Be part of the Kiddie Toes Montessori School Family!

Our elementary level follows the Progressive Education Method. We also use the Singapore Math Curriculum.

The Progressive Education’s main objective is to educate the "whole child" (physical, emotional and intellectual)

• Emphasis on learning by doing (experiential learning)
• Integrated curriculum focused on thematic units
• Strong emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking
• Group work and development of social skills
• Collaborative and cooperative learning projects
• Education for social responsibility and democracy
• Integration of community service and service learning projects into the daily curriculum
• Selection of subject content by looking forward to ask what skills will be needed in future society
• De-emphasis on textbooks in favor of varied learning resources
• Emphasis on life-long learning and social skills

School facilities

- Airconditioned classrooms
- Highly qualified Teachers
- Imported learning materials
- English as the medium of instruction
- Spacious play area
- Ideally located in the center of the city
- Comfortable waiting area

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Montessori is not: Busting Montessori Myths

by: Maren Schmidt M. Ed. with Dana Schmidt
- from: Understanding Montessori A Guide for Parents

Myth 1: Montessori schools are only for rich kids.

Many Montessori schools in the United States are private schools begun in the early to mid-1960's, a time when most public education didn't offer kindergarten, and only 5% of children went to preschool compared with the 67% reported in the 2000 census. When many Montessori schools were established, private preschools might have been options only for those in urban well-to-do areas. This exclusive availability may have given the impression that only wealthy families can afford Montessori school. The first schools that Dr. Montessori established were in the slums of Rome for children left alone at home while parents were out working and certainly not for rich kids.

In December 2008 in the United States there are 275 public Montessori schools and 120 charter Montessori schools that offer taxpayer-financed schoolong. There are thousands of private not-for-profit Montessori schools that use charitable donations to offer affordable tuition. Homeschooling the Montessori way is an affordable alternative for some families.

Montessori education, through these low cost options, is available to families interested in quality education. Many private Montessori schools offer scholoarships, and some states offer childcare credits and assistance to low-income families. I've known more than one teenaged single mother who used government assistance to help pay for Montessori preschool while she went to college. Also, some Head Start programs have Montessori classrooms.

Montessori education can be affordable for families at most income levels.

Myth 2. Montessori schools are for smart kids.

Montessori education is for all children.

To the casual observer, Montessori students may appear advanced for their age, leading to the assumption that the schools cater to smart children. When three-year-olds begin working in a Montessori prepared learning environment, these children learn to read, write, and understandthe world around them in ways that they can easily express to adults. When a child tells you that the corolla of a flower is purple, you might think she is much older than three or four. Learning the parts of the flowers comes naturally with the hands on materials in the classroom and Montessori teachers’ language presentations.

Montessori schools offer children of differing abilities ways to express their unique personalities through activities using hands- on materials, language, numbers, art, music, movement, and more. Montessori schooling helps each child develop individuality in a way that accentuates his or her innate intelligence. Montessori schools can help make all kids smart kids.

Myth 3. Montessori schools are for the learning disabled.

It is true that Dr. Montessori began her work with children who where institutionalized due to physical or mental impairments. However, when using her methods and materials with normal children, Dr. Montessori discovered hat children learned more quickly using her teaching methods.

This discovery is supported by recent research. For example, Dr. Angeline Lillard’s research at Craig Montessori in Milwaukee showed that by the end of kindergarten Montessori students performed better than their peers at executive controls, decoding language and early math, social awareness, and appeals to social justice. By sixth grade Montessori students outperformed their peers in social skills, exhibiting a sense of community, creativity in story writing, and complexity of sentence formulation.

Their are some Montessori schools or classrooms that cater specifically to children who have learning challenges. In many Montessori schools, however, children with special needs are included in regular classrooms when those requirements can be met with existing school resources.

Myth 4. Isn’t Montessori part of the Catholic Church?

Like many preschools, some Montessori schools may have church ties, but most Montessori schools are established as independent entities. Conversely, a school might be housed in a church building and not have any religious affiliation. Since Montessori refers to philosophy and not an organization, schools are free to have relationships with other organizations, including churches.

Catholic or other religious organizations did establish some of the first Montessori programs. “The Catechesis of the good Shepherd,” a hands-on church learning experience for young children. Dr. Montessori also used many biblical and religious references in her books, reflecting her classical education and mores of that time. The Montessori movement, however, has no religious affiliations.

