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Montessori is a philosophy of education based on the work of Marie Montessori, a physician working I Italy in the early part of this century who became interested in the education of young children. Because she was a scientist, Dr. Montessori observed carefully what kinds of material interested children and in what ways children seemed to learn best. Her findings are at the heart of a Montessori classroom:

1. Children learn best by doing. Early learning is based firmly on the senses, so materials for young children must be very physical and concrete. Materials should also be colorful and inviting. They should, as far as possible, be self-teaching and self-correcting, requiring minimal intervention by the teacher.

2. The most valuable education is self-education. The teacher, therefore, has two paramount functions: first, to plan an exciting involving classroom in which materials change as the needs and interests of the class change; second, to act as a careful observer of the children in the class, so that he or she can step in when needed and allow and encourage independence when not needed.

3. Children learn better from each other than they do from adults. A classroom of mixed ages provides a richness of interaction not possible in a classroom confined to one age group.

While founded on Montessori principles, MPLC continues to incorporate other approaches to early childhood education. The Early Childhood curriculum is designed to be developmentally appropriate and meaningful to young students. To be engaged, children need to be on the edge of their understanding and level of competence. They all learn and work at different paces and do not stay interested and focused for the same amounts of time. Our curriculum is designed to challenge and interest children at different levels. We see children as active learners who need many opportunities to have hands-on experiences in an environment that is structured to support their learning.

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