Table of Contents
History of Montessori Program Helena Public Schools………………………..3
Helena Public Schools Montessori Program and Guidelines………………4-5
Montessori Program Staff & Locations 2013-2014…………………….…..6
Helena Public Montessori Parents HPMP……………………….…..…..….7
Maria Montessori 1870-1952………………………………………………….8
The Montessori Method……………………………………………….…….9
Instructional Style, Curriculum and Methods……………………….….10-11
History of Montessori Program
Helena Public Schools
The development of a Montessori Program in School District #1 began in the fall of 1990. It has grown since that time to include three locations. Each location offers two lower elementary and one upper elementary classroom. This configuration provides the opportunity for students to be enrolled throughout their elementary education in grades 1-5.
1988-1990 Helena parents/community advocate for Montessori education
May, 1990 The Helena Board of Trustees accept proposal
1990-1991 First lower elementary class (grades 1-3, ages 6-9) implemented – Central
1991-1992 Second lower elementary class (grades 1-3, ages 6-9) implemented –Central
1993-1994 Third class (upper elementary, grades 4-5, ages 9-12) implemented – Central
1994-1995 Fourth lower elementary class (grades 1-3, ages 6-9) implemented – Lincoln, Jefferson, Smith
1996-1997 Fifth class (upper elementary, grades 4-5, ages 9-12) implemented – Central, Smith
1998 -1999 Lower elementary class identified and elementary Montessori continuum available at Central and Smith Schools for students in grades 1-5 (6 classrooms)
2005-2006 Lower elementary class (grades 1-3. ages 6-9) implemented at Broadwater School
2008-2009 Second lower elementary class (grades 1+3, ages 6-9) implemented at Broadwater School
2009-2010 Upper elementary class (grades 4-5. ages 9-12) added at Broadwater School
Helena Public Schools Montessori
The Montessori Program is an educational option for students in grades 1-5 regardless of their HPS attendance area. It is available to all students in the Helena Public Schools through a lottery system. All children participating in the lottery must be a resident of the Helena Public School District and/or currently enrolled in a HPS Kindergarten.
Kindergarten students who reside in the Helena Public School District and attended a private Helena Montessori Kindergarten are eligible to participate in the annual lottery. If your child is selected in the lottery, you must respond within 3 days to either accept or decline the spot.
Lottery Records and Student Lists
The District Montessori Program Coordinator will maintain lottery records for the current and previous annual drawings. A list of students who participated in the lottery but were not selected will be maintained on a “waiting list”.
Should any openings in Montessori classrooms occur during the school year the District Montessori Program Coordinator will notify families on the waiting list in the order their names were drawn in the lottery. If a family does not wish to take the seat offered, then that child’s name will be moved to the end of the waiting list and the next family on the list will be offered the open seat. This will be repeated until the open seat is filled. However, if no students on the waiting list opt to move to the open seat the seat will be opened first to all students in that grade in the school where the seat is open and then to all students in that grade in the School District. If the seat remains open new students who are enrolling in the District may be placed in the open seat.
Seats will be maintained for students who are absent for an extended period of time due to a medical or other school related issue. The same protocol used for general education students will be used for Montessori students.
Students in the Montessori classroom are accountable to the same school-wide rules as students in other classrooms.
HPS Montessori is a public education offering; there is no tuition charge.
Bus transportation is available for students who must leave their neighborhood attendance area to attend a Montessori program at Smith, Broadwater, or Central.
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled twice yearly in each elementary school. Montessori classrooms participate in the same conference dates. Additional conferences may be arranged as the need arises.
The School District #1 report card form will be used. Modifications will be made as necessary to accurately represent a student’s progress.
Students in Montessori classrooms will participate in all district assessment and standardized testing.
Montessori Program Staff & Locations
900 Hollins Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
- Sue Sweeney Principal, District Montessori
- Beth Smaka Lower Elementary
- Annie Tague Lower Elementary
- Jodi Delaney Upper Elementary
Helena, MT 59601
- John Stilson Principal
- Joslyn Carney Lower Elementary
- Libby Kenney Lower Elementary
- Tony Napoletano Upper Elementary
2320 5th Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
- Jill Nyman Principal
- Katy Wright Lower Elementary
- Shannon Callahan Lower Elementary
- Debra Beaver Upper Elementary
Helena Public Montessori Parents
HPMP is a non-profit parent group that is devoted to Montessori education and support of the teachers and students. HPMP supports Montessori education in many ways, by volunteering in the classroom and working to raise funds for teacher training, continued professional development and classroom materials.
Meetings are held on the first Monday of every school month at 5:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to attend these meetings but attendance is not required. In addition, because HPMP faces significant expenses in paying for specialized teacher training and materials (costs not covered by the School District) parents are also encouraged to help with fund-raising activities.
HPMP’s mission is to encourage and support Montessori education in the Helena Public Schools through the funding of Montessori teacher training and classroom materials; to promote the understanding of Montessori methods; and to provide resources to satisfy the needs of the community for Montessori education.
