EDUCATIONAL NEUROSCIENCIE AND MONTESSORI

HOW DO WE WORK THE MONTESSORI PEDAGOGY AT GREENLEAVES?

HOW DO WE WORK THE MONTESSORI PEDAGOGY AT GREENLEAVES?

Children’s house and Elementary

How do we work at Greenleaves Montessori?

In order to carry out appropriate accompaniment, at GreenLeaves we take in mind the pedagogic contributions made by Maria Montessori.

In this respect, to develop our educational task, we base our work on one of the most interesting positions in her philosophy: The four planes of development

According to this position, every child is able to spend from birth to mature life going through four different periods, each of which is different from the previous, but all part of an indivisible process.

These periods are the basis for understanding the child’s needs in each moment, and how to offer tools to develop their potentialities instead of repressing them.

Below, we show a summarized chart of the four planes of development:

Summarized chart of the four planes of development

INFANCYCHILDHOODADOLESCENCEMATURITY
0-3 years
Absorbent unconscious mind
3-6 years
Absorbent conscious mind
6-12 years
Reasoning mind
12-18 years
Humanistic mind
18-24 years
Specialist mind
“Help me to do it myself”“Help me to think for myself”“Help me to think with you”“How can I help you?”
Physical and biological independenceIntellectual independenceSocial independenceMoral and emotional independence
Exploring the environment through senses. What?Explore ideas and information. Why? How?Transition from family life to life in societySelf-awareness and self-regulation
Major physical and psychological changesStable growthMajor physical and psychological changesEnd of stable growth

At GreenLeaves we accompany boys and girls from 3 to 12 years old, so our planes of action would be the first, regarding infancy (3-6) and the second, regarding childhood (6-12).

So as to address this subject, we have to understand that during these development stages we find three concepts that act as indispensable and essential pillars to finding development in children.

These three pillars are interconnected within each other and each one requires the other:

  • The child’s mind
  • The prepared environment
  • The connected adult

The child’s mind

The first Plane of Development encompasses birth to 6 years old, and is characterized by the child’s absorbent mind, which can absorb the information found in their surroundings through senses. That is, the minds of infants acts like a sponge, absorbing, assimilating and interiorizing everything around them.

Absorption of information is made differently, keeping in mind that this plane of development is clearly divided in two sub-planes:

  • 0 to 3 years: Unconscious absorbent mind
  • 3 to 6 years: Conscious absorbent mind.

In the second plane, from ages 6 to 12, children have a “reasoning mind”, to explore the world using their imagination and abstract thought. Girls and boys of these ages are usually characterized by the need for investigation and practical exploration.

Although the information is assimilated one way or another, what mechanisms do children use to capture it, to be attracted by it?

In order to explore this point, GreenLeaves entire pedagogic team bases its educational practice on one of the most important discoveries that Maria Montessori gained from her observations and which, as at now, has been confirmed by the field of neurosocience: sensitive periods

“Sensitive Periods” or universal phases, that all children around the world experience, are what happen when they are moved to act in a certain way. That is, windows of opportunity that let them learn what they need to adapt to their environment effortlessly and easily. In these periods, children show great interest in a specific ability, and perfect it by repetition. Once past the sensitive period for a certain ability, it is much more difficult for natural learning to occur spontaneously and naturally, and in any event will involve some effort.

Keeping in mind these ideas, we understand that each child is different and, therefore, their needs at each moment are in line with this idea.

For this reason, we should parent the child and in order to supervise them we have to pay attention to their sensitive periods and we should do so by direct observation.

Prepared environment

At GreenLeaves Montessori we give great importance to the environment’s design and organization.

A large part of our work is focused especially on observing and finding out the evolutionary needs shown by each child, so as to create a space of optimal, significant work. 

Our areas are called “prepared environments” because they are specially designed for and by children’s enjoyment. They are organized carefully to foster their self-learning and growth, merging the American curriculum with the Montessori curriculum.

They are pleasing, warm and welcoming areas; simple and beautiful at the same time. Ample and illuminated with natural light to encourage movement, concentration and tranquility, where cleanliness and order prevail, directly influencing the mental organization of children, in constant evolution.

Also, each environment is tailor made for children, with low-lying bookcases and different heights of tables and seats.

In turn, they are subdivided into theme-based areas adapted to the sensitive period and age of every child, each with specific materials by which the American teaching curriculum is implemented.

Montessori materials

Montessori materials are designed for self-education, intended for experimentation and sensory and life-learning manipulation by children who, by using them, build themselves.

Through these materials, children will advance from specific materials to abstraction so as to build their own intelligence.

The materials designed by Maria Montessori have the following characteristics:

  1. They are scientifically designed materials: they are the product of long observation and experience with children.
  2. They isolate qualities: the activities that provide us the materials show us one single concept at the same time and therefore a single difficulty.
  3. They are sensory and manipulative materials: they allow children to handle them while exercising their senses, providing the child with the experience of feeling concepts specifically before passing into abstraction. This sensory manipulation of objects provides an acquisition of the concept more deeply than based on own experience.
  4. They are materials adapted to each child’s strength and sizethis way, they are easy to handle so eliminating the barriers they constantly find by being small.
  5. They are highly aesthetic materials that attract children so they use them and, apart from their beauty, are prepared in a very attractive order which invites children to pick them up and put them back in their place.
  6. They are self-correcting materials: these materials allow children to self-evaluate and correct themselves. They can find out whether they have made a mistake and can correct it without feeling subjected to an adult’s constant assessment. This way, any error stimulates a child’s action that does not involve seeking our approval, but for our own progress and self-construction.

