Questions & Answers
“Let us give the child a vision of the whole Universe…The Universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life; for all things are a part of the Universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.” -Maria Montessori
Q: When does the Heärt Montessori plan to open?
A: We plan to open in the winter of 2018.
Q: How is Montessori Different?
A: The formation of children’s fundamental capacities is hugely important during the first years of life – not just academic learning but the ability to concentrate, persevere and think for themselves as well as the ability to interact well with others. Children who have been given caring assistance during these formative years grow into adults who are self-motivated and love learning, are able to think flexibly and creatively and who are not only conscious of the needs of others but actively foster harmony as they go through life.
In traditional education adults decide what children learn and the ability to retain and reproduce information is used as a measure of academic accomplishment. The teacher is the active giver of information and children are passive receivers.
In the Montessori approach it is all about the activity of the child. The teacher takes on a different role, that is, to provide the kind of circumstances where children are guided to find what they require from what is on offer. Children then become active learners and are able to reach their own unique potential because they are learning at their own pace and rhythm focusing on their own particular development from moment to moment. The Montessori approach provides: An environment that serves each child’s stage of development; an adult who understands child development and acts as a guide to assist children find their own natural path; and freedom for children to engage in their own development according to their own particular developmental timeline.
Q: What makes Heärt Montessori unique?
A: Heärt Montessori is a school that teaches a permaculture curriculum that starts at the preschool level with a spiritual approach to sustainability, self-reliance, self-love, and service. As part of these core tenants we serve largely locally sourced organic plant-based meals. We also incorporate yoga practices, such as meditation and mindfulness as part of the curriculum.
Q: What ages will the school accommodate?
A: Initially we will be serving ages 2.5-6 for pre-school and kindergarten and intend to expand the age range over time.
Q: Will the school have multiple locations?
A: No, this is a small grass roots Montessori school and we’ll be serving people from all over the tri-state area.
Q: How many students are typically in a Heärt Montessori class?
A: Our maximum class size is 16 students. Montessori values the lessons of fellow students in the community. All members of the school benefit from this set-up. Older students joyfully act as role models and younger ones feel cared and assisted by them gaining greater self-esteem in regard to the challenges ahead.
Q: How are children able to learn if they’re free to do whatever they want?
A: Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him. Beginning at the elementary level, students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
Q: Why are Montessori schools all work and no play?
A: Dr. Montessori realized that children’s play is their work—their effort to master their own bodies and environment—and out of respect she used the term “work” to describe all their classroom activities. Montessori students work hard, but they don’t experience it as a chore, rather, it’s an expression of their natural curiosity and desire to learn.
Q: If children work at their own pace, don’t they fall behind?
A: Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going at it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance her learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects her from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
Q: Is it true that Montessori students have the same teacher for all subjects rather than work with “specialists” in different curricular areas?
A: Montessori teachers are educated as “generalists,” qualified to teach all sections of the curriculum. At Heärt Montessori we also utilize specialists in certain subjects, including art, music, foreign language, physical education, and science.
Q: Does my child have to be vegetarian/vegan to attend this school?
A: No, we welcome children and families with a variety of diets at our school. Food is just one way our curriculum addresses a holistic approach to becoming empathetic and compassionate human beings, but this does not require your child to be a vegan/vegetarian. Each day your child will be provided healthy 100% plant-based meals with the nutrition and vitamins they require to grow strong and smart. If you have further questions about plant-based foods or are interested in seeing an examples of a daily meal plan, please email us.
Q: How is yoga integrated into the curriculum?
A: Yoga is more than merely stretching the body. While the students do have the opportunity to explore movement, our main focus on the yoga practice is teaching kids mindfulness through conscious breathing and meditation. Through the various practices of yoga, children learn tools for managing the stresses of daily life in a healthy way.
Q: Is yoga a religion?
A: Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is not a form of Hinduism. Yoga is a holistic, spiritual practice. A yoga practice encompasses many things, such as being mindful of our everyday interactions with others, making healthy food choices, how to manage stress and tension, and increasing one’s awareness through meditation. It is a holistic approach to living and remembering our spiritual nature or authentic selves.
Q: Is Heärt Montessori affiliated with any religious denomination or organization?
A: No, Heärt Montessori is not affiliated with any religious denomination or organization. Families of all faiths and religious backgrounds are welcome. In conjunction with cultural studies, our teachers may explore different religious traditions or celebrations, though no particular religion or faith is emphasized.