Authentic Montessori Academy’s program statement is consistent with the Ministry of Education, Child Care Quality Assurance and Licensing policy statement on programming and pedagogy.
Children are rich in potential and eager to learn. We, the faculty at Authentic Montessori Academy (AMA), recognize that and promote respect for children as the unique, competent, capable and curious individuals that they are. The child’s social and emotional development along with academic development and Peace Education are the focal point of our program. Peace Education is paramount to the Montessori philosophy. Dr. Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace· Prize three times in her lifetime.
At AMA we encourage our students to choose their own work, and when engaged in that work, may continue for as long as they care to. There is respect amongst the children and respect for one another’s work and work space. AMA’s teachers facilitate learning and coach students. Our students learn that mistakes are natural steps in the learning process. They learn to collaborate and work together on major projects. They strive for their personal best in this non-graded environment rather than competing for the highest grade in the class. Our students work together, play together, eat together and rest together. After a family style lunch, the children have a nap/rest for no longer than two hours, while soft music is played in the room.
AMA staff record the time each child falls asleep and conduct visual inspections. Visual inspections are direct visual checks of each sleeping child by being physically present beside the child while the child is sleeping and looking for indicators of distress or unusual behaviours. The time that each child wakes from his/her nap is also recorded. Rest is very important to a child’s development, health and well-being. Children that do not require a nap may choose to play quiet games, look at books, build puzzles, draw, colour, etc. They often chose to do Montessori work like creating designs by combining the Brown Stairs, the Pink Tower and Coloured Cylinders.
One of AMA’s goals is to establish within the children a sound understanding of safety and good health. We promote safety, health and nutrition by setting positive examples and by enjoying meals and snacks with our students. Our family style meal time provides the opportunity to discuss safety as well as the health benefits of eating well balanced nutritious meals. At this time, the children learn to embrace the concept of traditional mealtime collaboration, such as setting a table, sharing of a meal and cleaning up after the meal is finished. This is an important part of our program as family is an important part of our environment. AMA’s classrooms are designed based on the traditional plans of Maria Montessori while also complying with the Ministry of Education’s Child Care and Early Years Act. Our environment is home-like and our classrooms are warm and comfortable. This, in addition to Practical Life activities, helps us in supporting positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents and our staff. Practical life activities include but are not limited to washing a table, caring for plants, folding clothes and dressing one’s self. The children learn to care for and contribute to others through their experiences in our classes.
Young children benefit from an affirming approach that encourages positive interactions with other children and with adults, rather than from a negative or punitive approach to managing unwanted behaviour. AMA sets out clear direction regarding prohibitive practices to support the over all well-being of children and forbids corporal punishment of a child, physical restraint of a child (such as confining the child to a high chair, car seat, stroller or other device for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision) unless the physical restraint is for the purpose of preventing a child from hurting himself/herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and only until the risk of injury is no longer imminent.
AMA forbids locking the exits of the centre for the purpose of confining the child or confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, (unless such confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of AMA’s emergency management policy and procedure). AMA forbids the use of harsh or degrading measures or threats, derogatory language directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth. AMA forbids depriving the child of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding. AMA forbids inflicting any bodily harm on a child including making a child eat or drink against his/her will.
Special events throughout the year that include AMA families are planned and executed through collaboration. We build a float and participate in our local Santa Clause Parade (we were awarded Best School Float, Winter 2015). We also host a Mother’s Day Tea, a Father’s Day BBQ and an end of the year Graduation Ceremony. In addition, we offer Parent Information sessions with Q & A opportunities. AMA is a member of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and utilizes community partners to support special programs and events, and we make our resources available to students, families and staff. We have open discussions with parents to review the impact of AMA’s strategies on their children and their families.
AMA may accept volunteers, placement students and parent involvement. All must have a current criminal reference vulnerable sector check (CRV). AMA will keep the CRV’s on file for a period of one year. Typical volunteer opportunities include assisting Staff with assigned instructional and co-curricular programs and helping with supervision of students.
In our Toddler classroom, the children can range from 18 months to 2 ½ years of age and in our Casa classroom the children can range from 2 ½ to 6 years of age. The range of ages in a classroom gives us opportunity to promote the importance of communicating in a positive way, and we encourage interaction among peers which supports the children’s ability to self-regulate. Older children mentor while younger children are motivated to learn by seeing the older children engaged in their work. All children develop close and long-term relationships with teachers and classmates.
Volunteers and Student Assistants:
- All policies and procedures are reviewed with volunteers or students who will be providing care or services before they begin providing that care or service and annually afterwards.
- Volunteers/students are not permitted to be alone with a child and are always supervised.
- A written procedure for monitoring the behaviour management practices of volunteers/ students who provide care/services is reviewed with volunteers and students by the Supervisor and/or Principal before they begin providing care or service and annually afterwards.
- Criminal Reference Vulnerable Sector Checks are required for all volunteers. The fee for this Reference Check is paid by the volunteer.
- The Criminal Reference Vulnerable Sector Check policy does not apply to students placed at AMA by an educational institution; however criminal vulnerable sector checks are routinely required by community colleges and universities prior to students beginning a placement in a child care centre.
- Children are not supervised by a person under 18 years of age.
- Volunteers and students are not counted in the staffing ratio.
- Family members of Authentic Montessori Academy employees may serve as volunteers, however, an ongoing volunteer may not be supervised by his/her relative.
- Volunteers are not monetarily compensated for their work.
The Montessori Method assumes that children are born intelligent, they simply learn in different ways and progress at their own pace. At AMA students are free to explore, play and inquire as our classrooms are child focused as opposed to teacher focused. Children initiate and adults support their experiences. Students develop leadership skills as well as independence and self-esteem and multiple intelligences are recognized and encouraged. The multi-age classroom encourages a strong sense of community. Teachers come to know each child’s learning style and students move ahead as quickly as they are ready. Text books and workbooks are rarely used because many of the skills and concepts are abstract and a text book simply doesn’t bring them to life. The time-tested Montessori Method relies on hands-on, concrete materials to introduce new concepts. Investigation and research are experiences that actively engage a student. Learning is based on experience rather than on rote drill and memorization.
Outdoor education is a very important part of the Montessori curriculum. Our students learn to care for the outdoor, as well as the indoor, environment. There’s plenty of shade provided by a great number of mature trees, which also provide for learning experiences. Our outdoor program plan includes utilising riding toys, playing gross motor games and playing with balls, sand and water. Our large playground with a patio and a grass area provides plenty of space for active and dramatic play.
In accordance with an authentic Montessori program, Authentic Montessori Academy sets high expectations, and challenges all students. Our students develop self-discipline and an integral sense of purpose and motivation.
At AMA we promote diversity in faculty and in our student body, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and global perspective. AMA staff have many opportunities for continued professional learning through, among other resources, “GROW Continuous Professional Learning in Durham” events and workshops.
Mid year withdrawal from the program may be accepted in certain circumstances and will be considered on an individual basis. If a parent wishes to withdraw a child from Authentic Montessori Academy mid year, a meeting will be arranged to discuss the circumstances. Written notice of intent to withdraw is required with no less that 30 days notice. The deposit that has been applied to the month of June is non-refundable. No tuition refunds for the remaining months will be issued after March 1st of the current school year. The school can request that the parent(s) withdraw the child from the program if it feels the needs of the child cannot be met. In this case, any tuition money paid in advance will be returned to the parent(s) without interest.
Authentic Montessori Academy is a wonderful environment for learning!