Education Through Exploration: A Day in the Life at Meyer Montessori
Meyer Montessori offers a unique learning environment that is observable the minute you step into the school. With warm aesthetics and caring staff members, Meyer welcomes children into each day with new opportunities for them to explore, learn, and play.
In their first year, Meyer Montessori is proving to be a great place for children to develop a lifelong love of learning. Currently serving children aged three through six, the school has already established strong roots in their community and positive growth within their classrooms.
As a specialty school, Meyer offers free public Montessori education to Tempe families for children attending kindergarten and up. There is a small tuition fee for preschool aged children. Tempe Elementary also offers open enrollment, meaning that individuals can live outside of our school district boundary and still attend Meyer Montessori. The school is expanding their program for the 2018-2019 year and is currently accepting second- and third-grade students. For more information, please call (480) 584-6339.
Instructional Guides Sabrina Lafreniere-Tousignant and Misty Khalique each guide their own combined classroom of three- through six-year olds. Their classrooms host multiple learning opportunities that children have the freedom to choose from. At this age, Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children have an “absorbent mind” – meaning they are able to effortlessly absorb everything in their environment.
“We call our classroom the ‘Children’s House’ because children are encouraged to explore, absorb, and find things out for themselves,” said Khalique. “Adults are visitors that can help guide lessons, but a child’s independent work is where learning unfolds.”
Each activity is designed to be appealing to the children – they are intended to call out to them. Looking around these classrooms, visitors can see that Meyer students are actively engaged in the activities that they have chosen to participate in. Some students are outside painting their own piece of art, some are slicing bananas for lunch, while others are inside on the floor and practicing their handwriting.
“In Montessori education, we practice freedom within limits,” said Lafreniere-Tousignant. “This means that children are encouraged to learn by following their tendencies guided through lessons that meet their needs. These needs evolve and grow over the school year.”
In Early Childhood Montessori, learning is mostly grouped into four main categories: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Math. These areas allow the child to adapt to different situations, express themselves, and develop their individual thinking.
In this learning category, children develop fundamental characteristics such as order, coordination, concentration, and independence and the desire to learn more by completing activities that have meaning from start to finish. Most of these activities include tasks that are part of their daily routine at home such as preparing food, washing dishes, and cleaning clothes. They learn to complete a task from beginning to end while developing control and concentration. An example of this learning category was demonstrated by Calvin Cappleman, a Meyer preschool student working on cleaning his classroom’s window.
Touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring the physical nature of their environment are all encouraged in the Early Childhood Montessori classroom. Sensorial materials aid in the development of cognitive skills by students learning to order and classify their impressions using their senses. This learning category was demonstrated by Meyer Preschool Student Emery Franklin who worked with colorful shapes and explored how they could be joined together and broken apart.
The Montessori classroom environment encourages language learning at every level. In early childhood, the classroom offers rich opportunity for oral language, allowing the child to express through conversations, stories, and songs. The instructional guides participate by providing correct vocabulary, pronunciation, and usage of words. Materials such as moveable alphabet letters help students link sounds with the symbols of language, providing the information needed to effortlessly lead into reading and writing. This was demonstrated by Meyer Preschool Student Frank Castro who worked with a moveable alphabet to practice spelling his name.
Math activities are intended to help children understand the concepts of math not just through numbers, but through real amounts that they can hold in their hands. They are encouraged to work from visual to abstract. Numbers can be handled in real materials such as a number rod showing the difference between one and ten, or through problem solving with mathematical equations. This was successfully demonstrated by Meyer Kindergarten Student Freddy Martin and Preschool Student Gael Feagan-Berbes who were working together on a project to connect 1,000 beads on a chain.
Other learning categories, such as geography, biology, zoology, music, and art are also integral to the Montessori environment. Children are actively learning about people, cultures, nature, and developing an attitude of respect and admiration for those that are different from themselves as well as understanding and appreciating their own unique strengths.
“I really like being a student here because I have made a lot of friends and I get to do fun stuff every day,” said Meyer Kindergarten Student Ceder Rapier. “Miss Misty is a really smart and helps me when I need it.”
It is clear that the first year of Meyer Montessori has been off to a bright start, and it’s only expected to be brighter. Looking into the future, both Khalique and Lafreniere-Tousignant are excited for what is to come.
“This year has been special because it is our first year,” said Lafreniere-Tousignant. “We’re working really hard to make sure every child’s needs are met and looking forward to continuing that next year. The community has been amazing and parents are very involved, connected, and helpful!”
“It’s amazing to be here in Tempe and the Meyer community has been so welcoming,” said Khalique. “The administration has been great and we have learned a lot already in this first year. We are constantly learning and having conversations to make sure we are offering the best we can for our children.”
Thank you Meyer Montessori for offering great educational opportunities for our students! For more information about Meyer Montessori, please visit www.tempeschools.org/montessori. If you would like to register your child for the 2018-2019 school year, please call Meyer school’s front office at (480) 584-6339 or visit our website registration page.