Oct. 14, 2016


As families
prepare to make their school choice decisions in our upcoming choice (magnet)
lottery, which opens Nov. 19, our Montessori school leaders are participating
in professional development and planning for continued student success in our
district’s three Montessori schools: Francis W. Parker School 56, George Washington Carver School 87 and Rousseau McClellan School 91.


Montessori approach is a popular educational philosophy based upon the work of
Italian physician Maria Montessori and was introduced in the United States in
the early 20th century. Montessori classrooms address the needs of
development through the use of manipulative materials, which engage students in
rewarding tasks in a sequence that moves toward larger instructional concepts.
All IPS Montessori schools follow the Montessori philosophy and method in daily
instruction, focusing on the idea that a student’s confidence and motivation
are built upon success.


“Montessori is
founded on a deep respect for the uniqueness of each child’s needs and
orientation in the learning process,” said George Washington Carver Principal
Mark Nardo. “From their first day in the pre-kindergarten classroom,
children are invited to make choices and to be as independent as
possible. This freedom to make choices is built into the curriculum and
enables the development of self-esteem and a sense of having a significant part
to play in their own learning process. Our Montessori teachers seek to
promote the development of peace in lessons at all levels of the curriculum, in
keeping with Maria Montessori’s reminder that ‘Establishing peace is the work
of education.’”


Each of our
Montessori schools begins with Pre-K and continues through eighth grade.
Students learn in collaboration with their peers – usually in multi-age
classrooms incorporating two grade levels – with the guidance of qualified
teachers who are continually participating in professional development to
fine-tune their skills in the Montessori method.


“All three
sites are committed to working together as a program to insure that quality
Montessori instruction happens each day with highly trained teachers and staff who
possess Montessori credentials,” said Nardo, who serves as interim president of
the United Montessori Schools of Indiana (UMSI).


Along with his
fellow IPS Montessori staff and peers, Nardo will attend USMI’s annual
conference on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the district’s Forest Manor Professional
Development Center. Participants will experience workshops on diversity,
research, positive behavior supports, visual arts and more.


The keynote
session, “Research in Action,” will be delivered by national Montessori scholar
Dr. Angela Murray. Dr. Murray is senior researcher
and coordinator for the American Montessori Society and the founding editor of
the Journal of Montessori Research.


“As public and private
Montessori teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, parents and all other
interested participants that support and promote the Montessori method, it is
critical that we learn and grow professionally each year,” said Nardo. “Our
professional development will translate into high-quality, Montessori
instruction as we bring back into the classrooms what we learn and experience
at the UMSI conference. This is the only professional development
opportunity of its kind in Indiana for all Montessori teachers and
staff. Our annual conference supports the mission of UMSI, which is, ‘With
integrity The United Montessori Schools of Indiana will support, unify and
advocate for the advancement of Montessori education.’”


We look forward
to the continued growth of our dedicated Montessori educators, and the positive
impact their work has on our students and families!