Prepared environments at GreenLeaves Montessori

At “GreenLeaves Montessori” we offer a process of individualized, flexible teaching-learning, adapted to children’s different learning styles and rates.

This learning process is held up and consolidated under the pedagogic principles of educational neuroscience and Montessori methodology within a bilingual Spanish-English framework, defining ourselves as an American center.

In order to implement this active methodology, we start from direct, meticulous observation of each child’s current needs with the aim of providing resources that foster them instead of repressing them.

el adulto conectado

The connected adult

From the Montessori point of view, an adult must acquire tools of respect that lets them address a child without prizes or punishment, nor competitions and of course from kindness and stability.

We are therefore saying that the adult passes from being a child’s a controller to simply trying to connect with him or her through empathy, communication, love, equality, humility…

Accordingly, before starting this method, we must know the child, the evolutionary period in which their sensitive periods lie.

Respecting their rhythms, adapting to the needs of each stage. Making an observation, offering them what they need in each moment. Deeply respecting their characteristics and personality.

 Characteristics of a Montessori Guide/Teacher

Montessori education seeks to educate children integrally: with physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth.

Besides helping the child to be an independent learner, teachers should foster group participation, collaboration and respect for the dignity of others.

The main abilities that every teacher at our Montessori school must have are:

  1. Good observer

By observation, guides know the interest, the learning method and temperament of every student. He or she also understands each one’s needs according to their development stage and always keeps in mind the child’s sensitive period.

With this information, guides choose materials and teaching methods that capture students’ attention and motivate them to learn. Once a concept or ability is learned, the teacher introduces new, much more complex and more abstract lessons.

  1. Creativity enabler

Guides must stimulate children’s creativity, sharing with students their achievements and leading them to a greater understanding of the concepts learned.  While students progress, guides should modify the classroom environment, adapting the teaching materials to students’ needs.

  1. Character builder

It is very important for guides to foster a sense of community in the environment, making children grow in qualities that will help them to be more civic. By their own behavior and attitudes, guides should be a model of values such as empathy, compassion and acceptance of unique differences. It is important that guides foster every child to be kind and courteous.

To achieve these objectives, it is important they implement a number of group dynamics that encourage team work, responsibility, respect and the self-discipline.

How do we work at Greenleaves Montessori?

In order to carry out appropriate accompaniment, at GreenLeaves we take in mind the pedagogic contributions made by Maria Montessori.

In this respect, to develop our educational task, we base our work on one of the most interesting positions in her philosophy: The four planes of development

According to this position, every child is able to spend from birth to mature life going through four different periods, each of which is different from the previous, but all part of an indivisible process.

These periods are the basis for understanding the child’s needs in each moment, and how to offer tools to develop their potentialities instead of repressing them.

Below, we show a summarized chart of the four planes of development:

Summarized chart of the four planes of development

INFANCYCHILDHOODADOLESCENCEMATURITY
0-3 years
Absorbent unconscious mind
3-6 years
Absorbent conscious mind
6-12 years
Reasoning mind
12-18 years
Humanistic mind
18-24 years
Specialist mind
“Help me to do it myself”“Help me to think for myself”“Help me to think with you”“How can I help you?”
Physical and biological independenceIntellectual independenceSocial independenceMoral and emotional independence
Exploring the environment through senses. What?Explore ideas and information. Why? How?Transition from family life to life in societySelf-awareness and self-regulation
Major physical and psychological changesStable growthMajor physical and psychological changesEnd of stable growth

At GreenLeaves we accompany boys and girls from 3 to 12 years old, so our planes of action would be the first, regarding infancy (3-6) and the second, regarding childhood (6-12).

So as to address this subject, we have to understand that during these development stages we find three concepts that act as indispensable and essential pillars to finding development in children.

These three pillars are interconnected within each other and each one requires the other:

  • The child’s mind
  • The prepared environment
  • The connected adult

The child’s mind

The first Plane of Development encompasses birth to 6 years old, and is characterized by the child’s absorbent mind, which can absorb the information found in their surroundings through senses. That is, the minds of infants acts like a sponge, absorbing, assimilating and interiorizing everything around them.

Absorption of information is made differently, keeping in mind that this plane of development is clearly divided in two sub-planes:

  • 0 to 3 years: Unconscious absorbent mind
  • 3 to 6 years: Conscious absorbent mind.

In the second plane, from ages 6 to 12, children have a “reasoning mind”, to explore the world using their imagination and abstract thought. Girls and boys of these ages are usually characterized by the need for investigation and practical exploration.

Although the information is assimilated one way or another, what mechanisms do children use to capture it, to be attracted by it?

