Learning at MSD

Portrait of a Montessori Graduate

The beginning years in a child’s schooling experience is the most important. It is time to build the foundation for a lifetime–It is a time to learn how to learn, experience a positive relationship to learning, and develop a disposition to become a healthy, confident and compassionate person.

Montessori School of Duluth cherishes these beginning years, and was intentionally built to provide education for age 3 to Grade 6 children, capturing the prime period in the beginning of children’s lives to help them build a solid foundation for life.

The Montessori methodology sets the gold standard for early childhood education, designed and practiced according to how human beings develop and how human brains are built to function.

Core Components of Montessori Education

Child-Directed Work

Intrinsic motivation is the best teacher. The essence of the Montessori methodology centers around respecting each child’s curiosity and interest. Montessori Guides are trained to discern that initial spark in children’s eyes and then skillfully guide children to follow through in their pursuits to satiate their curiosity. Montessori classrooms are designed as a safe and stimulating environment that invites children to choose meaningful and challenging work of their own interest.

Uninterrupted Work Periods

Rapture means “a feeling of intense joy, concentration.” When we are in a moment of alignment, intensely involved in creativity, time disappears—this is called we are caught in a state of rapture or intense concentration. It is in this state of flow, humanity produces the best work possible. Children of all ages are capable of having moments of intense concentration as such. Montessori education makes a priority to cultivate children’s ability to maintain intense concentration to unleash human potential. Guides are trained to provide children ample time to follow through with activities, allow each child to progress at his/her pace.

Use of Montessori Materials

Children process and absorb abstract concepts differently from adults, primarily due to the growth of their pre-frontal cortex. Pre-frontal cortex is the executive function center of the brain that enables adults to understand abstract concepts from lectures, organize and accomplish complex tasks, predict consequences and regulate emotions. This is the only part of the brain that continues to grow after birth. It does not mature in women age until 25 and in men age until 30.

For children, while their pre-frontal cortex are under development, direct experience, instead of lecture, is the best teacher. Children need to touch, smell, feel and experience how things act and behave. Understanding this nature of children’s developmental science, Montessori education has designed a wealth of learning materials. Children understand abstract concepts (i.e. length, quantity, time span, etc.) by manipulating these materials hands-on.

Multi-Age Classrooms

Children of the same development plane (i.e. age 3-6 and age 6-12 years olds) are grouped together in one classroom. Montessori education understands that learning is intellectual as well as social. Montessori multi-age classroom models the real world, affords opportunities for children to interact with each other in a constructive way, mastering social and leadership skills to thrive in a diverse world.

Professionally Trained Montessori Guides

When planning lessons, Guides set their teaching objectives on three levels: who (character development), how (life-long skills), and what (knowledge). A great teacher, however, spends most of her/his focus and attention on building the who. Montessori Guides are such great teachers—they are trained to focus on building the person first, and then provide the space and resources for each child to blossom. Montessori Guides are some of the best trained teachers in the world who must undergo years of learning and supervised student teaching.

A Portrait of a Montessori School of Duluth Graduate

  • Skilled and curious learners who know how to learn.
  • Possess a positive relationship to learning.
  • Strong readers, curious researchers, assertive experimenters, and resilient risk takers.
  • Possess the flexibility, reflectivity, open-mindedness and compassion to be able to socialize and interact with people from all walks of life.