Montessori is a method of education based on a self-directed, hands-on, “learning through experience” approach to learning. It was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, who was a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee born in Italy in 1870. Her educational method evolved over fifty years of work with children worldwide.
Dr. Montessori believed that a truly educated individual continues learning long after the years spent in the classroom because of an inner motivation, a natural curiosity, and a love of learning. The aim of a Montessori education is to provide a learning environment that contributes to the development of reflective individuals who are caring and ethical members of the community.
Uplands Montessori is pleased to provide Montessori education to students in Langley. Our certified Montessori trained teaching staff are committed to helping develop well-rounded students and guiding them on their learning journey.
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The following information below will help answer frequently asked questions to give you a better understanding of our program and help determine if this learning opportunity is right for your child.
Why choose the Montessori program at Uplands for your child?
Uplands Montessori is a choice program in the Langley School District. It is the only free, publicly funded Montessori program offered in Langley. We have Montessori trained and dedicated teaching staff working with our families to help facilitate and inspire a life-long passion for learning in all students. Our school takes pride in developing the whole child throughout their Montessori education journey.
What are the key principles of a Montessori Education?
- Individualized to meet the needs of each child
- “Learning through experience”
- Hands-on materials with a control of error that allows the child to self-correct
- Curriculum designed to develop a global view of humanity, stressing the peaceful interdependence of people and the environment
- Non-competitive atmosphere
- Multi-age groupings which promote peer teaching and learning
- Self-correcting concrete materials used in a sequence matched with the child’s development
What will you see in your child’s Montessori classroom?
- Multi-age groups in each class, except for the Kindergarten year. Ideally, the classrooms are Grades 1/2/3 and Grades 4/5/6
- Extended work cycles: an unbroken period of time for work to foster the child’s concentration
- Children alone or in groups, working on the floor with a mat or at the table
- Children moving independently from task to task
- Teachers who have a BC professional teacher certification as well as a specific Montessori training
- A Prepared Environment (containing all the necessary elements for students to reach their full potential)
- Individual and small group lessons
- Learning through multi-sensory experiences
- Montessori hands-on and self-correcting materials
What curriculum do the Montessori teachers follow?
The Montessori teachers are required to meet all the learning outcomes in the BC provincial curriculum. The teachers are able to do this within the Montessori framework.
Dr. Montessori saw the importance of developing the whole child, therefore a child’s education includes:
- A holistic curriculum organized into a spiral of integrated studies
- Lessons reintroduced several times over succeeding years with increasing abstraction and complexity
- Simple to complex, concrete to abstract
- Whole “big picture” to the parts and back to the whole
There are five main learning areas within the curriculum:
- Practical life
- Cultural (History, Geography, Science, Fine Arts)
What are the planes of development?
Dr. Montessori believed in four planes of development which is characterized by different sensitive periods of learning. The infographic below outlines the planes of development.
What does my child’s Montessori journey look like at Uplands?
The journey at Uplands Montessori begins with your child’s Kindergarten year. As this is the final year of the first plane of development, children are consolidating much of what has been absorbed in their first 5 years. At Uplands, our Kindergarten students are in one of two stand-alone classrooms. Both work closely together and benefit from the multitude of services offered in a public Montessori program. Although these are straight Kindergarten classrooms, the children are provided with opportunities for learning to meet their individual needs and development.
In Kindergarten, children learn to develop concentration, to trust in themselves to choose and work through the Montessori curricular areas of practical life, sensorial, math, language and culture. This preparation increases self-confidence and as children near the end of this plane, with the support of their teachers, they begin to explore the notion of a checklist of work. Children begin to see themselves as capable of choosing and developing a connection between freedom and responsibility. Preparation for the next step in the journey is natural and part of the process of growth from Kindergarten to Grade 1, from one plane of development to the next.
When children reach the second plane of development (6-12 years), their journey at Uplands is divided into 2 unique and yet predictable experiences. Uplands has multi-age primary classrooms for our Grade 1/2/3 students as well as Grade 4/5/6 classrooms for our intermediate students.
In Grades 1/2/3, children learn to further grow the prefrontal cortex of their brains and the checklist is further expanded for work choice and completion. Grade 1 students join a classroom with 2/3 of the students being familiar with the expectations and responsibilities of that room. They learn not only from the teacher but from each other. At Uplands, once again the primary teachers work closely together to support one another and the students in all rooms. Much of the Culture curriculum is presented by grade, where children learn to work with same age peers on common outcomes. Experts are brought in to share their knowledge and children are able to connect with one another outside their own classroom walls.
The Montessori journey at Uplands is aimed to keep students in the same primary classroom for all three years. As children move to the top of this plane, they become leaders not only to their classmates, but they also spend time working with some of the kindergarten students. The Grade 3 students are more independent and are naturally getting ready to start the consolidation portion of their second plane of development. To prepare them for this transition, Grade 3 students at Uplands spend a few work periods in the intermediate classrooms. In the Spring they begin some work led by one of the intermediate teachers in the community gardens and they grow excited for the next stage in their learning.
By the intermediate years, the journey at Uplands becomes one of continued growth both in independence and responsibility. Children in Grades 4-6 attend Intermediate Camp in the fall, where they learn to trust one another and themselves. The students take on greater roles of leadership throughout the school as the community service portion of the curriculum grows. By Grade 6, children learn to create, plan and implement service projects. These projects allow the children to see themselves as contributing members of society as a whole and enable them to reflect on the gifts they have to offer others. These roots, grown naturally by the Uplands Montessori program, enable smooth transitions regardless of where the next steps in a child’s journey take them.
During this part of their Montessori journey, children also begin to abstract as they are developmentally ready. Our intermediate teachers continue to work alongside the children to facilitate this abstraction as readiness is shown. Culture work continues to follow Montessori principles, but is more task and inquiry based. Culture materials line the shelves with tasks cards and research materials alongside them. As is the goal of Montessori Education, we aim for the children to be able to close their eyes and see the materials when they are no longer available. Reports from former students suggest this is exactly what they are doing!
The checklist also takes on a new role by this time. Children create it themselves, based on criteria established by the community. They, in turn, set goals for their own learning in all subject areas. Children reflect back on their successes and adapt their goals as necessary. They note the time they have taken on specific tasks and assess the reasonableness of their choices. This skill itself is preparation for life outside of a Montessori classroom.
Finally, by the end of the journey, in the Spring of their Grade 6 year, teachers sit down with families and work through each child’s unique plan for life after Uplands. Typically, by this time, children are naturally ready to move beyond the walls of Uplands. The greatest worry expressed by our Uplands students about the transition elsewhere is the space itself. The physical space. So, we take that and alleviate the wonder. Children, no matter where they are headed, are given the opportunity to visit a Grade 7 class in action at the school they are planning to attend. This individualized plan completes the journey for our Uplands students.