the core of the Montessori approach is the fact that children learn most effectively through direct experience and the process of investigation and discovery. Most children do not learn by memorizing what they hear from their teachers or read in a text; instead, they learn from concrete experience and direct interaction with the environment.
The Montessori curriculum is organized into a spiral of integrated studies. In the early years, lessons are introduced simply and concretely and are reintroduced several times over succeeding years at increasing degrees of abstraction and complexity. Montessori classes are organized to encompass a three-year age span, which allows younger students to experience the daily stimulation of older role models, who in turn blossom in the responsibilities of leadership. Students not only learn “with” each other, but “from” each other.
History of Montessori
The curriculum and guiding philosophy of Country Day Lower School is based on the work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician who dedicated her life to an educational philosophy based on years of observing children. She developed curriculum, created materials, built child-size furnishings, and purposefully designed learning environments. After many years of researching and observing, she concluded that education must follow the universal laws of human development as revealed in the actual lives of children. Pioneering a child-centered philosophy calling for developmentally appropriate education practices, Dr. Montessori created a new type of classroom, a prepared environment, to stimulate the individual interests and needs of her students. The Montessori method has successfully been in practice for over a century and is widely recognized as a leading educational philosophy. In our pedagogy, lessons, and materials at Country Day, we are proud to recognize and carry on that tradition.
Montessori Learning Environment
In the Montessori classroom, great care and effort is put into creating a beautiful, calming environment. The characteristics of this “prepared environment” are the result of years of meticulous observation of children from all parts of the world. Montessori’s idea of the prepared environment was that everything the child came in contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration. The Montessori materials are a key element in the environment and are designed for five primary areas of learning: Practical Life; Sensorial; Language; Mathematics; Cultural/ Science. Montessori classrooms are dynamic and collaborative places where the whole child is engaged in developing academic abilities by following personal interests and establishing respect for self and others. This happens through exploration of the environment and relationships, and working within a multi-age community to create a better, more peaceful world.
Famous Montessori Alumni
- Joshua Bell, violinist
- Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of Amazon.com
- T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician
- Sergey Brin & Larry Page, founders of Google
- Julia Child, chef and author
- George Clooney, actor
- Peter Drucker, management guru
- Anne Frank, WWII diarist
- Katherine Graham, past owner and editor, Washington Post
- Helen Hunt, actress
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former first lady and book editor
- Devi Sridhar, youngest-ever American Rhodes scholar
- Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
- Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, musician
- Helen Keller, author & activist
- Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, royalty
- Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales, royalty
- Chelsea Clinton, First Daughter
- Alexander Graham Bell founded two of the first Montessori schools in the U.S. and Canada.
- Thomas Edison founded a Montessori school in the U.S.
- Jean Piaget, noted psychologist, was head of the Swiss Montessori Society.
- Woodrow Wilson created a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House for his daughter.
- Montessori advocates: Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Buckminster Fuller, Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Fred Rogers, Bertrand Russell, Leo Tolstoy and Alice Waters