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Broadening the mind and spirit: real-world experiences

Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.      —Maria Montessori

In keeping with Dr. Montessori’s method of teaching and learning, students at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) enjoy hands-on, real-world learning experiences, like field trips and special guests in the classroom, designed to deepen their understanding at every level of their development.

Heroes as inspiration: Mystery History and Parade of Heroes at MSR

As elementary-age children are looking to find their place in society, they look up to adults and older students to inspire them.  At this stage of development, it is important to ignite curiosity about the world and the child’s place in it by telling stories of heroes and heroines from history, current events, and literature.  When a child hears or reads a story about someone who has shown courage, imagination, ingenuity, or persistence, it inspires the child. Dr. Montessori called this fascination with heroes and heroines, “Hero Worship.”

First Great Lesson Origins of the Universe LE4 Sept 2022

Elementary-age children are naturally fascinated by the interrelationships of things, ideas, and people. That is why The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) employs the Five Great Lessons developed by Dr. Maria Montessori to set the stage for intellectual, spiritual, and psychological development. Central to the curriculum for students in grades one through three (Lower Elementary), the Great Lessons form a framework for academic studies established through epic stories about:

  • the origins of the Universe
  • the inception of life on Earth
  • the development of human life, culture, and accomplishments
  • the history of language
  • the history of numbers
Admin Building LMC

Each year faculty and staff nominate a fellow employee to offer the Inspiramus at the start of the next new school year. The Inspiramus is designed to provide inspiration and encouragement as the school community prepares to welcome back MSR's students and families. This year's Inspiramus was delivered by Babe Clawson, Lower Elementary Directress (LE4). In her own words...

Hi, for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Babe Clawson and I want to welcome everyone to the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year here at The Montessori School of Raleigh. This marks the beginning of my thirtieth year at MSR, so to say I love this school is an understatement.

SummerScape FY23

Time flies when you’re having fun and at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) that’s certainly true this summer as campers enjoyed exploring, discovering, and learning during SummerScape 2022. Educators know that it is important for children to take time off from their regular school-year studies to engage in different kinds of  activities and learning experiences. SummerScape at MSR provides ample opportunities for children ages 15 months through grade 6 to do just that.

Practical Life Dishwashing

Montessori materials are hands-on learning tools designed to provide children with opportunities to learn through repetition and practice. In a MSR classroom, students are given lessons with these materials which focus on one skill at a time. Materials are intentionally designed to support independent learning and problem-solving. The use of materials grows in complexity as students continue to learn and develop from concrete to abstract learning.

Congratulations Class of 2022

The Montessori School of Raleigh graduated its Class of 2022 during a commencement ceremony on Friday, June 3. The tented event took place on the school’s Brier Creek Campus where the graduates, their families, faculty, staff, and friends gathered to celebrate the many accomplishments of the seven graduating seniors and launch them into the next chapter of their lives.

Child explores garden

Dr. Maria Montessori believed in the power of the natural world to teach and inspire children and support their growth as thoughtful citizens of the world. As we look ahead to celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2022, we are reminded of the many ways the study of nature informs learning and discovery in the Montessori classroom. The following is excerpted from "Why Connect With Nature" published online by Age of Montessori, highlighting how parents can guide their child's understanding of and appreciation for nature.

Building a knee in UE Dec 2022

When baking a cake, simply assembling the ingredients does not make a cake; they must be mixed in the proper portions and baked for the appropriate time. The same is true for the “ingredients” of companies and nations. In our complex modern world, simply hiring engineers, financiers, lawyers, etc. will not make a successful company or government; they must all work together to achieve a successful outcome. Even for an individual working with others is a crucial ingredient for success. 

As an engineer, I have seen hundreds of knowledgeable engineers who live in a world of LaPlace Transforms and Bessel Functions but could not work with others to achieve a result. The Montessori philosophy addresses this issue in a way that public education does not.

Lead4Change logo

What do tigers, coats, and pies have in common? They all provide inspiration for MSR’s Upper School students to “Lead4Change” and make a difference in their community and world.

Beginning this fall, MSR’s 9th and 10th grade students engaged in the Lead4Change program: “a leadership curriculum with a community service framework” with a goal of “empowering students to act, serve, and make BIG things happen” (lead4change.org). It involves students in a series of leadership lessons which culminate in the implementation of a student-led community service project. 

Black Montessorias Feb 2022

The Montessori approach to education is an inclusive and globally-centered one. As we celebrate Black History Month this February, we would like to recognize the contribution of two of many Black American Montessorians who lived these Montessori values and made significant contributions in their communities: Mae Arlene Gadpaille and Roslyn Davis Williams.

