Saturday, May 25, 2013
"I have studied the child. I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it and that is what is called the Montessori method."
- Dr. Maria Montessori
The Montessori approach offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It is designed to help children with their task of inner construction as they grow from childhood to maturity. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Its flexibility provides a matrix within which each individual child's inner directives freely guide the child toward wholesome growth.
Montessori classrooms provide a prepared environment where children are free to respond to their natural tendency to work. The children's innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities.
Dr. Montessori was a prominent thinker of her time. Nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes, her American supporters during the time included John Dewey and Thomas Edison. There are many famous Montessori graduates including but not limited to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, Prince William and Prince Harry, Julia Child and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google. In fact, the Director, Jennifer Hanna met Mr. Brin at an AMI conference in San Francisco in February 2007 where he spoke about the benefits of the unique education he received.
Chicago Montessori was incorporated in September of 2003 and opened its doors in September 2005 as the first preschool in Chicago to be accredited by the Association Montessori International (AMI). AMI was created in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori to oversee teacher training and to preserve the integrity of her life's work. This organization is looked at as the original, purest form of Montessori attainable and requires the most rigorous training for teachers and highest standards for schools - more than any Montessori derivitave.
Chicago Montessori is unique in that it is the city's first all AMI school, and we are continuing this high level of accreditation with the opening of our elementary school which started in the fall of 2010.
In 2007, the Montessori method celebrated 100 years of success. Although it has remained largely unchanged for one century, the teaching style is still regarded as a revolutionary approach to education. It is the only method of education that can be found on six continents. Children all over the world respond to the Montessori environment the same way they have for the last century because it is the only method of education designed with the child's true needs in mind.
Jennifer Hanna, daughter of two teachers and the Director of the school has over ten years of teaching experience in Montessori classrooms and almost twenty years of experience with children overall. She holds a B.A. in Education from the University of South Florida and a Masterís of Education from Loyola College in Baltimore. Jennifer was recruited to the Chicago area in 1999 to teach at Forest Bluff School, a recognized school in Lake Bluff, IL and worked for two years under the direction of Montessori thought leader, Paula Polk Lillard. Jennifer then moved to Countryside Montessori School in Northbrook, IL where for four years she directed a class of over 30 children and was trained extensively in music and art.
Having always wanted to start her own school, Jennifer opened Chicago Montessori with her husband and co-founder, Eric, in hopes that they could satisfy the growing need for private schools as well as add a new, positive institution to the city where they live.