Instead of talking about the amazing hands-on materials a Montessori classroom provides (which it does) or the amazing social and emotional benefits children receive by being in a classroom with multiple aged children (which there are), or even the differentiated learning that happens when teachers are able to allow children to work at their own unique developmental levels (which it does) there is a more intrinsic and less obvious reason that Montessori education is so important.
Montessori education changes as the children progress through toddler, primary, early and upper elementary and into middle school, just as the children themselves change and grow during those years. There is so much to say about the benefits of each level at the New School of Lancaster. Yet there is something that transcends the classroom. As an educator who has worked in special education settings, non-Montessori private settings and has had her own children go through the public school system, I believe that giving your child a Montessori education provides something that is difficult to quantify on a rubric or observe in a photograph but will impact his or her life forever.
This elusive characteristic has to do with the intrinsic beliefs held by the teachers and administrators about children that are the backbone of the Montessori model. Montessori faculty hold children in high esteem; they respect the child on a deep level; they speak to children, no matter how young, with dignity and they seek to provide each child with a sense of capability and encouragement that is not often found in other educational models.
It is this underpinning of respect, honor, dignity and joy that will ultimately impact the lives of the children who attend the New School of Lancaster. Many schools can provide quality hands-on materials and can differentiate learning but few will provide their students with that complete respect, emotional understanding and individual honor that you will find in our school.
It is this difficult-to-capture belief and pervasive attitude about each individual child that will provide an important foundation to every child as he or she develops through childhood and into adulthood. It is this foundation that will live on as not only our school legacy but also as each and every student’s legacy, no matter where they go or what they do in the future.
Beth Bitts, Primary Teacher