Montessori schools around the world reflect the specific values and beliefs of the staff members and families that form each school community. Around the world there are Montessori schools that are part of Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and other religious communities.

Myth 5. Don’t Montessori kids run around and do whatever they want?

When looking at a Montessori classroom, you will see twenty-five to thirty children involved in individual or small group activities. It is possible that you may see twenty-five children moving about the classroom involved in twenty –five different activities. At first glance, a classroom may look like a hive of bumblebees.

If you take the time to follow the activities of two children over the course of a three-hour work period, you will see a series of self directed activities referred to as a work cycle. The children aren’t running wild in the classroom. They are each involved in self-selected activities, which Montessorians refer to as work designed to build concentration and support independent learning.

Choosing what you do is not the same as doing whatever you want. A well-known anecdote about Montessori students doing what they like comes from E. M. Standing’s book, Maria Montessori: Her Life and Works.

A rather captious and skeptical visitor to a Montessori class once buttonholed one of the children – a little girl of seven and said: “ Is it true that in this school you are allowed to do anything you like? “I don’t know about that,” replied the little maiden cautiously, “but I do know that we like what we do!”

The feelings that working in a Montessori classroom inspires might be reflected in the words of playwright and composer Noel Coward, “Work is much more fun than fun.”

Myth 6: Montessorians seem like a selective sorority or clique.

One definition of clique is “an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose.” Many Montessori teachers could be accused of this because of their intense desire to be of service in the life of a chilled coupled with the teacher’s knowledge of childe development. And while many school communities are close, they are not necessarily exclusive. You should look for a school where you and your family feel welcomed.

For many years Montessori teacher training was available only in a few larger cities, and becoming certified required prospective teachers to be determined and dedicated as relocating was often required. Now Montessori teacher’s training is more accessible. Dozens of colleges and universities now offer undergraduate or graduate programs in Montessori education in conjunction with Montessori training centers.Loyola College in Maryland, New York University, Xavier University, and College of St.Catherine are only a few of the many institutions of higher learning that include Montessori teacher’s training.

Dr. Montessori books, full of Italian scientific and psychological terminology translated into the British English of the early 1900s, can be difficult for the modern reader to follow. To parents, the use of Montessori-specific terms and quotes may at times take on esoteric tones of an exclusive inner circle. The enthusiasm and dedication evident in the work of many Montessorians might be misinterpreted as excluding to uninitiated newcomers.

Understanding Montessori strives to demystify Montessori ideas and communicate the common sense and the true inclusiveness of Montessori philosophy and practice. In Chapter 10, Montessori Vocabulary Made Clear, we list and define specific terms to help you become familiar with key words before you visit your first school or pick up a volume of Dr. Montessori’s essays.

Myth 7. Montessori classrooms are too structured.

Parents sometimes see the Montessori concept of "work as play" as too serious for preschoolers. The activities in the classroom are reffered to as "work", and the children are directed to choose their work. However, the children's work is satisfying to them, and they make no distinction between work and play. Montessori activities are both interesting and fun to the child.

Each Montessori classroom is lined with low shelves filled with precise hands-on learning materials. the teacher, or guide, shows the children how to use the materials by giving the individual lessons. The child is shown a specific way to use the materials but is allowed to explore the materials by using them in a variety of ways with a limitation being that the materials not be abused or used to harm others.

For example, the Red Rods, which are a set of ten painted wooden rods up to a meter long and about an inch thick, may not be used as Jedi light sabers. Obviously, sword fights with the Red Rods are a danger to other children as well as abusive to the rods, which cost about two hundred dollars a set or ten thousand pesos.

In cases where materials are being damaged or used in a way that may hurt others, the child should be gently and kindly redirected to other work.

Unfortunately, some parents see this limitation on the use of the materials as "too structured' since it may not allow for fantasy play. Choice in the Montessori classroom makes work into play.

Perhaps Mark Twain understood this concept when he wrote, "work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

Myth 8. A Montesssori classroom isn’t structured enough for my child.

The Montessori classroom is structured, but differently from a traditional preschool. Dr. Montessori observe the normal or natural tendency of children to use self- selected, purposeful activities to develop themselves. The Montessori classroom, with its prepared activities and trained adults, is structured to promote this natural process of human development, a process Montessorians call normalization.

Students new to the Montessori classroom, who may or may not have been in a traditionally stuctured school, learn in about six to eight weeks to create their own work or success cycle. Montessorians refer to a child who creates his or hee own work cycle as normalized, or using the natural and normal tendencies of human development.