Helena Public Montessori Parents, Inc. (HPMP) www.helenamontessori.org
PO Box 731, Helena, MT 59624
2015-2016 HPMP Officers:
Past-President, Perri May (Broadwater parent) email@example.com 439-7741
Co-President, Tiffany Lyden (Smith parent) firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-President, Piper Lynch (Broadwater parent) email@example.com
Treasurer, Alan Woodmansey (Smith parent) firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary, Erin Lanigan (Broadwater parent) email@example.com 431-2690
Future of Montessori, Diana Hammer (Central parent) firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith Rep, Tracey Tillinger email@example.com
Broadwater Rep, Heather Greene firstname.lastname@example.org 438-1749
Central Rep, Sally Hicks email@example.com 868-6983
Erin Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Montessori, known throughout the world as the originator of the Montessori Method of education, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree.
In 1902, while working with disabled children, she was inspired to design a variety of learning materials. These proved to be highly effective and successful.
Five years later, Maria was asked to direct a pre-school project for socially disadvantaged children in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Her Casa del Bambini (Children’s House) became world famous, drawing educational observers from many different countries to watch the young children absorbed in learning with unique materials.
Eventually, Montessori gave up her medical practice and devoted her life to training teachers. Her philosophy and materials were based on the belief that education is not something which the teacher does, but a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. Although her materials and her educational theories for using them spread to six continents, her methods did not penetrate the mainstream of education.
However, Montessori’s ideas have survived and flourished. Because they are based on her ingenious and exhaustive observations of children, they are timeless and universal.
The ideas incorporated in the Montessori Method are now being validated by modern research into how children learn. Educationalists have rediscovered their effectiveness and are using them as the basis for strategies such as cooperative learning, whole language and peer tutoring.
The Montessori Method
The Montessori Method is a child-centered approach to education that allows each child to follow an individualized learning program at their own pace.
The classroom environment is carefully prepared to facilitate self-directed learning. The teacher or director observes the child and acts as a guide. Lesson are presented individually or to small groups as needed.
This approach enables each child to develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically at their own unique pace. The child learns to take responsibility for his/her own actions and studies.
The Montessori curriculum is totally integrated and open-ended. Materials are provided to awaken the child’s interest, which is then fostered by the teacher. The classroom is full of research materials which all students are encouraged to use.
Children are introduced to new concepts through specially designed, hands-on materials they can manipulate. Thus, they learn through their own experience and discovery.
Beginning from preschool, Montessori classrooms are organized in three-year age groupings. This enables students to work at their own speed and ability level in all subjects, and encourages older students to help younger, and vice versa.
The prepared Montessori environment stimulates the child’s natural love of learning and innate curiosity. It provides children the opportunity to develop invaluable learning skills and a lifelong love of learning.
Instructional Style, Curriculum and Methods
Implementation of the Montessori curriculum requires a trained teacher. Montessori methods and procedures are reflected in the style of the Montessori-trained teacher who prepares the environment to encourage individualization, freedom of choice, concentration, independence, problem solving, peer interactions and collaborations, and experiential learning. The Montessori Method encourages large uninterrupted blocks of time to allow the children to work.
Characteristics of Primary Montessori Classes
- Children of mixed ages are grouped together in a Montessori classroom. Montessori classrooms in School District #1 are organized into two levels:
Lower Elementary Ages 6 to 9, or grades 1, 2, and 3
Upper Elementary Ages 9 to 12, or grades 4 and 5
- At the lower elementary level, children spend three years with the same teacher; at the this level approximately one third of the class moves on to the next level each year
- Materials are designed for use by individual students or small groups, rather than as teacher presentation aids. In math, materials represent math concepts, such as fractions and decimals. In geography, students work with puzzle maps, in which each continent and/or country has been made into a puzzle.
- For a period of time everyday, students engage in individual and small group work of their choice. These choices are guided by the teacher and students receive instruction individually or in groups.
- Montessori classrooms promote an attitude of cooperation rather than competition. It is common for students to ask other students for help.
- The development of individual responsibility is emphasized. Children maintain the classroom and materials, and participate in developing the “climate” of their learning environment.
Classroom Organizational Patterns
The organization of a Montessori classroom requires flexibility. Furniture used in the classroom allows for individual and group work at tables and chairs rather than desks. A large open floor space allows children to work on the floor. A full range of Montessori materials is necessary for the elementary class, plus whatever additional materials are needed depending upon the levels of the students. The reference materials necessary for the classroom include, but are not limited to encyclopedias, unabridged dictionaries, and atlases.
The Montessori environment should be arranged so that the greatest possible independence may be enjoyed by the child. Rather than directing the child’s development, the teacher must know the level of achievement and the interests of each child and must thoroughly know the entire curriculum. With this knowledge, the teacher is able to match materials to the child when the child needs help in making the match.
Description of Montessori Curriculum in Helena Public Schools
The Montessori curriculum has been found to be compatible with School District #1 curriculums for all applicable grades and subjects. It is in compliance with Montana Curriculum standards.
Program goals are specific to the curriculum as they are presented to the Montessori-trained teachers by American Montessori Society (AMS), American Montessori Institute (AMI), and Pan American Montessori (PanAM) training centers. These goals are reflected in the numerous materials prepared by teachers with parental assistance.
Description of the Montessori Curriculum
The curriculum reflects the course content as presented to the teacher trainees by the American Montessori Society (AMS).
The following is intended as a general guide to the development of the curriculum of the Montessori program. Specific curriculum plans for the school year are prepared by the Montessori professional staff.