Philosophy

At White Bird, we work with you and your child to provide the best care and learning environment for their very important formative years.  Offering the best in care for your young person, based on the Montessori principle of respect for the child and aid in the child's development. The staff is experienced, knowledgeable, loving and eager to share in the joy of the child's development. 

 

Dr. Montessori

Maria Montessori was a medical doctor and a pioneer educator who was born in Italy in 1870.  Montessori refused to impose arbitrary tasks on children.  Instead, she showed them ways to develop their own skills at their own pace, a principle she called "spontaneous self-development."  Montessori made a breakthrough in the education of children when she realized that the way to teach a skill is not to have a child try something over and over, but to prepare the child to learn skills by teaching them the movements and actions necessary to perform them.  Dr. Montessori implemented the use of the child-sized environment enabling the children to be more self-sufficient, thereby respecting the child and allowing them pride in their work.  Montessori defines the goal of education as "the development of a complete human being, oriented to the environment, and adapted to his or her time, place, and culture."  This adaptation involves the capacity to meet new situations and to have the intelligence and courage to transform them when change is needed.  Today we might define this goal as the preparation of children to live successfully in their world, by which we mean the future, rather than live primarily in ours, which are the present and the past.  With this goal in mind, by using concrete, hands-on materials based on the developmental patterns of children, natural human energy and intrinsic motivation; children are led to heightened intellectual and social achievement.  These children are also able to be independent, confident, happy, and eager to learn with kindness and concern for each other and their environment.

 

Jean Piaget and Reggio Emilia

Incorporated into the Montessori framework at White Bird is the Reggio Emilia approach and the philosophy of Jean Piaget.  Piaget believed the intelligence is a form of adaptation, where knowledge must be assimilated and accommodated.  As a child becomes more and more adapted to their environments, they are able to take in more and more information.  Piaget coined the phrase "hands-on learning."  The Reggio Emilia  approach is based on the following principles:

  • An Emergent curriculum which builds upon the interests of the children
  • Project Work which are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests which arise within the group
  • Representational Development which calls for the integration of graphic art tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development
  • Collaboration in which children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, and problem solve through group work
  • Documentation of children's work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents
  • Environment is considered the "third teacher."  A beautiful and respectful space for children to learn and explore is essential

Self-Education

The most meaningful education is self-education.  A method or a teacher that can inspire a child to want to learn has achieved the greatest accomplishment in education.  We often confuse the development of skills such as reading, writing, and math as education.  True education means the development of inner human qualities with the integration of personality.  It is better to grow than it is to know, develop interest than give facts.  This approach was taken by Maria Montessori over 50 years ago when she founded the Montessori Method.  She enunciated the following principles:

  • Young children have amazing mental concentration if given meaningful activities.
  • Children have a deep sense of personal dignity and justice which the adult must learn to respect and abide by.
  • Reward and punishment are not necessary to get children to do as the adult wishes.
Montessori believed in a structured program for children exposing them to order in the environment with an opportunity for development at their own pace.  This helps organize the mental processes and integrates the child within.  Permissiveness is the abandonment of the child's needs.  A program based exclusively on play permits the child to externalize his or her feelings without an opportunity for developing self-discipline and inner-integration.  To aid their process of growth, the classroom permits the child to learn according to his or her ability and not force them to keep up with the group.  Children are free to talk at will and move about at will choosing their work, providing they are respectful.  The limits are expanded as the child grows in self-discipline.  The staff at White Bird looks forward to guiding your child in their discovery of life!