Behind the Science of Bay Farm

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 

When I speak with parents about Bay Farm’s Montessori program, it is easy to point to concrete examples of the prepared environment that are essential to a Montessori program. On the surface, people appreciate the clean and organized learning spaces in our school.  However, there is much more than a well prepared and beautiful classroom behind the science of what our teachers do. At the core of our Montessori beliefs at Bay Farm is the idea that we must understand the child in order to develop the structures, plans, materials, and experience to bring out the child’s full potential. This is where the science in Montessori really begins. Our teachers spend a great amount of time in the careful, quiet, non-invasive, observation of each child. We aim to observe the child without impacting their decisions and impulses so that we can design experiences and provide guidance that supports the development of a young child’s personality. We know that self-construction is something only the child can achieve, but we also know that it is our responsibility, our privilege to create the environment that fosters the best development of the child.

An important part of this process is letting the child go. It is the child who strives to be independent, learn, and grow. This process must be owned by the child. When adults get involved in this process of the child, no matter how helpful we think we are being, we impede the child’s growth. We adults have great intentions when we insert ourselves in the work of a child. However, these interruptions can negatively affect natural growth.  Learning to grasp items and do up buttons in Toddler House, learning to turn in completed homework assignments in Elementary I, learning to have caring, compassionate, and reflective conversations with peers in Middle School are all processes that children must learn for themselves. We trust that every child at Bay Farm is very capable of this learning and we are here, observing and creating the right environments to encourage this self-directed learning.

Interested in learning more? Here are a few books to help guide you along your own Montessori journey as a parent:  

Understanding Montessori – A Guide for Parents by Maren Schmidt

Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard

Montessori Madness – A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler