From preschool to high school the Montessori way
The goal of the Montessori method is to develop a child’s senses, character, practical life skills, and academic ability. Founded by paediatrician and psychiatrist Maria Montessori in 1907, the Montessori approach emphasises nature, creativity, and hands-on learning with gentle guidance provided by the teachers. Children learn about other cultures, animals, and plants in addition to reading, language, and mathematical skills.
Teachers or “guides”, as they are called, take their lead from each child, allowing children to learn at their own pace. Montessori programs encourage a child’s sense of independence and expect a high degree of parent involvement.
The Montessori curriculum focuses on five areas: Practical life, sensory awareness education, language arts, mathematics and cultural subjects (geography, zoology, time, history, music, movement, science, and art). All the disciplines tie together in complementary ways.
Toys and other developmentally appropriate learning materials are laid out in the classroom so a child can see what their choices are and then pick a task — called “work” — according to their interests. Work options include books, puzzle games, art projects, toys that test spatial relations, and more. When they’re done, children put their work back on the shelves and move on to something else. The daily schedule allows time for children to play alone and in groups.
Guides work with children as a group and one-on-one, but most of the interaction is among the children. In a Montessori school, teachers aren’t the only instructors. Older kids often help younger ones learn how to master new skills. That’s why each class has mixed ages. Casa classes (a term often used in Montessori education, otherwise known as pre-school classes) are for children aged 3 to 6.
Take a look through our helpful guide to schools that teach the Montessori curriculum. Click through the slideshow to find out more.
Since 2010, Discovery Montessori Schools (DMS) has been a popular choice for families after a multi-cultural, inquiry-based, child-centred education. It has three beautiful campuses: two DMS Preschools (at Central and Discovery Bay) which offer an International Montessori Education to children aged 1 to 6-years-old. DMA Primary School (DB) offers an International Curriculum that combines the IB PYP Program and Montessori Elementary Education to children aged 6 to 12-years-old.
At DMS, teachers and parents work together to help children develop to their fullest potential. This nurturing atmosphere, coupled with the Montessori Method and bilingual learning, creates a dynamic environment where children love to learn, at their own pace. The classroom flourishes, under the guidance of both English Montessori and Chinese teachers. At DMA, elementary students continue working on their individual lesson plans, as well as socialising with and mentoring younger classmates. As little teachers in the classroom, they take pride and build leadership on top of their consolidated knowledge. If you’re interested to learn more, the school invites you to get in touch with any questions you may have and is happy to pencil you in for a school tour.
DMS Primary School, Block 1, Discovery Bay North, Hong Kong, 2812 9668
DMS (Pre Primary), Unit 101, 1/F, Discovery Bay North, Hong Kong, 2987 1201
DMS (Pre- Primary), 3/F Mandarin Building, 35-43 Bonham Strand, Central, HK, 2850 8006, [email protected], www.facebook.com/discoverymontessorihk
Established in 2002, the International Montessori School (IMS) supports students from toddler to elementary years through their authentic Montessori dual-language curriculum. With multiple campuses on Hong Kong Island (catering to different ages), and as the only accredited elementary Montessori school in greater China, IMS provides an inclusive education where the individual potential of each child is valued and nurtured. Each class has two teachers, at least one of which is Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) trained and the other a native Mandarin speaker.
Executive functions (the core skills that your little ones need to develop into the most proficient and well-rounded adults) are a key area of focus for the team. Integral to your child’s developmental journey, they include the ability to concentrate, a love of work, self-discipline and positive social behaviour. The good news is your child can not only develop, but also enhance these skills through the authentic, bilingual, Montessori environment of IMS.
International Montessori School Hong Kong, 2772 2468, [email protected]
Stanley Campus, Phase III, Ma Hang Estate, Stanley, Hong Kong, 2566 7196,[email protected];
South Horizons Campus, G/F, Blocks 23 to 23A, South Horizons, Phase III, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, 2861 0339, [email protected];
Mid-Levels Campus, Mezzanine Entrance, Tung Fai Gardens, 17 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2857 7007, [email protected];
Aldrich Bay Campus, G/F, i-UniQ Grand, 155 Shau Kei Wan Road, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong, 2156 9033, [email protected]; www.ims.edu.hk
Sai Kung Montessori (SKM) is located in beautiful Sai Kung Town. Surrounded by nature and wildlife the school provides a bilingual Casa Dei Bambini program to children aged 2.5-6 years. SKM’s learning environment extends beyond the classroom into the natural world and the surrounding community to foster a true sense of interconnectedness and global citizenship within its students. The school is owned and operated by an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) accredited teacher and strictly adheres to the Montessori pedagogy.
With 9 schools across 8 locations on Hong Kong Island, The Woodland Group have been offering the HK community a choice of ‘traditional’ and Montessori teaching methods since 1978. Woodland Montessori Academy in Mid-Levels and Repulse Bay Montessori offer Montessori teaching methods that are fully approved. The schools were re-accredited for a further four years by the Montessori Evaluation & Accreditation Board. The schools are the only group of Pre-schools to be accredited in the Greater China region.
Island Children’s Montessori, founded in 2010 has four campuses on Hong Kong Island offering Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) recognised programmes for children aged 18 months to six years, as well as playgroups for toddlers aged 16-36 months. Providing a skilled Montessori trained teaching team, children are encouraged to learn at their own pace and develop social skills, positive work habits, confidence and independence.
Island Children’s Montessori International Nursery and Kindergarten (main campus), Units B & C, LG/F and UG/F, 16 Tin Hau Temple Road, Tin Hau; various locations, 3427 9100, [email protected], www.icms.edu.hk
Montessori for Children in Hong Kong is part of a group of schools offering a genuine Montessori education, with schools also in Singapore and Canada. Operating since 1986, the School offers Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) recognised classes for children aged 2.5 to 6 years old. Students at Montessori for Children remain in the same class throughout their time spent in the school. English is the medium of instruction with Putonghua as an additional language.
Infinity Montessori School, located in Kowloon Tong provides trilingual Montessori programmes for children aged one to six years, as well as short courses for children aged six to twelve months. Affiliated with the Hong Kong Montessori Research and Development Association (HKMRDA), and Infinity Children’s World, there is a heavy emphasis placed on educating the parents on Montessori methodology in order for them to implement similar strategies at home.
Located in Happy Valley, Oaktree Montessori Chinese Education is a Mandarin-speaking only Montessori school. With its full immersion Mandarin curriculum, it offers Montessori learning for children aged 12 months to 6 years. Teachers aim at providing tailor-made learning plans according to children’s needs and interests. Apart from day-to-day dialogue and vocabulary skills, students at Oaktree can become bookworms by learning to read and write their own stories.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 12 September, 2017, by Ruth Benny, and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Brought to you in partnership with Discovery Montessori School and International Montessori School. Featured Image courtesy of Getty Image #1 courtesy of Discovery Montessori School, Image #2 courtesy of International Montessori School, Image #3 courtesy of Sai Kung Montessori via Facebook, #4 courtesy of Woodland Group of Pre-Schools via Instagram, #5 courtesy of Island Children’s Montessori International Nursery and Kindergarten, #6 courtesy of Montessori for Children via Facebook, #7 courtesy of Infinity Montessori School via Facebook, #8 courtesy of Oaktree Montessori Chinese Education.