Programs

Toddlers

The Montessori Toddler environment is an inviting space designed to offer Toddlers the independence they deeply crave. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that independence is a crucial aspect of a young child's identity and self worth. It is through this independence that they develop self-esteem and dignity. What she found was that this need was wholly unrecognized and unaddressed. Still today, this need is much ignored by many educational institutions and educational methodologies.

Toddler

Independence is a central theme in every environment at Miami Jewish Montessori, particularly the with our Toddlers. It is this independence that prepares the child for later learning in their preschool and elementary years.

The Toddler classroom is essentially a child's home away from home, and it is decorated and designed in that fashion. The room is divided into various subject areas. A child will find the shelves in the classroom lined with a multitude of materials designed to isolate specific skills for the child to develop. The child begins to acquire a sense of ownership for the room and everything inside it and consequently learns to love and respect. The shelves are adorned with plants for the children to care for, as well as family photos for each student. Since these classroom decorations convey a feeling of home they give the child a sense of comfort which helps the child establish trust and create secondary attachments to the teachers.

Children in the toddler environment begin their education through collaboration with their teachers. As the child's independence grows, that collaboration decreases until ultimately the child is working independently on a lesson. Unlike in the Primary and Elementary environments, Teachers in the Toddler classroom play a more centralized role in the classroom. Toddlers create deep connections with their teachers and learn that in this space they are respected and understood by the adults around them. This trust builds as they continue to work together and provides feelings of safety for the child. Because Montessori environments are mixed ages, often children will have the same teacher for several years which gives both the child and the teacher ample time to explore and deepen their connection.

Through Scientific study, Dr. Maria Montessori discovered that children, particularly during infancy and toddler years, express an inner need and desire for order. Order provides the Toddler with security and gives them a point of reference. They begin to learn where they can locate things they need which allows them to feel more at home and comfortable in their space. Although toddlers cannot maintain the order around them, they crave it. While in the environment the child will learn good habits for maintaining order, and will gradually begin to put things back. The ability to complete a work cycle, taking out a lesson, using it properly, and returning it back to the shelf, is one of the signs that a toddler is ready to transition into Primary.

Toddlers are more or less known for their "Terrible Two's" and tend to have a bad reputation for being egotistical, difficult to discipline, headstrong, and hard to manage. While all of the above is true, Dr. Montessori discovered that these behaviors were not purely acts of defiance, rather a response to a very active, very demanding life force in the child. She called this life force the Horme. The Horme is what propels a child forward. It activates, within the child, the curiosity and drive towards growth. It is often difficult for adults to pause and realize that it is the job of the child to actualize his/her potential, and it is the Horme which pushes them to do that. This discovery radically shifted how toddlers were perceived in the Montessori environment and led Dr. Montessori to educate teachers to observe what a child's Horme was pushing him/her to do, and then to ask them to do it. Rather than attempting to oppose this will, we look to channel it.

Primary

The Montessori primary classroom has the coziness and warmth of a "living room" and the academic materials to build lifelong skills. Children choose their work from among self-correcting materials that are displayed on open shelves in specific work areas. Over a period of time, the children develop tremendous ability to focus with high concentration and with few interruptions. This takes place within the context of a warm and supportive community.

Primary kid

Normalization is the process whereby a child moves from being undisciplined to self-disciplined, from disordered to ordered, from distracted to focused all through work done in the classroom environment. The process occurs through repeated work with meaningful materials that captivate the child's attention. For some children this inner change may take place quite suddenly, leading to that deep concentration. In the Montessori primary community, academic competency is a means to an end, and the manipulatives are viewed as "materials for development.”

In our primary program, five distinct areas constitute our prepared environment:

  • Practical Life:

    This area enhances the development of task organization and cognitive order. Through care of self, care of the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy, and coordination of physical movement, each child grows at their own pace.

  • The Sensorial Area:

    This work area enables the child to order, classify, and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, temperature, mass, color, pitch, etc.

  • Mathematics makes use of manipulative materials to enable the child to internalize concepts of number, symbol, sequence, operations, and memorization of basic facts.

  • Language Arts:

    This area includes oral language development, written expression, reading, the study of grammar, creative dramatics, and children's literature. Basic skills in writing and reading are developed through the use of sandpaper letters, movable alphabet, and various presentations. These all allow each child to link sounds and letter symbols effortlessly and to express their thoughts through writing.

  • Cultural:

    Our activities expose the child to basics in geography, history, life sciences, music, art, and movement education.

Judaics and Hebrew Language: This area includes Hebrew oral language development, written expression, and reading. Students also begin foundational work in translating biblical Hebrew into English. Throughout the year, the students study the various Jewish holiday through play, art, song, cooking, and experience. Students learn the history of the Jewish holidays as well as the timeline of Jewish History.

Enrolling your child in Miami Jewish Montessori's Primary Program has many benefits. Here are just a few for you to consider:

  • An early and well laid general foundation A positive attitude towards learning Inner security and a sense of order
  • Pride in the physical environment Abiding curiosity
  • A habit of concentration
  • Habits of initiative and persistence
  • The ability to make decisions
  • Self-discipline
  • A sense of responsibility to other members of the class, school, and community.

Elementary

The Jeremy Garvett Lower Elementary Program provides outstanding academic education while helping each student understand and develop into the true person that they were created to be. Through engagement in meaningful activities, with the proper balance of autonomy and guidance, each child learns at their own pace within small group and individual settings. Daily lessons focus on skill-building with attention on the learning process.

Elemntary kids

Consistent with current research, we provide multi-sensory learning experiences within each classroom. Through our Model, Coach, and Assess (MCA) format, each student is hands-on with any given lesson – making the skill a part of themselves. This helps the child appreciate the learning and be motivated to understand; owning their learning. This process allows the more gifted child to not be slowed down by his/her peers, and for a child that requires additional attention to not “fall through the cracks”, feel denigrated and chas v'shalom, lose self-esteem in the process.

Additionally, our Lower Elementary program provides a platform for students to develop a work ethic, a goal directed approach to learning, a practical practice of middos (character development) and foundational academic skills that will influence their ability to succeed throughout their life. The classroom community and culture promotes ways to resolve conflict, cultivate self-respect, practice kindness to others, and inspire growth.

We combine the successful elements of various curriculum to create continuity within our overall teaching approach. This continuity is seen day to day and throughout each student’s learning career at Miami Jewish Montessorii. Various assessments are made throughout the year to help gauge the individual needs of our students and to ensure these needs are being addressed in the correct manner.

Our Kodesh (Judaic Studies) program is skill centered with students focusing on kria (reading), kasiva (writing), dikduk (grammar), shorashim, and quickly moving into higher level thinking that integrates these skills into Chumash, Rashi and Mishnayos. While academically challenging, this and all of our programs are intended to ignite that spark within each of us. The spark that, at each person’s essence, contains Ahavas Hashem (Love of G-d), Yiras Hashem (Fear of G-d) and a longing to have a true and meaningful relationship with G-d. While our Kodesh program focusses on G-d’s “word”, our general studies focus on G-d’s “world.” With special captivating lessons used to instill Torah insights, our general studies program show the wonder, depth, and importance of a strong, foundational, skill-based, and well-rounded education.