News from the Montessori Academy of Chicago


Reading and Writing the Montessori Way

October 3, 2016

Successful early literacy consists of development in listening comprehension, print knowledge, environmental print, alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness, phonological short-term memory, rapid naming, visual memory and visual perceptual skills. These skills do not need to be taught separate of each other but rather integrated in oral language, knowledge of print and alphabet knowledge. The Montessori approach encompasses it all.
Maria Montessori believed language acquisition began with the development of Spoken and Written language as pre-cursors to Reading. In the stages of early literacy children who are exposed to pre-reading and writing are building a solid foundation for reading and writing. The Montessori Primary environments prepare the child for reading the first year they enter the classrooms. The Montessori Method prepares the child for learning to read to reading to learn through indirect and direction preparations starting in the practical life and sensorial training. First year Primary children are immersed in the dynamics of their own language development while Second and Third Year Primary students learn to understand that sounds make words through exposure to phonics. Other materials follow which present the intricacies of non-phonetic spelling and grammar.
The Montessori approach provides a carefully thought-out program to facilitate this process. All of these steps set the foundation for reading to learn; which is an essential part of the learning process in the Elementary classrooms. Please join Primary and Elementary teachers on October 13th from 5:30-7:00 as we reveal the unique steps to the process of reading the Montessori Way!


Sensitive Periods

June 10, 2016

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that young children go through a number of different intensely-focused periods of learning and concentration. These periods are what we now call the “sensitive periods.” Brain research from Stanford University Neurobiologist Eric Knudsen echoes Dr. Montessori’s findings, stating “When the effect of experience on the brain is particularly strong during a limited period in development, this period is referred to as a sensitive period. Such periods allow experience to instruct neural circuits to process or represent information in a way that is adaptive for the individual” (Knudsen, 1412). The brain actually uses the information learned during a sensitive period to hard wire brain circuitry. These strong connections between the experience a child has and new brain function help build a positive “stability landscape”, leading to more efficient information processing capabilities. These brain connections must be used repeatedly to form and grow properly, leading to the repetition and concentration we see in the child experiencing a sensitive period.  Read More


Extracurricular Activities at the Academy

March 14, 2016

Montessori Academy of Chicago students enjoy an array of after school extracurricular activities. These classes are scheduled at times that are convenient for families and optimal for student development. We also partner with North Shore Pediatric Therapy to offer small group activities centered around emotional awareness, fine motor control, and sensorial exploration. See below for some of the extracurriculars our Primary and Elementary students experience!  Read More


Cosmic Education

January 4, 2016

The sole purpose of Cosmic Education is to help the child realize his place within the whole. The Cosmic Curriculum, which is the foundation of all learning in the elementary classroom, is designed to arouse a child’s curiosity in the world around him. The child at the elementary age is full of wonder and questions about the world. The core of the Cosmic Curriculum lies in the Great Lessons – five dramatic presentations that spark the imagination, inspire a passion for learning, and anchor the work in other areas, serving as a starting point for further study and research.

These five Great Lessons each have a theme that answers big picture questions that the child is interested in and help them determine the cosmic task of everything on Earth. These lessons can be thought of as one continual story about the creation of the universe through current time. The lessons are given in order to show how the universe prepared for life as we know it. The Five Great Lessons are The Story of the Universe, The Story of Life, The Coming of Man, The Story of Language, and The Story of Numbers. (For more information, see the Cosmic Chronicle Newsletter for a link to a PowerPoint presentation about the Great Lessons.) Read More


Grace and Courtesy

November 19, 2015

The lessons in Grace and Courtesy play an important part role in the Montessori Method. Not only are these lessons presented and learned in a Montessori classroom, they are also carried on to include courtesy to those outside our immediate community through community service. Maria Montessori believed that it is the duty of every person to work toward and be part of something great, which not only serves individual interests, but also those of all humanity. For children to understand this, they need to be nurtured in the ways of grace, courtesy, and service, in the hopes of letting these flourish and grow throughout their lives. Read More


Start of the School Year

September 3, 2015

At the start of the school year, teachers focus on presenting new lessons in practical life, which is the core area of the Montessori curriculum. This is the area where children first develop concentration, coordination, order, self-confidence, independence, and a sense of responsibility. These skills are the foundation for the child’s continuing exploration of his environment. The skill he gains from doing these activities prepares him for all future learning. Read More

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