“Enjoy your day learning the Montessori way.”
That’s how the Village School broadcast journalism students sign off from each of their newscasts. Ask them what it means, and they may tell you about the hands-on materials and passion-driven projects, like doing a year-long research project when they are 12-years-old or writing a novel in middle school.
They may praise their supportive teachers with whom they develop a trusting and family-like relationship as they work and learn together for up to three years. You might even hear about being in class with students of different ages, where they collaborate and mentor each other while learning at their own pace.
Ask a Village School teacher what it means, and you may hear about the benefits of using concrete materials, a grace and courtesy based curriculum, prioritized child-led learning, honing practical-life skills, and focusing on process over product education.
Montessori teachers encourage students to make decisions about their learning based on their interests and provide them with tools that empower them to solve problems. This choice amplifies a child’s motivation, strengthening comprehension and retention of concepts, and preparing them for whatever may come their way, in both school and in life.
Ask a Village School parent about “the Montessori way” and they’d likely tell you about how happy their child is and how they can’t wait to go to school each day.
“We love the way the school educates the whole child and the level of sensitivity and respect that is shown to all. We are so very thankful to be part of the community and could not recommend the school any more highly. I encourage all prospective families to check it out, regardless of whether you are familiar with or new to the wonderful Montessori curriculum!” - Village School Parent
The Montessori way is made for transitions like this.
When schools were closed across the state last March, some may have wondered how a method that values hands-on learning and physical materials would translate to a virtual environment. Village School families, however, were confident in knowing that Montessori is based on scientific research that says children learn best when they are able to be independent and discover concepts, rather than focusing on extrinsic rewards.
Without the pressure of grades or tests in their early education (Village School students begin them as practical life skills in middle school), students are free to take risks and be open to learning in new ways.
Montessori children readily adapt to new scenarios because their education is based on self-direction in an environment that encourages and supports active engagement in learning. Morning meetings allow students to bring up issues and make suggestions. Students want to know the hows and whys when new topics are presented, and are partners with teachers when deep-diving into a subject, not for extra credit, but simply because they want to know more. A strong conflict-resolution curriculum and programs like Model UN encourage children to think critically and develop unique solutions to real world problems.
From toddler through middle school, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to education at The Village School. Teachers follow the child by providing individual curriculums that are “just right” for each and every student. We know that being encouraged to learn what you love leads to a love of learning. With growing confidence, students share their expertise and readily collaborate with others. Working together, Village School students are leading the way to the future. After all, intrinsic motivation and discovery-based learning is “the Montessori way.”
“As we navigate through this crazy year and we overcome together every challenge this pandemic has presented us with, I am grateful for being part of The Village School family.” -- Village School parent
Where many saw obstacles, The Village School found opportunities.
Dedicated to nurturing life-long learning, the Montessori-certified Village School teachers are passionate, self-directed learners themselves, who are eager to learn and create new ways to engage their students. They are masters at preparing environments -- carefully and beautifully curating spaces where children can use all of their senses to discover a wide variety of learning opportunities.
In a Montessori physical classroom, everything is set up thoughtfully and with the aim of students experiencing independence and success. Shelves are child-height, and materials are arranged in a specific order, with a flow that naturally leads children from simple to complex concepts.
When the school transitioned to remote learning last spring, Village School teachers eagerly rose to the challenge and saw opportunities to thoughtfully prepare their new virtual classrooms. Because Montessori work and activities are often constructed with common items, teachers were able to collaborate with parents to use things around the home to recreate items that they would normally use in the classroom. Montessori lessons are very visual, so recorded versions of lessons also translated well to the screen.
This school year, there is a mix of in-person and at-home learners. The small class sizes are organized for intimate and engaging sessions. Primary, kindergarten, and lower elementary programs have teachers dedicated specifically to remote-learning students. Older remote students enjoy the live streaming of lessons with their in-person peers during the day on their new school-issued tablets and laptops.
Specialist teachers come to all students virtually each week with live art, music, Spanish, technology, and physical education classes that are engaging and fun. On-screen lessons are supported with take home kits stocked with all physical tools and materials needed for hands-on learning -- even microscopes for biology students.
At The Village School, all students, regardless of location, are able to comfortably connect with their teachers, classmates, and community every day. Care is taken to balance the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs with off-screen activities, one-on-one meetings with students, and time to connect with peers. It’s common to see mindfulness and yoga being practiced on a regular basis.
Village School teachers are prepared. Students are engaged. The transitions between in-person and remote learning are smooth, with no days lost and a continuity of curriculum.
These are uncertain times. One thing that is certain, though, is that The Village School, as always, will continue to innovate and adapt in order to offer the highest caliber of Montessori education not only in Bergen County, but in the state of New Jersey. That’s the Montessori way. And the Village School difference.
Offering a whole-child approach to learning, The Village School in Waldwick, NJ is a triple- accredited, authentic Montessori school that serves students ages 18 months through the 8th grade in a supportive, inclusive, and academically-challenging environment.
The Village School
100 West Prospect Street Waldwick, NJ 07463 201-445-6160