Spring and the Gardens of the Mind

posted Mar 21, 2015, 9:33 PM by Amy E   [ updated Mar 23, 2015, 6:58 PM ]
As we head into the final stretch of our school year, we welcome spring and the resurgence of growth in the natural world. Spring is a time for new beginnings and planning for the crops we will tend and harvest in the coming seasons. Our elementary students are seeing the fruits of their studies as they learn to apply all of the skills they have gathered over the last three quarters. They will begin their work in the garden and further develop their observational skills while  seeing the direct impact of our water cycle during our impressive El Niño activity this season. As they deepen their understanding of the natural world, they are also exploring the cultures and history of other countries across the world. We draw these lessons together by highlighting the contributions of other cultures to our own, from the source of the modern roman alphabet to the birth of numbers.

Our third year primary students (kindergarten) have been invited in to participate in several lessons in the past quarter. They get a glimpse of what being in the elementary class could be like by having a chance to view our lessons and sit in on our discussions. We will bring them over to join us more frequently as the quarter progresses. 

This is the time of year in which choices for the future are on our minds. Families will make the decision whether to join us for the elementary cycles (6-9 and 9-12). We encourage families to set up a time to observe the classroom. The teachers are also available for meetings after school or on some weekends if parents would like to ask questions about how the elementary class works and what benefits it might confer to their child.

Our class of exiting kindergarten students are at a particular advantage if they choose to enter our elementary program. They will be working with teachers who know them well, with the support of the teachers who have guided them for the past several years. Our primary and elementary teachers work together to ensure that incoming kindergartners are met with work that challenges and inspires them.

We'd like to address a few reasons that parents choose to not enroll in the elementary program:

    My child will have a hard time adjusting to public school if they do not start their studies there in the first grade: We have students who enter our elementary program and stay for the entire 1-3rd grade cycle, we have students who exit any time from 4th to 6th grade — thus far, those students have been more likely to be on the honor roll in the public school they attend. The primary goal of our elementary curriculum is to give students the tools to learn on their own and the confidence to pursue their interests. With these skills, our students can tackle any situation with grace.

    My child will be left out if they don't meet with their peers in the public school and begin to forge friendships early: Over the years we have learned that children are very flexible and learn quickly to adapt to new situations. Montessori children often make friends easily because they are equipped with the confidence that an autonomous environment can instill. Sometimes adults can look at things like using lockers, switching classrooms, and the unfamiliar programs at the public school as being a terrific challenge for the incoming new student. In reality, our alumni have mastered these new situations within days, particularly when endowed with the positive sense of exploration and problem solving that we have nurtured in the Montessori classrooms.

    My child will be bored in a public school if they stay in the Montessori program for too long: We've observed the opposite in our alumni. Students in our program have their days full of various choices, and they realize that once they've finished one work it is time to begin another. If the work they are doing in their new environment is easily mastered, the children find other ways to challenge themselves. They often become leaders in their school community and find the time to volunteer and join enrichment programs. A Montessori student is never bored, they have the skills to expand their interests!

    It is too expensive: We continue to work toward growing our scholarship program and offer various levels of support. To this end we invite you to discuss options with the administration. We employ fundraising and grant writing in our efforts to boost our scholarship abilities and welcome suggestions and help. If you have ideas or talents that would benefit the school, be sure to mention this when you talk to the administrator about possible financial aid.

Please call or email admin@alpinemontessori.org to schedule an observation of the elementary classroom or a meeting with a teacher to discuss your child's elementary choices. Thank you for all that you do, and thank you for being a part of our family.