AN EDUCATIONAL ALIGNMENT
by Ms. Christina Miller, Head of school
The definition of a STEM program:
“STEM Education is more than just presentation and dissemination of information and cultivation of techniques. It is a process for teaching and learning that offers students opportunities to make sense of the world and take charge of their learning, rather than learning isolated bits and pieces of content. In the STEM environment, there is less emphasis on activities that demonstrate science content and a greater focus on those activities that allow students to engage in real world problems and experiences through project-based, experiential learning activities that lead to higher level thinking.”
-Education.com October 23, 2013
The definition of a Montessori program:
Montessori education is more than just presentation and dissemination of information and cultivation of techniques. It is a process for teaching and learning that offers students opportunities to make sense of the world and take charge of their learning, rather than learning isolated bits and pieces of content. In the Montessori environment, there is a blend of activities that demonstrate science content as well as activities that allow students to engage in real world problems and experiences through project-based, experiential learning activities that lead to higher level thinking.”
We were asked if we have a STEM program here at Millhopper Montessori. Montessori education is known for a developmentally appropriate curriculum that embodies authentic learning, flexible pacing, and cross curricular units of study. At MMS we have a challenging science and math program with a precise scope and sequence that begins with our toddlers and carries on through the middle school. We do limit the use of technology in the preschool classrooms, however, our children K-8th have access to computers, iPads, laptops, and software programs/instruction that follow a scope and sequence. Our technology program far surpasses many magnet programs for the ages we serve. Please see our section on technology and our curriculum guide for further elaboration. As far as engineering, we have many materials beginning with the Montessori Simple Machines, which provide a foundation for understanding how things work and leads into projects with the older students. Montessori education has always proven to be an excellent fit with engineering education at the elementary levels because it is holistic in nature and uses developmentally appropriate, hands-on, didactic materials to inspire engagement and learning by doing. Inquiry is fostered through initial experiences (lessons) that offer both inspiration and instruction, and through the follow-up work (assignments) that encourage children to deepen their understanding through continued exploration and application of the materials and concepts. Design is an essential element of the Montessori environment.
We incorporate many cross curricular projects in elementary and middle school with Science, Technology, Design, and Math as well as incorporating the Arts throughout. Additionally, our Summer Enrichment Programs, take these concepts and allow students to explore these disciplines in depth. Most importantly, beginning in kindergarten, there is no limit with research, problem solving and and creativity in our classrooms. Montessori students are independent, curious, and innovative children who become successful and confident adults able to work collaboratively in the modern workplace as well as being entrepreneurs and leaders.
With STEM, the basis is on solving real world problems. Montessori students have been taking charge of their learning all over the world for over one hundred years. It is public knowledge that co-founders of Google and the creator of Amazon.com share the positive impact their Montessori education had on their goals and successes.
Information from sources such as: The Association of Curriculum and Development, Time Magazine, US Department of Labor, and the books Global Achievement Gap and Curriculum 21, all explain how 21st century skills need to include: creativity, innovation, collaboration, self-management, and higher-level thinking skills. All the above skills are achieved through a Montessori education plus Montessori students learn to be good mentors as well as mentees.
At MMS, our mission is to provide a developmentally appropriate Montessori program that embraces 21st century learning skills. Our program is holistic and well-rounded, and the components of a STEM program are incorporated seamlessly throughout the curriculum. We aim for our students to become lifelong learners with a well-rounded education afforded them in their formative years at MMS.
Christina Miller/ Head of School