March 2016 - Imagine Montesori School

Scientific contributions: Neuroscience

by Marco Zagal

During the last 30 years Neuroscience has become the area of knowledge with greater contributions to education. Several relevant discoveries, such as neuroplasticity, synaptogenesis, glial cells, the cerebral hemispheres, the triune brain and the total brain, among many other concepts, give us new clues about how the brain works and the way human beings learn. Thus, they show the emergence of a new paradigm on the functioning of the school and teaching-learning models to be implemented in educational systems. The brain has a great capacity to adapt to the various sensory environments that surround us, so it is not a static or fixed organ.

According to the latest research on neuroscience and neuropsychobiology, among other areas, there is a coherence in the comprehensive development of students with Dr. Montessori’s approach. In this sense, the Montessori education coincides, from its deepest approaches, with such scientific advances in relation to how the school of the new century has to be and the kind of knowledge and skills required by our current society. There’s probably a new educational paradigm taking place, as there seems to be the need to begin a transition from a primarily transmissive educational model of knowledge to another that is more active and holistic, from a socio-constructivist perspective.

There is a misconception about the Montessori education as an approach belonging to the past. Nevertheless, current research in education differs by showing the need to incorporate changes in the educational model, changes which aren’t outside the Montessori philosophy, as they have been applied in its model for more than a century. If we compare this pedagogical proposal with current approaches about school learning in detail, metacognition, process evaluation, peer learning, where the teacher is a facilitator rather than an expert, the education of free-thinking, autonomous, entrepreneurial and creative individuals who see mistakes as opportunities, in short, happy people, we can realize that all or most of them are part of the Montessori approach.

Our pedagogical approach focuses the attention on various elements that have a significant effect on self-esteem, learning and the possibilities for improvement that everyone can experience, especially children and young people in their social and personal development. For these reasons, we have an academic, familiar, ethical and professional responsibility because we know that Education can transform society.


The adult Montessori guide

by Betzabé Lillo

One of the major features of the Montessori education is to develop the autonomy of children and teenagers. To do this, Montessori emphasizes the relevance of the preparation that the adult who accompanies the children through their education processes has. As Dr. Montessori said, “…to educate children successfully by keeping them away from the conflicts that threaten their psychological life, it is necessary to take a fundamental step: change the adult’s psychology”. That’s why the personal work which has to be done by adults and especially the teachers is perhaps the most challenging part of the Montessori education. Using as many respectful and coherent evaluation strategies as possible with the way our students learn will allow us to follow that process properly. In pedagogical terms, this is understood as moving from a transmissive model of knowledge to a social construction model of the knowledge.

One of the characteristics of the Montessori Education is the educative work that is done in Prepared Environments where the curriculum is exposed and the role of the teacher and the students acquires a new meaning. In this educative trilogy that includes the Child, the Montessori Guide and the Prepared Environment, progress is made in a balanced way according to the different stages of development. Our educative model has the individual accompaniment of every student’s processes as a goal, so that each of them can develop their full potential. Therefore, we will carry out a pedagogical work in educational partners, thus focusing on the learning processes of children and teenagers through constant monitoring and educational exchange by the faculty.


The three years cycle

The Montessori classes are divided into areas of knowledge. In the following video we can see a brief explanation of how it works. The practice area is sometimes shocking because children perform common tasks in any home. This allows them to gain autonomy, independence and confidence, as well as to collaborate with students of different ages, thus leading them to explore roles as leadership and learning from their own mistakes.

The senses are also relevant here because exploration through sight, hearing, touch, etc. is part of the learning experience.

The Montessori materials combine all these areas to make students discover knowledge through the sensory experience of touching, handling and ultimately do, rather than listening.


Video de Secret Garden Montessori, Frenchtown NJ.


One morning at Montessori

It is difficult for those who are unfamiliar with the Montessori method to understand the essence of this teaching, which is letting children be guided by their nature to learn, respecting them as individuals. Sometimes the simplest thing can become complicated to explain, and yet when we see it in action we understand it perfectly.

An example of this is the video that we want to show you today, which is created by a Canadian school, Dundas Valley Montessori School. Here we can see a 5-minutes summary of how the first three hours in a typical class at a Montessori school are. First, we see the way guides welcome every student, then we can see the autonomy students reflect when choosing their activities, collecting materials, interacting with other students, making their own breakfast and finally, the video also shows how they enjoy nature.


