Walking into a classroom at Williamsburg Montessori School is quite different from walking into a classroom in a traditional school setting. There are no desks, the children are moving freely about the room, and there is no teacher standing at the front giving out instructions. While each of our eight classrooms targets the specific needs of the ages that it serves, there are some common elements:
- A mixed-age grouping of children allows younger students to learn from older students and older students to begin practicing empathy and leadership in their interactions with younger students.
- A three-hour work cycle in the morning allows children to work freely and without interruption which, in turn, develops their ability to concentrate. They are able to think through a concept from start to finish. (The ability to do this prevents frustration that accompanies interrupted thought.)
- A variety of work (math, language, science, cultural, art) is going on at the same time.
- Lessons are given to individuals or small groups of children when they are ready.
- Children are encouraged to follow their interests and choose age-appropriate work.
- Children are working together and independently.
- Grace and courtesy are incorporated into the daily fabric of each class, not taught in a “character development class” that meets once a week. The children practice manners with their teachers and with one another.
- Adults use quiet and respectful tones with children.
- Care of the environment is taught and demonstrated throughout the day.