"Francis it was and Lady Poverty,
they are the lovers I have drawn for you.
Their happy countenances, their harmony,
the love, the wonder, and each tender look
instilled, in others, thoughts of sanctity."
Paradiso, Canto XI, 74–78 (tr. Esolen)
The mission of St. Francis Montessori is to educate children in accordance with the teaching and principles of Maria Montessori, upholding the standards of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori program of religious formation, is integral to Montessori education at St. Francis.
At the heart of our work is the task of awakening each child’s natural wonder, from which flows a deep and lasting desire for learning and growth, together with compassion, self-reliance, and other human virtues. In this context, too, we nurture the child’s relationship with God, fostering the religious values of joy and contemplation.
Our guides and assistants prepare an environment that is responsive to the child’s needs at each stage of development. They guide and encourage the development of the whole child—spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, and physical—by teaching the children to work freely and whole-heartedly in the context of a supportive community.
St. Francis Montessori recognizes that the parent is the primary educator of the child, and our Guides and Directress work in frequent consultation with the parents to discuss the growth and development of their child(ren). St. Francis is also deeply committed to providing a community environment among all associated with the program
Finally, we strive to create a strong and joyful school community among our children, staff, families and directors, thus promoting stewardship and a partnership with parents for the benefit of each child.
EDUCATION AS A WAY OF LIFE
When Dr. Maria Montessori developed her method of education in the early 1900s, she looked first and foremost at the child. Rather than holding the external objectives of an education foremost, she used the child’s inner desire to learn along with his/her specific developmental needs and tendencies to guide his growth in knowledge. This internal desire she called the horme, a powerful urge guiding the child to reach his highest potential.
In order to respect this God-given gift in the child, Montessori discerned that the child needed certain freedoms in a specially prepared environment with a trained adult who would observe and guide the child in his education. Moreover, she valued education as a way of life. She believed, like Wordsworth, that the “child is father of the man,” and so the child constructs his/her whole self in his/her tender years. She wanted children to live and work in a space specifically created for them in which they could fully live and fall in love with learning. She called the space the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House.
We at St. Francis Montessori continually strive to wonder with the child in his/her process of self-construction as we aid him/her in growth and development. Guided by our faith and the work of Maria Montessori, we are invited to contemplate the “Inner Teacher” of the child and in turn, we, the adults, are formed in the proper respect and understanding of the dignity of the child. We, with Montessori, follow Christ by looking at the child.