Grades: K | 50 students
The Georgetown Montessori School, established in 1983, provides the "prepared environment" essential to Montessori education, from scaled furniture and cleaning utensils to the Montessori materials. The equipment is scientifically designed to provide the child with concrete examples of abstract ideas. It is self-corrective, allowing the child to develop his senses and learn for himself under the guidance of a skilled Montessori teacher. Children are free to talk and move around, are stimulated by purposeful learning activities of their own choosing, can discover and correct their own errors, and are treated with respect and trust. All these factors help the children to develop an inner discipline and a sense of responsibility. The materials are programmed, each piece prepares the child to take another step ahead in his learning, progressing from the simple to the complex, from the concrete to the abstract. The materials are multifaceted, so the child can learn a variety of increasingly complex things from a single piece. Grasping the initial idea behind the piece of apparatus is only the start for the child. The actual learning takes place when the child voluntarily begins a repetition of the work. It is this repetition, the concentration it develops, and the child's internal feelings of success and accomplishment that reinforce the learning. Thus, the child's main motivation comes internally. External reinforcers such as rewards, punishments or contrived competition are unnecessary in a Montessori environment. Education, to Maria Montessori, was a preparation for life, not merely a search for intellectual skills.