29 Sep STEM and Montessori Education at CMMS
With the world around us increasingly focused on science and technology, parents may wonder how a Montessori classroom can thoughtfully incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities into daily learning. At Children’s Manor/Magnet Montessori, we believe the integration of STEM into the Montessori curriculum is important to provide students with the necessary technological literacy to thrive in our ever advancing world.
Montessori education inherently shares many of the hallmarks of STEM education including inquiry-based and hands-on learning, critical thinking, open-ended exploration and applying self-initiative. Additionally, as a Montessori classroom is filled with students who have been encouraged to be independent, curious and innovative it is a natural place for STEM activities to occur. Within a carefully prepared Montessori classroom, Montessori materials fully engage a student’s senses and the curriculum reinforces that everything is interrelated, showing the interconnectivity of topics across the five Montessori Learning areas (Language Arts, Mathematics, Practical Life, Sensorial, and Geography/Culture).
At Children’s Manor/ Children’s Magnet STEM education is actively integrated into our programs in various ways. We provide an academically rigorous, engaging, and supportive learning environment that allows for innovation, collaboration, and hands-on learning and problem solving. Students learn the fundamental rules of mathematics and science through the discovery of natural laws by working with didactic materials and problem solving with classmates. The work engages the senses and ensures the internalization of concepts, not just rote memorization.
- Our standards-based M+ curriculum organizes STEM across the five Montessori learning areas with carefully designed, monthly age appropriate lesson plans and activities. Examples of recent STEM related lessons include understanding the animal kingdom, studying the chemistry behind slime and designing air-powered rockets.
- A variety of Makerspace activities running in the afternoons to encourage students to creatively design, experiment, build and invent. Makerspace activities are specifically arranged to allow students to ‘learn by doing’ and can range from replicating pictures with legos or kinetic sand, experimenting with chemical reactions, and even building a working pulley machine or catapult.
- Technological literacy is incorporated into our curriculum with each school having a computer lab and integrating lessons lessons into the child’s weekly schedule.
- For students in kindergarten and beyond, we are launching a computer science curriculum with hands-on activities (story books, foldables, simulations, and online practice) to gain an understanding of and skills in areas such as computing systems, networks, the internet, data etc. This program is aligned with Maryland Core Standards.
Students are able to work at their own pace and build on their individual strengths, and may work independently or as part of a team to complete projects. This provides opportunities to develop both their individual concentration and their collaboration skills. As this approach encompasses many of the primary tenets of Montessori education, it clearly demonstrates how STEM activities can be an exciting and well-suited addition to a Montessori environment.
It is worth noting that Montessori education has been linked to some of the greatest technology entrepreneurs of our time, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. They have credited Montessori for allowing them to ask questions, discover, and learn on their own terms. In fact, Amazon’s Bezos has committed to funding the growth of high quality, Montessori preschools.