In order to explore this point, GreenLeaves entire pedagogic team bases its educational practice on one of the most important discoveries that Maria Montessori gained from her observations and which, as at now, has been confirmed by the field of neurosocience: sensitive periods

“Sensitive Periods” or universal phases, that all children around the world experience, are what happen when they are moved to act in a certain way. That is, windows of opportunity that let them learn what they need to adapt to their environment effortlessly and easily. In these periods, children show great interest in a specific ability, and perfect it by repetition. Once past the sensitive period for a certain ability, it is much more difficult for natural learning to occur spontaneously and naturally, and in any event will involve some effort.

Keeping in mind these ideas, we understand that each child is different and, therefore, their needs at each moment are in line with this idea.

For this reason, we should parent the child and in order to supervise them we have to pay attention to their sensitive periods and we should do so by direct observation.

Prepared environment

At GreenLeaves Montessori we give great importance to the environment’s design and organization.

A large part of our work is focused especially on observing and finding out the evolutionary needs shown by each child, so as to create a space of optimal, significant work. 

Our areas are called “prepared environments” because they are specially designed for and by children’s enjoyment. They are organized carefully to foster their self-learning and growth, merging the American curriculum with the Montessori curriculum.

They are pleasing, warm and welcoming areas; simple and beautiful at the same time. Ample and illuminated with natural light to encourage movement, concentration and tranquility, where cleanliness and order prevail, directly influencing the mental organization of children, in constant evolution.

Also, each environment is tailor made for children, with low-lying bookcases and different heights of tables and seats.

In turn, they are subdivided into theme-based areas adapted to the sensitive period and age of every child, each with specific materials by which the American teaching curriculum is implemented.

Montessori materials

Montessori materials are designed for self-education, intended for experimentation and sensory and life-learning manipulation by children who, by using them, build themselves.

Through these materials, children will advance from specific materials to abstraction so as to build their own intelligence.

The materials designed by Maria Montessori have the following characteristics:

  1. They are scientifically designed materials: they are the product of long observation and experience with children.
  2. They isolate qualities: the activities that provide us the materials show us one single concept at the same time and therefore a single difficulty.
  3. They are sensory and manipulative materials: they allow children to handle them while exercising their senses, providing the child with the experience of feeling concepts specifically before passing into abstraction. This sensory manipulation of objects provides an acquisition of the concept more deeply than based on own experience.
  4. They are materials adapted to each child’s strength and sizethis way, they are easy to handle so eliminating the barriers they constantly find by being small.
  5. They are highly aesthetic materials that attract children so they use them and, apart from their beauty, are prepared in a very attractive order which invites children to pick them up and put them back in their place.
  6. They are self-correcting materials: these materials allow children to self-evaluate and correct themselves. They can find out whether they have made a mistake and can correct it without feeling subjected to an adult’s constant assessment. This way, any error stimulates a child’s action that does not involve seeking our approval, but for our own progress and self-construction.

Prepared environments at GreenLeaves Montessori

At “GreenLeaves Montessori” we offer a process of individualized, flexible teaching-learning, adapted to children’s different learning styles and rates.

This learning process is held up and consolidated under the pedagogic principles of educational neuroscience and Montessori methodology within a bilingual Spanish-English framework, defining ourselves as an American center.

In order to implement this active methodology, we start from direct, meticulous observation of each child’s current needs with the aim of providing resources that foster them instead of repressing them.

el adulto conectado

The connected adult

From the Montessori point of view, an adult must acquire tools of respect that lets them address a child without prizes or punishment, nor competitions and of course from kindness and stability.

We are therefore saying that the adult passes from being a child’s a controller to simply trying to connect with him or her through empathy, communication, love, equality, humility…

Accordingly, before starting this method, we must know the child, the evolutionary period in which their sensitive periods lie.

Respecting their rhythms, adapting to the needs of each stage. Making an observation, offering them what they need in each moment. Deeply respecting their characteristics and personality.

 Characteristics of a Montessori Guide/Teacher

Montessori education seeks to educate children integrally: with physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth.

Besides helping the child to be an independent learner, teachers should foster group participation, collaboration and respect for the dignity of others.

The main abilities that every teacher at our Montessori school must have are:

  1. Good observer

By observation, guides know the interest, the learning method and temperament of every student. He or she also understands each one’s needs according to their development stage and always keeps in mind the child’s sensitive period.

With this information, guides choose materials and teaching methods that capture students’ attention and motivate them to learn. Once a concept or ability is learned, the teacher introduces new, much more complex and more abstract lessons.

  1. Creativity enabler

Guides must stimulate children’s creativity, sharing with students their achievements and leading them to a greater understanding of the concepts learned.  While students progress, guides should modify the classroom environment, adapting the teaching materials to students’ needs.

  1. Character builder

It is very important for guides to foster a sense of community in the environment, making children grow in qualities that will help them to be more civic. By their own behavior and attitudes, guides should be a model of values such as empathy, compassion and acceptance of unique differences. It is important that guides foster every child to be kind and courteous.

To achieve these objectives, it is important they implement a number of group dynamics that encourage team work, responsibility, respect and the self-discipline.