The prepared environment

by Betzabé Lillo

Maria Montessori found that children learn best when their learning context (Prepared Environment) is harmonious. If the educational environment and the teacher are receptive to their stages of development, needs and learning styles, meaningful learning will be achieved. A Prepared Environment can generate the basic conditions for learning in harmony through the free choice of work, responsibility, a positive self-image and building a collective identity which allow all those who are part of that community to have more active participation in their learning process.

Her Prepared Environment proposal involves both a Physical Prepared Environment and a Psychological one, where the educational team designs favorable conditions for the social construction of knowledge as permitted by the characteristics of development each student has, because as noted by Vygotsky, “knowledge is the result of the social interaction; we become aware of ourselves through interaction with others, and we also learn the use of symbols that allow us to think about increasingly complicated ways”. Thus, the educational process takes place in a Physical Prepared Environment where links, limits and agreements, or in other words, the elements that allow the construction of an individual and collective identity, are developed.

This sense of belonging to a group and the cultural identification generate a new neurological and psychological disposition that allows students to take responsibility for their learning paths and thus learn in harmony either individually or by groups, depending on their needs.

Besides, the physical Prepared Environment seeks to develop autonomy, cognitive and social-emotional skills, error estimation, tolerance, solidarity and cooperation.

We invite you to visit our Prepared Environments in Imagine Montessori School.


Montessori vs Traditional School

In this video from we see why Montessori schools keep the innate curiosity of children alive and why traditional schools are abandoning this force that seeks knowledge and promotes the search for social approval through marks, rewards and punishments.

The Montessori education tries to prevent students from losing their natural motivation and worrying about what subjects will be included or not in the examinations. Instead, its focus is to increase motivation by enhancing the areas each student prefers.

The video shows a beautiful story of a student who is fascinated by divisions, but you should just press “play” and watch it for yourself.

A message to the families

[dt_sc_dropcap type=”Circle” variation=”avocado”]D[/dt_sc_dropcap]eciding which school will accompany you on your educational path and where your children will live are not matters which should be taken lightly. They are decisions which need careful consideration, from an informed perspective. We would like to accompany you on your journey as a mother, father, grandfather or grandmother. In order to do this, we have chosen some concepts which form the essence of Montessori Pedagogy, whose contributions can help in the process of finding an educational community in which you can feel that your child can continue developing in a new environment which holds similar values to those of your family. In order to be able to entrust our children to a professional team of educators we need to know and understand the values and ideals that they advocate.

Montessori education has been present all over the world for over a hundred years. Generations of children, by the time they reached their youth, have managed to find meaning in their lives. They have discovered that, through autonomy, freedom in decision-making, the flow of thought, love and respect for everything and everyone, there comes a time in their life when they are able choose the paths that they want to follow, be this travelling, learning a trade, joining a work project, setting up a business project or going to university.

During infancy (from 0 to 6 years old), Maria Montessori points out that we must collaborate so that the child achieves Physical Independence (as far as language and movement are concerned). This is an essential stage when the sensitive periods are latent, and children are making great strides with regard to their bodies and their physical, social and emotional environments. This is the Absorbent Mind period. In childhood, the ages from 6 to 12 years old are a wonderful time when the first seeds of ethics and morals begin to germinate. We must accompany the children so that they achieve the Intellectual Independence which will allow them to know and understand the world, maybe even change it at different levels.
During adolescence, from 12 to 18, the greatest achievement is Economic Independence and the Montessori Secondary level curricular guidelines are organized to achieve this on the one hand, and on the other to provide thorough preparation in various fields of knowledge connected to a feeling of admiration for all those who throughout humanity have been identified with diverse causes and have left their mark due to the social impact they have had. And, finally, Maria Montessori tells us that the period from 18 to 24 is the time when we are able to see the road we have travelled and find our mission in life ’for many years I have been taking in these experiences, and sharing adventures…now…, what can I do to contribute to improving the community, society and humanity in some way?’

To achieve all this, IMAGINE MONTESSORI SCHOOL provides continuity through Montessori Primary (course 2017-18), Secondary and High Schools, beginning with deliberately unhurried growth and focusing on the needs of the educational community.