Our Philosophies and Principles
Although the environments, structure, materials, staff, and curriculum differ according to the program and the age of the child – all of the programs at Richland Academy share common views of the child, classroom environment, and teacher.
“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”
– Maria Montessori
The children are…
- The constructors of their own knowledge and an active participant in their individual learning experience.
- Capable of making choices within a carefully designed environment.
- Possessing of sensitive periods and following universal, predictable sequences of growth and change during the first 6 years of life.
- Worthy of mutual respect, equal in humanity, if not in development, experience, or education.
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”
The classroom is…
- A carefully “prepared environment” which strives to be harmonious, supportive, child-centered, consistent, and non-competitive.
- An aesthetically pleasing, safe, and clean space where child-initiated, child-directed, teacher supported activity thrives.
- Balancing the developmental needs of each individual child with those of the classroom community as a whole.
- Engaging each child in age-appropriate experiences that enhance intellectual, communicative, perceptual, physical, social, and emotional growth and development.
- Designed to promote authentic learning (the process of making meaning out of experiences and interactions).
- Utilizing hands-on, concrete materials and experiences as the building blocks for the later development of abstract thought.
- Balancing the development of critical thinking strategies and positive dispositions toward learning with the acquisition of specific skills and information.
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
– Maria Montessori
The teacher will…
- Serve as the vital link between the child and the prepared environment.
- Design a prepared environment that is responsive to, and shaped by, the emotional, physical, social, and intellectual needs of each child within the class.
- Remain committed to assisting children in realizing their unique, immense, inner potential.
- Be capable of true respect for the child as the constructor of her own intelligence and character.
- Act as an observer, guide, role model, protector, and resource in the classroom learning community
- Provide authentic, meaning-making experiences for children that draw upon their personal interests and are relevant to their life.
- Offer choices and allow the child to take the natural or logical consequences for both appropriate and inappropriate choices.
- Recognize the parents as the child’s first teachers, fostering communication and collaboration related to their child’s growth and development.