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What is the Montessori Schooling Method?

How Montessori Schools Differ from Others in Chevy Chase, MD

The Montessori schooling method is a child-centered, evidence-based approach to education developed by Italian physician and reformer Maria Montessori (b. 1870-d. 1952). Today, Montessori school instructors continue her tradition of tailoring educational methods to human development and incorporating the latest in brain science into educational models for students. At Oneness-Family School, Montessori school ideologies are realized through the following approaches.

  • Students are encouraged to follow their natural passion for learning by exploring their own individual interests, allowing them to drive their educational careers.
  • Teachers meet students' cognitive, social, and emotional needs where they are, creating developmentally-appropriate approaches that foster individual student growth.
  • Learning concepts are holistically connected to "big picture" perspectives through the use of an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum across all subject areas that helps children find their voice and place in the world.
  • Multi-age group classrooms allow students to collaboratively and respectfully learn from each other, gaining essential social skills.
  • Students learn at their own pace with individualized learning plans, fully demonstrating mastery of each topic or skill before moving on to the next. Teachers make sure that students completely understand and grasp learned concepts as well as their application outside the classroom.
  • Students help shape their own classroom environment, and student engagement and initiative is encouraged.
  • Teachers strongly emphasize the importance of cultivating community and getting involved in the world outside of the classroom. Our students work within our community and beyond and gain a critical perspective on important social concepts.

What does Montessori look like at Oneness-Family School?

    Maria Montessori called this "the age of the Absorbent Mind." Colorful, age-appropriate Montessori materials encourage and inspire curiosity, imagination, and learning in the eager minds of students ages two to six. Language- and movement-rich activities nourish their rapid vocabulary development and strengthen motor skills and coordination. A growing body of research affirms Dr. Montessori's observation that a student's ability to focus is the foundation of all other successful learning. Our Preschool-K students have the freedom to become absorbed for long periods in a single activity. They can also return to and repeat certain activities of choice until they attain mastery of the skill. Montessori school classrooms are designed to allow uninterrupted work cycles, so children develop strong attention skills.
    Elementary students learn better in highly resourced, multi-age classrooms grouping students of different ages together. Students in grades 1-3 and 4-5 progress from concrete to abstract learning, using hands-on materials and technology to build lasting layers of increasingly sophisticated knowledge. Our cross-curricular Montessori school combines math, science, reading, writing, expressive art, foreign languages, yoga, and athletics with social and emotional learning. In language arts and math, elementary students work in groups according to ability level, regardless of age or grade, and are assessed regularly for both academic progress and social-emotional development. Each student keeps a portfolio of their best work. The students also take part in regular self-assessments and peer assessments throughout the Montessori school year. All are encouraged to express their unique personalities through art, music, and movement. Our ratio of teachers to students is high, ensuring that individual academic, social and emotional needs are met throughout the school year.
    In the Middle School years, we tie abstract concepts together with the information learned across subjects. We equip students with the ability to develop systematic and strategic, big-picture thinking skills. Our Middle School students move through themed cycles, exploring concepts through the lens of disciplines including literature, science, and social studies. Students plan and organize their work in consultation with their teachers, helping them establish focused attention, time management, and other organizational skills. Working collaboratively on group projects, students learn to lead and be accountable on a team, share responsibility, and gather input toward a common goal. Montessori schools keep students internally motivated and empowered to learn at their desired amount and speed. Our eighth graders enter High School at an elevated level in math, science, English, and foreign language. They also possess an understanding of the meaningful use of what they've learned outside of the traditional studies. They know how to synthesize information and experiences to become more holistic humans.
    The Oneness-Family Montessori High School is a student-led, experiential approach to our curriculum. We optimize what the student learned in our Elementary and Middle School programs and apply it to 21st-century high school needs. We focus on communication, collaboration, organization, critical and creative thinking, information literacy, citizenship, and ethics through college prep courses in math and science, English and literature, foreign languages, history, technology, and a flexible athletics program. Our approach moves away from standardization and toward individual learning. Our Montessori High School students explore topics which spark their interest and imagination. They build positive relationships with supportive instructors and mentors, meet and collaborate with like-minded peers, and learn how to become the driver of their learning process.

Contact us today to schedule a tour of our school!


John Volpe Alumni Story