Many traditional preschool work on a schedule where the entire classroom is involved in a activity for fifteen minutes then moves on the next activity. This stucture is based in the belief that young children have a short atention span of less than twenty minutes per activity. A typical morning at a traditional preschool might look something like this:

Traditional Preschool Schedule
8:30 to 8:45 Morning circle and singing
8:45 to 9:00 Work with salt dough
9:00 to 9:15 Letter of the day work
9:15 to 9:30 Crayon work
9:30 to 9:45 Snack
9:45 to 10:15 Outdoor time
10:15 to 10:30 Story time
10:30 to 10:45 Work with Puzzles
10:45 to 11:00 Practice counting to 20
11:00 to 11:15 Craft project: cut out a paper flower
11:15 to 11:30 Circle time to dismissal

The above schedule reflects structure created by and dependent upon the teacher.

In the Montessori classroom, each child creates his or her own cycle of work based on individual interests. This cycle of self- directed activity lenghtens the child’s attention span. The teacher, instead of directing twenty children in one activity, quietly moves from child to child giving individual lessons with materials. The teacher or assistant may lead a few small group activities such as reading out loud, cooking, or gardening with two to six children.

In a Montessori classroom a three- years-old’s morning might look like this:

Montessori Preschool Schedule

8:30 to 8:35 Arrive, hang up coat, and greet teacher
8:35 to 9:00 Choose Puzzle Map, work three times
9:00 to 9:30 Return Puzzle to shelf, choose Sandpaper Numbers. Trace Sandpaper Numbers.
9:30 to 10:00 Return Numbers. Choose Pink Tower
10:00 to 10:15 Return tower to Shelf, Prepare individual snack, and eat snack with friend
10: 15 to 10:30 Choose and work with scissor- cutting lesson
10:30 to 11:15 Choose and work with Knobbed Cylinders
11:15 to 11:30 Clean up time and group time with singing

The Montessori classroom is a vibrant and dynamic learning environment where structure is created by each child selecting his or her activity, doing it, and returnign the activity to the shelf. After successful completion of a task, there is a period of self- satisfaction and reflection, and then the child chooses the next activity.

Montessorians call this rhythm of activity a work cycle. Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to the habit of a work cycle as creating an upward spiral of growth and change. Covey describes a spiraling process of “learn-commit-do” that empowers us to move toward continous improvement, both as children and adults.

Myth 9. Montessori schools dont’t allow for play.

Montessorians refer to the child’s activities in the classroom as work. The children also refer to what they do in the classroom as “their work”. When your three-year-old comes home from school talking about the work he did today, he can sound way too serious for a kid you just picked up at preschool.

What adults often forget is that children have a deep desire to contribute meaningfully, which we deny when we regard everything they do as “just” play. With our adult eyes, we caan observe the child’s “joyful work” and expressions of deep satisfaction as the child experiences “work as play”.

Consider this. You start a new job. You arrive the first day full of enthusiasm and ready to contribute to the success of your work group as well as your personal success. You’re met at the door by your new boss and told, “Go outside and play. We’ll let you know when it’s time for lunch and time to go home” .


But that’s exactly what we do to our children when we dismiss their desires to contributr to their own well- being and to the common good of home or school.

Montessori schools create environments where children enjoy working on activities in grace and dignity. Children who have worked in a Montessori classroom tell of feelings of satisfaction and exhiliration that we might have considered as only play.

It’s as Mark Twain, who wrote of boyhood in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, said, “Work and Play” are word used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.”

Another important component of Montessori education is the emphasis on nature education with outside activities that rangefrom learning to recognized the parts of plants, to gardening, to caring for the outdoors, to caring for plants and animals, and much more. Montessori education promotes active exploration and understanding of nature.

Myth 10. Montessori doesn’t allow for creativity.

Creativity means “to bring something into existence”. First we have an idea. Then we use our imaginations, thoughts, and skills to bring these ideas into being. The Montessori classroom nourishes the creative skills of writing, drawing, painting, using scissors, modeling clay, gluing, and so forth, to enable the child to express his or her thoughts and ideas in genuine and unique ways.

When i was in kindergarten, we were all given a coloring sheet of a caboose. I colored my caboose green. My teacher told me that cabooses were red. As I looked around, all the other children’s cabooses were red. My classmates laughed at my green caboose. My face burned with humiliation, but i knew that there were green cabooses.

