Mixed Age Groupings
A hallmark of the Montessori method is the mixed-age grouping. At GLM our primary communities include three, four and five year olds. Younger children learn from the older children; older children reinforce what they already know by teaching concepts they have previously mastered and at the same time advancing through the later curriculum. Mixed age classrooms are a micro-society offering a slice of real life. All children have the opportunity to be the youngest, middle and oldest child and can practice learning, playing and socializing with other children of different ages and temperaments.
Beautifully Crafted Environments
Our classroom environments are peaceful, happy places with lots of attention to detail, that feel like home. They are especially designed to meet the developmental needs of the children and are filled with plants, animals and cozy places to learn and play. All of the tools, dishware and furniture are real and scaled to the child’s size giving the children ownership over their environment and encouraging autonomy during their school day. The classroom environments include the outdoors. GLM has almost two acres of beautiful outdoor space in which the children spend much of their work and play time.
A Scientifically Designed Curriculum
The Montessori primary curriculum is tried and true, scientifically tested to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of the child throughout their development. Our classroom environments include the full range of Montessori learning materials for the development of sensory perception, literacy and mathematical understanding. Outcomes of the curriculum include hard skills such as reading, writing and math as well as soft skills such as functional independence, self-regulation and task persistence. The curriculum also offers opportunities for imaginative exploration leading to confident self-expression.
Uninterrupted Activity Time
GLM is an authentic Montessori school offering uninterrupted activity time in all of our primary classrooms. The children are not tightly scheduled by the adults and are free to choose activities that interest them. They are guided by their teachers, who are always carefully tracking where the child is in the curriculum, using a digital record keeping system. Montessori philosophy is now strongly supported by current research showing that people perform better when they have control over their physical environment and are free from interruptions.
Highly Qualified Teachers
At GLM all of our lead teachers and many of our support staff have post-graduate level Montessori training. They are warm, caring, and committed to the well being of each individual in their care. Their role is to connect the children to their environment, showing them how to use the material, as well as being a source of interesting, actionable information. They work with the children individually and in groups, and facilitate freedom in the classroom, by helping set guidelines and limits. GLM offers many opportunities to our teachers for ongoing professional development. We are a strongly connected community of life-long learners.
The 5 year old child is developmentally more similar to their 3 or 4 year old counterparts than they are to their 6+ year old peers. The 6+ year old child has a reasoning mind, can think abstractly and is a socially-collaborative learner. The child under 6 years (inclusive of the Kindergarten year), in contrast, is a concrete thinker who needs sensorial experiences to understand their world and is straddling between parallel and collaborative play. The opportunities for the child in their Kindergarten year to use the stability of their known Primary classroom to make these developmental strides are tremendous. Rather than focusing on and adjusting to all that is new (new environment, new children, new teachers, new learning materials, etc), the child is able to grow their content knowledge, extend their leadership role, and go at their own pace towards abstraction, reasoning, and collaboration.
As a Montessori program whose roots are centered around the development of the child, our Kindergarten program is housed in the Primary (3-6) classroom. Ideally, our program would retain roughly a third of its Kindergarten-aged children so that they would have continuous, robust play and work partners in their own classroom. But, as attrition at the Kindergarten level is common, we hold a weekly program called “Kinder Cohort” to give children in our Kindergarten program the opportunity to learn alongside similar-age peers in the context of their Primary classrooms. In this program, Kindergarteners take turns hosting their Kindergarten peers in their classrooms and plan regular field trips on their own and with the Elementary.