The Montessori School Educates the Whole Child, from Preschool Through Sixth Grade
Children are natural-born learners. It seems like no matter where I go, there is always a child underfoot following me around, soaking up everything I’m doing and trying to replicate it.
The Montessori School in Kalamazoo (TMS) uses the Montessori method of teaching to capitalize on this natural curiosity and love of learning.
Located near downtown Kalamazoo, The Montessori School has been providing an authentic, high-quality, and comprehensive Montessori education to the Kalamazoo community since 1972.
Their mission is to foster children’s love of learning and address the whole child academically, emotionally, and socially. Throughout the day, highly trained and credentialed teachers and support staff provide an authentic Montessori education.
Children receive individualized, developmentally appropriate lessons that emphasize independence, freedom within limits, and respect for the child and the environment.
Preschool & Kindergarten
Preschoolers can enroll in a half-day or full-day program at the Montessori School beginning at age two years, nine months.
Children benefit from the unique learning opportunities of a multi-age classroom over a 3-year cycle, culminating in their kindergarten year. Summer programming is available to preschool and kindergarten-age students as well.
What Are the Benefits of a Multi-Aged Classroom?
Multi-aged classrooms provide younger children with an opportunity to observe and imitate the older students as they work. Older children reinforce their own knowledge by explaining what they are doing and assisting and mentoring younger peers.
Each child can learn and develop at their own pace within a classroom that accommodates all ability levels.
Montessori-certified teachers run the preschool program’s 9 or 12-month options. The preschool program includes practical life lessons, sensory experiences, language building through tactile activities, hands-on math, and lessons on grace and courtesy.
The Montessori Practical Life Area
The Montessori School allows children to practice skills that will lead to greater independence and self-control. There are four distinct groups of practical life exercises:
1) Care of the Person
Students learn hand washing, fastening buttons, zipping, tying, combing, and other personal hygiene skills.
2) Care of the Environment
With these exercises, children take responsibility for the space they use and enjoy.
Students take pride in in washing windows, tables and chairs, sweeping floors, dusting shelves, polishing, and gardening. In addition, each child is responsible for returning their materials to the shelf upon completion.
3) Grace and Courtesy
Through classroom activities and modeling by teachers, children develop the necessary skills for conversation, conflict resolution, greeting, and thanking.
By participating in Grace and Courtesy exercises, children learn to positively interact and to problem solve.
4) Concentration and Coordination
These preliminary exercises include spooning, pouring, using tools, opening and closing bottles, folding and matching. These lessons help the child develop their gross and fine motor skills as well as develop concentration.
The elementary school program at the Montessori School is for students ages 6 – 12, which is typically first through sixth grade. There is a large focus on nature-based learning in this program.
Students spend a lot of time learning outside at the different properties nearby the school. Kids learn at the pond and woods right on campus as well as walk to the neighboring Kleinstuck Preserve. They also get to visit local businesses.
Full-day programs are available to all students enrolled at TMS. Both the primary and elementary programs are open from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM during the regular school year.
The Sixth-Year Internship Program
Sixth-year students have the unique opportunity to participate in a three-month internship program. Each student chooses his or her area of interest such as animals, social programs, manufacturing, science or farming and is matched with a local business.
Recent student internship locations included a senior living center, a veterinary clinic, and an advertising agency. Each student is involved in planning their own internship so it’s highly customized to each child’s interests.
What Makes a Montessori Education Different
The Montessori method, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1906, is built around the values of freedom and independence, holistic development, and compassion.
The child-centered, hands-on curriculum at The Montessori School encourages exploration and problem-solving.
Students learn at their own pace in multi-age classrooms. Not all nine-year-olds learn the same things at the same time. Teachers create individualized lessons for each child based on that child’s particular needs and interests.
Special Learning Materials
In addition to individualized instruction, Montessori students also learn with special materials. These materials are all very tactile and hands-on and build on each other:
Math Beads: The math beads are different quantities grouped together in different amounts. Preschool students use these beads to learn counting and other basic number skills.
As students get older, they use these same beads to have hands-on experiences for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
Puzzle Maps: Preschoolers use these just as standard puzzles to develop fine motor and matching skills.
Older students trace the different colored puzzle pieces of the continents and use them to make their own maps where they label countries, capitals and cities.
Practical Life Skills
A key component of Montessori education is learning practical life skills. Students do this right from preschool all the way through 6th grade.
In preschool, students learn to make and serve their own snacks. It is left out for the kids to help themselves whenever they are hungry.
They help cut up fruit and vegetables and slice bagels and whatever other preparation needs to be done. When they eat, kids serve themselves on real plates and cups. They eat at their own pace. When they’re done, they wipe up the table, clean up their dishes, throw away their trash and sweep the floor.
What Happens After Kids Leave The Montessori School?
The Montessori School teaches students ages 3 – 12 years old, which is usually sixth grade. After finishing their sixth year, students transition into other schools.
Students in The Montessori School’s elementary program do take a standardized test to ensure that they are meeting grade-level benchmarks and expectations, even though they are learning them in a different way.
Additionally, students who enroll in Kalamazoo Public Schools in seventh grade are still eligible for 75% of the funds of The Kalamazoo Promise.
Learn More about The Montessori School
The Montessori School is excited to welcome new families. Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year opens in January 2022.
To learn more about the gifts that a Montessori education can offer your child, visit The Montessori School or call 269-349-3248.
The Montessori School
710 Howard Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49008