Casa Montessori & Orff Elementary School – Grades 1-6
Albert Einstein – “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”
If your dreams include a child who really loves school, is an independent and creative thinker, and who thinks and cares about others, then you are certainly doing the right thing by giving your child the gift of a Montessori education.
In 1991, five Winnipeg Montessori teachers conceived the unique idea of merging the Montessori principles of education with the Orff method of teaching music. Their vision, in the spirit of both Maria Montessori and Carl Orff’s philosophies, was to create an environment that would touch the imagination of the child and stimulate learning in a creative and independent environment. And so began the journey of Casa Montessori and Orff School from a Pre-School Program for 2-6 year olds, to the addition in 2008 of a unique Elementary Montessori Program in Winnipeg.
The Elementary Program is highly enriched and challenging. Children have the opportunity to learn absolutely amazing things in an independent and creative environment. There are three main components in the Program:
The first is the Mastery of Fundamental Skills and acquisition of basic knowledge found in a traditional curriculum including Math, Language, Geography, Botany, Zoology, History, Art,
Geometry, Physics, Chemistry, French and Music.
The Great Stories are the second component. They are presented as inspiring stories and include the story of how the world began, the development of plant and animal life on earth, the story of humankind, and the history of language, math and technology. They are intended to give children a perspective of the earth we live in and humanity’s place within the universe.
The third component is Individually Chosen Research. Students gather information, assemble projects, and share what they have learnt with their fellow classmates. Their oral presentation and written research reports grow in sophistication and complexity over the years.
The social life of the Montessori Elementary child is defined by the fact that students don’t sit at desks all day long. They work together most of the time. Parents are also very involved as partners and come in to teach special lessons or take small groups out into the community for field trips.
As with the Toddler and Early Childhood programs, the Montessori materials are a means to an end. They are intended to invoke imagination, to aid abstraction and to generate a worldview about the human task and purpose. At six, there is a great transformation in the child, like a new birth. They have left the primary classroom and are now ready to ask questions about society, about the world and about the universe. While the younger child seeks comfort , the older child is now eager to encounter challenges. Learning continues to be a hands-on experience and the Montessori materials that were used in the Pre-School classrooms are used in an even more sophisticated manner.
This article is written with the help of Tim Seldin of the Montessori Foundation.