Twenty- four years later, i saw another green caboose. This one was attached to the end of a Burlington-Northern train. “Yes!” I wanted to shout back to my Kindergarten class. “See, there are green cabooses.”

What does a green caboose have to do with creativity?

In Kindergarten, I wasn’t trying to be creative with my green caboose. I was only trying to express myself because I had seen a green caboose.

Montessori classrooms allow for safe self- expression through art, music, movement and manipulationof materials and can be one of the most creative and satisfying environments for a child to learn to experiment and express his or her inner self.

Noted architect Maya Lin, who won the contest to design the Vietnam Memorial as a senior at Yale, said, “Sometimes I think creativity is magic; it’s not a matter of finding an idea but allowing the idea to find you.”

In Montessori classrooms, children have time to allow ideas to find them and the time to express those ideas.

Myth 11. Kids can’t be kids at Montessori.

Somehow, our expectations as parents and our experiences of seeing children in temper tantrums in restaurants and stores create a view of children as naturally loud, prone to violent behaviors, disrepectful of others, clumsy, and worse.

In a well- running Montessori classrooms, though, one might be inclined to think that kids aren’t being kids.

When you see twenty-five to thirty children acting purposefully, walking calmly, talking in low voices to each other, carrying glass objects, reading, and working with numbers in the thousands, you might think the only way this behavior could occur was by children being regimented into it. I observed my daughter, Dana, then fifteen months old, moving serenely around her infant classroom. She sure didn’t act that way at home.

As I watched Dana’s infant- toddler class in action, I saw the power of this child firendly environment. As the children moved from activity to activity, day by day their skills and confidence grew. Lessons in grace and courtesy helped the children with social skills. “Please,” “thank you,” and “would you please” became some of the toddlers’ first words.

When Dana was three, one of her favorite school activities was the green bean cutting lesson, which she remembers fondly. After carefully washing her hands, she would take several green beans out of the refrigerator, wash them, cut them into bite- sized pieces with a small knife, and arrange them on a child- sized tray. She would carry the tray arond the classroom asking her classmates, “Would you like a green bean?” As they looked up from their work, the other children would reply, “Yes, please,” or “No, thank you.”

“I remember being so happy doing that work,” Dana told me.

When given a prepared environment, a knowledgeable adult and a three- hour work cycle, children show us that the natural state of the child is to be a happy and considerate person. A kid is most like a kid when he or she is engaged in the work of a Montessori classroom.

Myth 12. If Montessori is so great, why aren’t former students better know n?

Most of us associate our career success with our colleges. Not too many come out and say, “When I was three years old, I went to Hometown Montessori School, and that made all the difference.”
Here are few well-known people who remember their Montessori school connections and consider their experiences vital.

• Julia Child, the cook and writer who taught Americans to love, prepare, and pronounce French dishes, attended Montessori school.
• Peter Drucker, the business guru who has been said to be one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century, was a Montessori student.
• Alice Waters, the chef of Chez Panisse fame and creator of the edible Schoolyard project, was a Montessori teacher.
• Anne Frank attended a Montessori school and her famous diary was a natural extension of Anne’s Montessori elementary school days, where keeping a diary was encouraged.
• Larry Page and Sergei Brin, founders of Google, Jeff Bezos, founder of, and Steve Case of America Online, all credit Montessori schooling to their creative success.
• Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, corresponded with Maria Montessori about teaching methods.

Maria Montessori are focused on helping children become self-directed individuals who can and do make a difference in their families, in their communities, and in their world-famous or not.

And that’s not a myth.

Here in the Philippines we also have:

- Lea Salonga, is a Filipina singer and actress who is best known for her musical role in Miss Saigon. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway.
- Aiza Seguerra, is a Filipino actress, singer and guitarist. Aiza started out as a contestant in Eat Bulaga!'s Little Miss Philippines 1987 and later a child star.
- Jennifer Llamas-Garcia, a student about to embark on her masteral thesis at the Ateneo de Manila University on Basic Education, a former high school English teacher at a private school, and currently the Beauty Editor of Candy magazine.
- TJ Manotoc, is the son of former Miss International Aurora Pijuan and sportsman Tommy Manotoc and half-brother of Borgy Manotoc.He studied in grade school at Montessori, Pasay City then tranferred at Ateneo University to finish his highschool and continued his studies at La Salle University

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