About New York City Montessori Charter School (NYCMCS)
Chances are, you’re visiting this site because you’re aware of the renowned Montessori approach to education – but you’re intrigued that this bold and famously successful approach is now available in a public school setting.
Yes, the Montessori teaching methods are finally available in a New York public school – but this public school environment is unlike anything you or your child has ever experienced. The Montessori differences are striking, you can explore them here:
A brief history
Dr. Maria Montessori started her career as an educator in 1904 in what would today be considered a special education setting. Montessori was one of the first women to receive a medical degree in Italy, and was assigned to work in an asylum for “defective” children. Her observations of children with disabilities led her to develop a unique approach applicable to all types of children, and a teacher-training program, that have gained world acceptance over the past century.
Classrooms with no desks?
The Montessori model is NOT based on one teacher in front of 20+ students. Our classrooms are uncluttered, simple and divided into specific learning areas – sensory, hands-on, experiential learning areas that allow for an entirely new level of discovery for a child. You’ll also notice that every Montessori classroom features TWO teachers – for greater individualized attention and instruction.
“Where are the familiar school bells?”
Parents immediately notice the absence of ringing bells at Montessori. The rigor of Montessori is in the work, based expressly on each child’s own level of development – not in adhering to old-school models designed for a “mass produced” education. Here, it’s about hands-on learning.
Peer learning is powerful. Following a child’s natural tendency to mentor a less experienced peer, Montessori promotes interaction between age groups. Watching a third-grader gently guide a second-grader through a problem-solving exercise is very moving – and the epitome of the Montessori policy of “peaceful, respectful, mindful learning.” Mixed age classrooms give older children the opportunity to develop their skills as leaders and to consolidate their learning by having to explain it.
Why the Bronx?
We chose the Bronx because we firmly believe that an education that caters to individual differences is an excellent option for children in typically under-performing areas. Montessori is an encouraging, positive force for children in this neighborhood.
Not a term you’re likely to hear in a typical public school, “peace curriculum” encompasses an intentional tone of voice – for both teacher and student. It promotes respect for others and their work, conflict resolution through open-minded discussion, as well as awareness of the community and a child’s place in it. In addition to academic lessons, Montessori also firmly believes in imparting life lessons.
What does art have to do with math, language or science?
At Montessori, the connection is clear. Students learn to appreciate the beauty of a handmade papier-mâché mask, as well as the artistry of a well-constructed sentence or math solution. It’s not about memorizing dates, facts and figures – it’s about understanding how to think, how to explore freely, and how to collaborate with others to solve problems.
Concrete materials to represent the abstract.
“The way to the brain is through the hands” is an important Montessori tenet. This is proven by research, which shows that a child must interact with real objects, have time to investigate and test ideas, and discuss those ideas with others in order to build effective mental connections. The Montessori approach uses a wide range of specially-designed concrete materials that represent abstract concepts, particularly in math and language arts. This physical modeling ensures more accurate mental representations – making learning that much more potent.
What about testing?
As flexible, fluid and unique as the Montessori approach is, we never lose sight of the need for proper testing. Rest assured, NYCMCS fulfills the academic achievement goals of the Common Core and New York State Learning Standards. Compliance with these standards is a key component of the education offered in the NYCMCS.
The success of a Montessori education, in the United States and worldwide, has been well documented: children from Montessori schools have demonstrated superior outcomes in their education, with better performance on standardized tests, more positive social interactions, more advanced social cognition and executive control. They are also more concerned about fairness and justice, more creative in their writing, and have a more positive sense of community in their schools.