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Montessori Elementary Education in Denver with MCHD [Video]

Montessori Elementary Education in Denver

(Transcript)
Amie Miller-Hubach (Elementary Curriculum Coordinator): They’re at an age where they want to know, they want to know, beyond their family and their classroom, they really want to know what the world is all about.

In the Montessori classroom, they’re really able to ask those big questions and not only get answers from teachers and friends, but also find answers on their own. And that’s really what elementary and Montessori is all about.

Michelle Peck Anthony (Campus Director, Stapleton): In the Lower Elementary classroom we have a combined group of first, second and third-grade aged children.

Rachel Averch (Founder, President): One of the things I love about Montessori elementary is that it honors the social. When you’re six, seven, eight-years-old, it’s no longer about your teachers and what they think, it’s really about your friends. We want to work with that natural stage of development. They do projects together. We want them to help each other, we want them to be engaged in their learning together in a social way.

Chris Herter (Elementary Teacher, Stapleton): A normal day in our classroom starts with our community meeting, and then the students will get to work.

Michelle Peck Anthony: Being an authentic Montessori program here at MCHD, our elementary classrooms participate in an uninterrupted work cycle, ideally a three-hour block of time where the children have the opportunity to receive presentations or lessons, either one-on-one in small group or large group, with their teacher.

Chris Herter: At the beginning of our work cycle students will take out their work plan for the day and make sure that they’re having a well-balanced academic diet.

Michelle Peck Anthony: One of the facets of Montessori education is a concept that we know as “freedom within limits,” so our children are given freedom to explore within the confines of what’s safe, what’s respectful.

Amie Miller-Hubach: It’s amazing to me to look around during the work cycle and see how joyful these children are while they’re learning. They’re engaged, they’re relaxed, they’re happy.

Michelle Peck Anthony: The Montessori environment is perfect for a gifted child because there isn’t that limit of “oh, we’re only working on that concept for this month.”

Amie Miller-Hubach: Students are able to move freely around the classroom, they have a sense of ownership of their environment and their community, and that really meets a need that they have at that age to feel valued and respected. They’re also really looking at some really big concepts.

Rachel Averch: So this is the long bead chain. They’re doing skip counting, they’re counting by tens, all the way up to a thousand.

Student: But there’s a pattern it goes in, the tens go up and the units go down.

Rachel Averch: So this is not typical math material you’d see in a traditional classroom, this is a Montessori math material that’s been developed specifically so that children can touch and experience the size of what a thousand represents. When we’re learning it helps to have concrete concepts before we move into abstraction.

Amie Miller-Hubach: I think that MCHD is an amazing example of true Montessori in action. We recently added onto our classroom space in the elementary and upper elementary classrooms, extending our outdoor space, on building new patios for the students to do their outdoor work.

Chris Herter: I love my job. I tell people all the time that it’s my dream job. And, as a teacher, there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing a student get really excited about a lesson that you just taught them and taking off with it and hearing from their parents they went home and worked on it that whole night and then came in the next morning to show you what they did while they were at home and asking what’s next in the lesson.

Amie Miller-Hubach: One way that elementary students have been described is as “joyful scholars” and I think that that’s a really true representation of what Montessori elementary can be for students.

Chris Herter: I’m also a parent in this community, and I think if I weren’t a teacher here, the community atmosphere at MCHD would be just as much of a draw for me. As a parent, I’m excited to send my child to school here every day.

Amie Miller-Hubach: Maria Montessori believed in the infinite potential of the child. MCHD really embodies those values and beliefs. Not only are these children changing lives now, but they are going to change the world and they’re building the tools right now to do that.


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