Staff from the Discovery Montessori Schools in DB and Central explain how the Montessori method of education develops well-rounded children with a love for learning in a holistic way.
Tell us a little about your campuses and classrooms?
The Discovery Montessori Schools (DMS) in DB and Central, and Discovery Montessori Academy (DMA) in DB offer up purposeful, spacious and bright classrooms that welcome students to class each day. From the seafront in DB and the convenient location of Central, our schools promote a peaceful atmosphere and an appreciation for the natural environment. In the classrooms’ prepared environment, living plants and animals, insect models, rocks and fossils are subjects for children to explore and learn. They learn about the creation of the world, the history of life, and evolution in a timeline. Dr Christie Leung, School Supervisor, DMS & DMA.
How would you describe the Montessori curriculum?
We offer a rigorous academic curriculum, including the common subject areas such as maths, language and culture, as well as history, geography, geometry and science. All subjects are presented through an integrated approach so that distinct strands of the curriculum come together. This approach shows the interrelatedness of all things and motivates students to become great observers and scholars. DMS is a member of the Montessori Schools Association (UK) offering a Montessori Preschool (Years 1-6) Curriculum, and DMA is an IB PYP candidate school offering a Montessori Elementary (Years 6-12) Curriculum. Dr Christie Leung, School Supervisor, DMS & DMA.
Can you outline the Montessori teaching experience?
All our teachers are certified AMI, MCI, MACTE teachers who have undergone extensive Montessori training, which provides them with specific skills to help assist each child to reach his/ her full potential. The teaching experience is over 12 years on average. Our teachers begin in a well-prepared environment, and customise it to create an atmosphere of freedom which allows children to make choices, as well as learn to self-correct. Mixed-age group classes encourage children to learn from each other, and the teacher is able to work with smaller focused groups with a low 1:10 teacher student ratio. The teachers model values necessary for a peaceful environment, namely respect, kindness, compassion and acceptance of diversity. Our mission is to help each child develop independence, internal motivation, self-discipline, creativity, self-esteem and a love of learning, as well as strong social responsibility. Gloria Law, Principal and Marsida Gostivari, Vice Principal, DMS.
How do the schools equip students for later life?
There is true freedom within limits in a Montessori classroom that encourages children to take responsibility for their learning at a very young age. Freedom and independence fosters a strong confidence in the children and also a love of learning. Through group projects in mixed-aged classrooms, the students learn how to work well with others and how to be mentors. Our Montessorians draw their motivation and sense of self-worth from a job well done. Because they are not in competition with one another, there is a strong sense of community in the classroom. It really is beautiful to witness. Aimee Rochon, Elementary Directress, DMA.
How do Montessori teachers assess children’s progress and what tools do they use?
In the Montessori environment teachers work together with children to drive the curriculum. While we follow a rich scope and sequence for teaching across the content areas, we are also constantly assessing and observing. Children are assessed through the Montessori teacher’s daily observations to ensure they excel beyond the benchmark. This assessment is an ongoing process, with daily monitoring to check for mastery and understanding. Examples o f the children’s work give a good indication of progress made and where special attention is needed. Assessments are presented in the form of portfolios, written observations and narratives of our observations of the child. Veena Gupta, Casa Directress, DMA.
What additional activities are offered at DMS and DMA?
DMS and DMA offer a true bilingual immersion in Mandarin, with a Mandarin teacher present during each three-hour work cycle. The Chinese curriculum is enriched with activities that support children in all aspects of the programme. At DMS and DMA we also offer children a range of extracurricular activities, such as Girl Guides, creative language and creative movement, outdoor sports, mindfulness and yoga classes. These activities promote excellent social interaction in the Montessori environment. Tammy Chan, Principal, DMA.
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Photos courtesy of DMS