The Fountainhead Montessori School of Pleasant Hill, California, approaches child education with a focus on inspiring a love of learning and promoting development on a social and emotional level. In order to establish an environment that fosters well-rounded children, the Fountainhead Montessori School in Pleasant Hill, like all Montessori schools, utilizes Maria Montessori’s teaching methods.
The Montessori philosophy emphases the importance of treating every child as an individual and tailoring lessons to suit their mental, physical, and emotional stage of development. It supports hands-on learning and encourages children to explore their environment and use creative thinking to find solutions to problems. Activities are designed to make use of all five senses and to be enjoyable in order to fully engage children in the learning process.
Developed by Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori, the philosophy was created to help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who were labeled as “hopeless” by educators of the time. As she continued to observe children and experiment with new methods to engage them, she formed the idea that education should prepare children for life rather than school alone.
Her teaching approach identified three interdependent components: the child, the instructor, and the prepared environment. Furthermore, she reasoned that prepared environments must consist of features, supplies, and aesthetics designed specifically for children and required regular updates to present new challenges and lessons. Children in prepared environments learn by interacting with their surroundings and one another with guidance and support from their instructor.
Modern curriculums derived from the Montessori philosophy are reality-based and use imaginative play to help children build character, learn social skills, and acquire an understanding of the world around them. Lessons include scientific language and materials and avoid the use of fantasy tropes, such as superheroes, talking animals, and fictional creatures. Children participate in activities that teach control and coordination of movement, and they learn practical skills for caring for their environment, themselves, and one another.
To learn more about the use of Montessori methods in modern American schools, visit the Montessori website at www.amshq.org.