At The Waseca School we are invested in creating respectful relationships among teachers, administrative staff, parents, and children. We appreciate and celebrate diversity and recognize how we as a school benefit from the array of cultural backgrounds and traditions that families and staff members bring to our community. We work to provide an inclusive environment and do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, handicap, or sexual orientation. Our approach to education is based on the philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, the first Italian female physician who founded the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907. Dr. Montessori believed that the goal of the educational process was to cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn. Dr. Montessori observed that all children have the same basic needs:
● The need for order – to organize, classify and interpret reality
● The need for independence – the impulse to act personally upon and within reality
● The need for social relationships
● The need to experience reality through imagination
The Lead Guide carefully prepares the classroom environment and directs the activity of the classroom, but it is the child who learns. Dr. Montessori observed that children are motivated through the work itself, and that children, like adults, learn best by doing rather than being filled with facts. Concentration, determination, and purpose established in early childhood lead to confident, successful learning later in life. At The Waseca School, children learn how to observe, think, and evaluate and experience the joy of learning. The Montessori approach is not a tweaking of traditional models of education, it is a completely different way of learning and teaching designed to prepare children for success in an increasingly complex world.
The term “Montessori” implies both philosophy and a method of education philosophy based on the research of Dr. Maria Montessori – an Italian physician and educator. At its heart, the Montessori method emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and a respect for the child. Classroom spaces are purposefully designed and materials carefully curated in pursuit of an education partnership. Multi-aged classrooms provide benefits that are readily apparent when visiting the classroom.
Younger children in the classroom have an opportunity to observe and imitate the older students as they work. Older students have an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by explaining what they are doing and assisting and mentoring younger children. Each child can learn and develop at his own pace within a classroom that accommodates many levels of ability and complexity.
The head teachers are referred to as Lead Guides. The experience and training of a Montessori guide is integral to the Montessori method. All of The Waseca School’s Lead Guides have completed Montessori teacher training. Our guides use both concrete teaching materials and a well-defined innovative curriculum tailored to the child, which supports each individual’s developmental needs from Infancy through Elementary.