UE Girls Project Work Dec 2021

Dr. Maria Montessori discovered a child’s "Sensitive Periods" through careful study and observation. These periods are essentially developmental time frames during which the acquisition of specific skills is optimum. Dr. Montessori designed her classrooms in three-year programs or cycles and Montessori teachers are specifically trained to meet their students' needs within the cycle.

Rising Up Day Classroom LMC

Multi-age classrooms and three-year cycles—these are just two of the things that set a Montessori education apart from other educational models. The value of this Montessori Method lies in the way it allows students to deepen their understanding and grow as independent and engaged learners. For teachers, having the same students for three years means really getting to know student—how they learn best, what are their areas of strength and their areas for growth.

LE girl with computer

When you think of Montessori education, no doubt hands-on, project learning comes to mind. The use of Montessori materials, like pink towers, puzzle maps, bead chains and moveable alphabets, is a well-known hallmark of the Montessori Method, as is nature and peace education. What many may not realize is that technology is also an important component of a Montessori experience.

At The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), technology is intentionally introduced to students at specific developmental stages.

Win At Social classroom

The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) is partnering again this year with The Social Institute, a leader in social media education and social-emotional learning. The curriculum, #WinAtSocial, is designed to support families and help students navigate social-emotional health and technology in positive, high-character ways. In alignment with the Montessori approach to educating and preparing the whole child, MSR has implemented the #WinAtSocial curriculum for the past two years as part of the Middle and Upper School advisory experience each month.

Intersessions Fall 2021 MS

Twice a year, the regular Middle School curriculum pauses for Intersession, a one-week period when students participate in full-immersion, interdisciplinary studies. Through Intersession, students explore an area of interest outside of their typical academic studies and encounter new experiences, places, people, and ideas that spark what often become lifelong passions. Some Intersessions are offered year after year, while others are newly designed each year to meet students’ unique interests.

Girl harvests  tomatoes in BCC garden 9-2021

Dr. Maria Montessori once said, "When children come into contact with nature they reveal their strength." At The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), nature education is an integral part of the curriculum at every grade level. Just as Maria Montessori observed children to better understand how they learn, children in the Montessori classroom observe nature to better understand themselves, the world around them, and their place in it. 

Lifelong learning and parent education at MSR

The Montessori approach to education is designed to instill a love of learning in children which they will carry with them throughout their lives. Keeping curiosity and inquiry alive is central to the "natural learning" espoused by Maria Montessori and practiced at The Montessori School of Raleigh. This notion of lifelong learning is integrated into every grade-level experience at MSR and extends to the adult community through employee professional development and parent education.

Inspiramus: we are in the business of shaping the future

On  August 16, 2021, on the first day of Employee Prep Week at MSR, Lower Elementary Directress, Laura Sayles, "rallied the troops" with her opening "Inspiramus." In her own words...

My name is Laura Sayles and I am a directress in Lower Elementary, or “LE." For those of you who don’t know yet, LE includes first, second, and third grade. Super fun age range! Fun fact about LE, Maria Montessori actually coined it, “The Age of Accidental Rudeness,” because they are hyper aware of everyone around them, and truly do just speak their minds without a filter.

Toddler Teachers Prep Classroom Aug 2021

In the words of Maria Montessori, "Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child open up himself to life." 

At The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), faculty and staff have been preparing for the new school year, designing opportunities for their students to open themselves up to life and learning.

SummerScape at The Montessori School of Raleigh

SummerScape at the Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) is in full swing as students engage in new and fun activities this summer.

SummerScape kicked off on June 7 and runs through July 30, and offers week-long camp options to children aged 15 months through 9th grade.

Commencement Cap Toss

The Montessori School of Raleigh celebrated its second graduating class, the Class of 2021, with a commencement ceremony on Friday, June 4, at 5 p.m. 

Virtual Conference: Creating Inclusive Communities

On Saturday, May 15, 14 members from The Montessori School of Raleigh community participated in a virtual conference called Creating Inclusive Communities. Hosted by Ravenscroft School in conjunction with Pollyanna, Inc., the conference featured  Rosetta Lee of Seattle Girls’ School as the keynote speaker.  

Land and Livestock program welcomes chicks

Maria Montessori had a deep respect for the natural world. She believed the outdoor environment was an extension of the indoor classroom as it provides endless opportunities for experiential learning. That’s why at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), students at all grade levels learn from nature every day through access to outdoor spaces as well as natural elements in their indoor spaces – like plants and small animals. In the Middle and Upper Schools, students engage in a land and livestock program that offers even more opportunities for students to access and learn from the natural world around them.

