Our classrooms are infused with each of these models.
We follow the Montessori philosophy and method in our curriculum because in our opinion it best supports the Developmental Perspective. Montessori education is concerned with the learning and development of the whole child. Underlying Maria’s method was a philosophy based on the dignity and spiritual worth of the child. She believed that the way to bring peace and harmony to the world was by cultivating in children a deep reverence for all of creation.
“The child is endowed with an inner power that can guide us to a more luminous future.”
– M. Montessori
Maria Montessori observed that children learn by doing. She designed her materials so that children in the classroom may manipulate (“act upon”) them and learn through self-discovery. Montessori is a sensory-based curriculum. Children touch, see, taste, hear, and feel the materials. The Montessori approach to education involves a three-way interaction between the child, the prepared environment, and the teacher.
In a Montessori classroom, the teacher is the catalyst that activates the relationship between the child and the “prepared environment.” She shows the child, she does not tell him. She respects him by not getting in the way of his self-discovery. A Montessori teacher does not push a child, but rather follows the child’s lead. She will “invite” a child to learn by introducing new materials appropriate to his or her stage. READ MORE IN About Montessori
Mandala follows a “developmental point of view” in our curriculum. We will not hurry or push a child in his or her development. Instead, we support the child in his or her own unique unfolding. Learning activities are set up to enhance four developmental areas: physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and creative. Each child progresses at his own pace, according to his own needs, interests and abilities.
“I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon…. I was impatient. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. It struggled desperately and a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand. That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.”
– Zorba the Greek
HEART-CENTERED TEACHING INSPIRED BY NATURE
Nature is a big part of our curriculum at Mandala. We incorporate heart-centered teaching inspired by nature into our everyday work with children in the classroom. This approach was developed by the author Nancy Rosenow in her book by the same name. We use nature’s wisdom to bring joy and effectiveness to our teaching of young children. Exploring nature, respecting nature, and receiving the gifts of being in nature are all important elements in our preschool curriculum. We have beautiful grounds with open space that give us plenty of opportunity to explore the natural world, plant gardens, befriend plants and animals, search for bugs, walk the labyrinth, and look for butterflies who reside in our meditation garden.
“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”
– M. Gandi
NURTURING THE SPIRIT – COPING CURRICULUM
We have designed a unique Small Group curriculum to teach interpersonal life skills, character values, and mindfulness.Children at Mandala not learn only to count and recognize their numbers. They also learn to quiet their bodies, to manage emotions, to respect differences, to make amends when they have hurt someone, to talk about their feelings, and to sit down together and resolve conflicts. We teach universal human values in all our classrooms throughout the day, but Small Group is the time where we intentionally focus on nurturing these values with structured themed activities.
“It’s easier to build a child than repair an adult.”
We teach empathy, compassion, helpfulness, responsibility, and a respect for differences. We also teach children how to regulate their strong emotions instead of acting them out. One of our objectives in Small Group is to introduce children to the “language of feelings” as a way of building resiliency. Children who are able to understand and name their feelings have more skills for coping with disappointment and frustration. When children leave Mandala, they take with them “tools for life.” Link to Nurturing the Spirit – Coping Curriculum
“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
– Joseph Chilton Pearce