Puddletown School is a Montessori school, including three primary classrooms and one elementary class for children ages 3 to 9. We are dedicated to providing a loving, nurturing environment to aid in the selfdevelopment of the whole child. Half and full day schedules are available, as well as early care and aftercare.
Having different ages in the classroom brings with it a wide range of benefits. Cooperation and tutoring between age groups increase achievement and selfesteem in both older and younger children. Students are able to reinforce their skills and knowledge as they learn from each other, building confidence and responsibility. Older children learn leadership skills and empathy by engaging with the younger children, and younger children learn from the older children’s example, creating excitement for the future. There is an added advantage in that students and teachers (guides) can enjoy the experience of being together for more than one year.
Conflicts arise naturally out of interactions between different people. We teach conflict resolution throughout the year to give children ways of solving problems themselves. In this way, children are given tools for dealing with conflicts before they happen. This helps avoid discipline problems that come from not knowing how to work through arguments peacefully. We give children the skills to create a balance between freedom and responsibilities that teach them to respect themselves, others, the classroom, and the materials. With these skills, children begin the lifelong process of learning to respect others’ opinions and to search for solutions to conflicts.
The student/teacher ratio is 10 to 1. Our walking field trips maintain a ratio of 6 to 1. Class size is designed to be large enough to foster independence, but small enough to allow for appropriate guidance and supervision.
Children choose their own work within guidelines set by the teacher. This framework offers a great deal of freedom, but each freedom has a corresponding responsibility.
No. A healthy lunch should be sent with the child daily. We encourage parents to involve the child in the process of shopping, preparing, and packing a healthy meal void of sugary food. All containers should be easily opened and closed by the child. Puddletown provides a snack that is available throughout the morning work period. It is a good idea to check in with your child about lunch and ask if they are getting too much or not enough food.
The Montessori method is named for Dr. Maria Montessori, who devoted her life to the observation and study of children. Montessori is a comprehensive approach to education from birth to adulthood. Beginning her work over a century ago, Dr. Montessori developed her approach through the observation of children from many cultures and economic backgrounds. It succeeds because it draws its principles from the natural development of the child. The inherent flexibility of the method allows it to be adapted to the needs of the individual, regardless of ability, learning style or social maturity. Dr. Montessori believed the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child were important as a developmental guide. Using this approach she created “prepared environments” for multiage groups (03, 36, 69, 912, and 1214). The environments contain specifically designed materials for development that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own choice. Under the guidance of a trained teacher (guide), children in a Montessori classroom learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, selfdiscipline, and a love of learning. Montessori is a handson approach to learning that encompasses the use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, and small and large motor skill coordination. With this concrete knowledge, children find their own way to an understanding of concepts. This is combined with a deep love and need for purposeful work. The Montessori method emphasizes selfreliance and independence in the classroom and at home by teaching children the skills to do as much for themselves as they are capable of. The trained teacher (guide) is an artful organizer of experiences for the child to discover, process and practice. Constant and ongoing observation by the guide is one of the foundations of the Montessori program.
Most educators and psychologists today agree that the single most important period in the development of a person’s intelligence is between birth and age five. A child’s mind is extremely absorbent and curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated, the child’s mind forms patterns for learning that serve them well throughout life.
To a child, the world can be overwhelming. The primary classroom is a childsized world. By careful selection of materials, the classroom allows the child a place to explore life on a level they can understand. The materials or exercises are designed to stimulate independent explorations. The environment entices the child to proceed at their own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process, the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and they begin to experience the joy in discovering the world around them. The elementary classroom is designed to nurture imagination and reason. The materials are carefully selected and encourage collaborative work. There are many resources available for research and independent study. Children are encouraged to follow their interests and take initiative to go out into the community to learn more.
Children come into the school, greet the guides, wash their hands, hang up their coats, and begin their day. They move about the classroom from activity to activity, using a small rug for work on the floor or sitting at a table. They may be talking or working with a friend, choosing to work alone, or sitting back to observe if they wish. During the course of the day each child chooses materials of interest, receives lessons from the guide on a new material, shares snack with a friend, etc. Throughout the morning the children may gather to hear a story read aloud, share news, sing songs, recite poems, or work on group projects. Part of each day is spent outside. At the end of the morning the children help set up lunch and everyone in the classroom eats together.
Guides encourage, redirect, and supervise as the child learns through their own personal motivation. They plan the environment in the interests of the children, and help children progress from one activity to the next. The guides track each child’s development to create individual lesson plans.
A child who attends school for five consecutive days each week will have a greater opportunity for smooth, spontaneous learning. A child taken in and out of school frequently does not have the same opportunity and consistency to pursue their unfolding interests. In addition, our AMI certification requires that all children attend 5 days.
In the classroom children interact continuously, sometimes choosing to work on projects together, and older children often help younger ones. Children also eat snack and lunch in groups. Each day there are group activities and outside play. As children get older, and naturally more social, the work provided is more group oriented.