MSR students inducted into the National Honor Society

​Congratulations to the newest members of The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) National Honor Society chapter. The eight inductees, which included students from 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, took the oath of membership last night during the virtual National Honor Society International Induction Ceremony. These students are recognized for their scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

Toddlers watch lizard

When children come in contact with Nature, they reveal their strength.

-   Dr. Maria Montessori

Spring has arrived in Raleigh/Durham and at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) that means students are deepening their understanding and connection with nature. From Earth Day activities to classroom lessons, students across grade levels are discovering the wonders of the natural world around them. The following are just a few of the ways MSR students are building connections.

Humanities Night April 2021 Prep

Like all learning at MSR, the Middle School humanities curriculum is designed to guide students in developing subject content mastery, while also allowing students to dive deeply into areas of personal interest. In humanities, that means learning history content, developing research, writing, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, and looking forward to Humanities Night each year.

Intersessions March 2021

Immersive. Interdisciplinary. Practical. Experiential. These adjectives offer good insight into what this week’s Intersessions experience was all about for middle and high school students at MSR.

Hands in air Hands-on Learning News

As a school dedicated to the Montessori method of educating children, MSR knows the power of hands-on learning. From 15 months to grade 12, MSR students have the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials as part of a process that deepens understanding, strengthens foundational skills, and allows for the transfer of knowledge at every developmental level.

Toddler Valentines Meals on Wheels 4

Montessori education places a great emphasis on community and encourages children at every age level to understand how they can contribute in meaningful ways to their community and the wider world. This week, the learners in MSR's Toddler program got a hands-on experience with what it means to give to others.

Breast Cancer Awareness Week

In keeping with its commitment to service learning, MSR's Middle and Upper School students hosted activities for Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Oct. 12-16, 2020, on the school's Brier Creek Campus. 

Celebrating International Peace Day

Peace is taught as an important part of the Montessori curriculum and September 21 was International Peace Day, so our Lower Elementary classes gathered around the peace pole on Ben’s Field to celebrate. Maria Montessori began her teachings around the time of World War II when the world was immersed in violence and acts of aggression. She firmly believed that people should be taught to spread peace from a very young age in hopes that our world would be free from violence one day.

Montessori’s curriculum held the idea that we are all one small piece of a larger world regardless of our ethnicity or background. Starting in Lower Elementary, our students are taught that as humans we all have the same basic needs to survive and we must use peace and kindness to help each other grow every day. Montessori also teaches students that they have the ability to make positive change in the world. Children are often given the misconception that they need to be an adult to improve the world when in reality people are never too young to make a difference in a peaceful manner.

Happy 149th Birthday to Dr. Maria Montessori!

To honor Dr. Maria Montessori on her birthday, The Montessori School of Raleigh thought we’d share a brief insight into her extraordinary life.

Dr. Maria Montessori was born in Chiaravalle, Italy on August 31, 1870. As a young woman, Maria began her education at Via di San Nicolo da Tolentino and then proceeded to conquer the barriers for the restricted careers of women.

Opening Convocation 2019-20

As the sun peeped out from under the clouds, the Academic Festival Overture of Johannes Brahms resounded throughout the Gym, and hundreds of students Grades 1 through 12, faculty, and staff processed in to take their seats for the school’s first-ever Opening Convocation.

Five Myths of Montessori

The Montessori Method of child-centered learning has been used across the globe as an alternative to traditional education for more than a century.

With more than 100 years of the Montessori educational approach in action, many rumors or myths have developed about the program over time.

How Montessori prepares kids for the ivy league and beyond

College should be the time in life when a young person accelerates and experiences the excitement of learning, deciding how they want to have an impact on the world outside of the classroom.

Unfortunately, many teens arrive at college to take their first steps into adulthood exhausted and burned out, weary from years spent trying to achieve what many schools define as success.

Entrepreneur credits Montessori education for giving him his kickstart

Entrepreneurship is consistently a hot topic, what with consumers clamoring for innovation across all industries.

The excitement over new technologies and the startup culture has extended into the job search for students completing their educations. In fact, 69 percent of students are interested in working for startups; this despite the high risk of failure, the long working hours necessary to drive a new business to success and the often low paychecks associated with early-stage ventures.

7 ways Montessori is different from traditional schools

When people hear the term "Montessori" they usually have a specific idea of what that term means in reference to an academic learning environment, but how does a Montessori education actually differ from that of traditional public and private schools?