The Montessori Method
Montessori is not a system for training children in academic studies; nor is it a label to be put on educational materials. It is a revolutionary method of observing and supporting the natural development of children. Montessori educational practice helps children develop creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and time-management skills, to contribute to society and the environment, and to become fulfilled persons in their particular time and place on Earth. The basis of Montessori practice in the classroom is respected individual choice of research and work, and uninterrupted concentration rather than group lessons led by an adult. Group lessons are seldom found in a Montessori classroom, but learning abounds.
The Montessori Method was created by Dr. Maria Montessori, MD., who was always a little ahead of her time. She was born in Italy in 1870, and in 1896, became the first female doctor in Italy. Dr. Montessori based her work on the direct observation of children. She accepted no preconceived opinions or theories about their abilities, nor did she attempt to manipulate their behavior by reward or punishments toward any end. She constantly experimented and developed materials based on the interests, needs, and developing abilities of children. Educators called Dr. Montessori a miracle worker.
Invited to the USA by Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and others, Dr. Montessori made an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York by 1915. The following is a letter from this period, from Alexander Graham Bell: Dear Dr. Montessori, On behalf of the Montessori Educational Association of America I have the honor to inform you that we have elected you as its first Honorary member and to express to you in this way our deep appreciation of your great work for humanity.
After years of expression mainly in pre-schools, Montessori philosophy is finally being used as originally intended, as a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfillment of their highest potential – spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual – as members of a family, the world community and the Cosmos.
Montessori practice is always up-to-date and dynamic because observation and the meeting of needs are continual and specific for each child. When physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs are met children glow with excitement and a drive to play and work with enthusiasm, to learn, and to create. They exhibit a desire to teach, help, and care for others and for their environment.
The high level of academic achievement so common in Montessori schools is a natural outcome of experience in such a supportive environment. The Montessori method of education is a model which serves the needs of children of all levels of mental and physical ability as they live and learn in a natural, mixed-age group which is very much like the society they will live in as adults.
Learn more about the Montessori Method by visiting The International Montessori Index: www.montessori.edu
“Like others I had believed that it was necessary to encourage a child by means of some exterior reward that would flatter his baser sentiments, such as gluttony, vanity, or self-love, in order to foster in him a spirit of work and peace. And I was astonished when I learned that a child who is permitted to educate himself really gives up these lower instincts. I then urged the teachers to cease handing out the ordinary prizes and punishments, which were no longer suited to our children, and to confine themselves to directing them gently in their work.”
Summersun also offers a child care program during the summer months, which provides educational experiences outside of the academic year. The summer program is geared toward existing Summersun students ages 2-6 years old and mixes learning opportunities with exciting summer adventures.
Our school is open every weekday from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm but families have the option to enroll for the timeframe that works best for the child and the family*:
8:30 am – 2:30 pm
7:00 am – 5:30 pm
*Children are not required to be at school during all hours; parents are welcome to drop off and pick up their children at any point within their selected timeframe.
Our daughter went to Summersun after we fell in love with the school from our first experience with our son. The benefits of Montessori Philosophy help build self confidence and life skills. We feel fortunate to have been able to have Summersun staff and the Montessori Philosophy help in cultivating our daughters learning.”
Summersun Montessori is supported, in part, by community participation in two fundraisers. Wreaths and poinsettias are sold during the winter holiday season. Fresh flower baskets are sold in the spring time. If you would like to be notified when these fundraisers are underway, please contact us. Your participation is greatly appreciated, and supports educational developments at Summersun Montessori.
As a non-profit, we rely on the support of our parent community to keep our school running at its best. Summersun parents not only make up the bulk of our board of directors, but also volunteer an average of 20 hours per year to the school, participate in our two yearly fundraisers, and donate the equivalent of a month’s worth of tuition as a tax-deductable gift to the school. Summersun parents rock!