Construction Pictures!

Check out the progress of our “new home”

Middle School Odyssey Trip – New Hampshire – September 2012

Upper Elementary Camp Hazen Trip – September 2012

All School Family Picnic – September 2012

The Writers Almanac about Montessori’s birthday

NPR’s Garrison Keillor blogged  in the Writers Almanac about Montessori’s birthday – you can either read it or listen to it.

It’s the birthday of Maria Montessori (books by this author), born on this day in Chiaravalle, Italy (1870). She was a bright student, and she wanted to study engineering. So when she was 13, against her father’s wishes, she entered a technical school, where all her classmates were boys. After a few years, she decided to pursue medicine, and she became the first woman in Italy to earn an M.D. degree.

As a doctor, she worked with children with special needs. And through her work with them, she became increasingly interested in education. She believed that children were not blank slates, but that they each had inherent, individual gifts. It was a teacher’s job to help children find these gifts, rather than dictating what a child should know. She emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers. Children were encouraged to make decisions.
During World War II, Montessori was exiled from Italy because she was opposed to Mussolini’s fascism and his desire to make her a figurehead for the Italian government. She lived and worked in India for many years, and then in Holland. She died in 1952 at the age of 81. She wrote many books about her philosophy of education, including The Montessori Method (1912) and The Absorbent Mind (1949).

Google Doodle Celebrates Educator Maria Montessori

Google Doodle Celebrates Educator Maria Montessori
By Angela Moscaritolo
ARTICLE DATE : August 31, 2012

Google on Friday honored Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori with a homepage doodle celebrating her 142nd birth anniversary.

The drawing (below, right) features some of the tools that form the basis of Montessori’s educational methods, which emphasize hands-on, individualized learning within mixed age groups in a child-friendly setting.

Montessori was born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy and early on rejected the traditional gender roles of her time, choosing to attend technical school, which few girls did, according to her NNDB biography. Upon graduation, she continued her education at the Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci, where she excelled and developed a passion for the biological sciences.

In 1890, she applied to University of Rome but was denied entrance to the medical program because of her gender. Instead, she enrolled to study physics, mathematics, and the natural sciences and was eventually allowed to study medicine. In 1896, she presented her thesis to an all-male board and they were so impressed that they awarded her a full medical degree, making her the first female doctor in Italy.


Montessori Doodle

Montessori Doodle


After working in insane asylums with mentally handicapped children, in 1904 she began re-engineering the field of children’s education. She believed that all children have an inner drive to learn, and that children learn best when in a safe, hands-on learning environment.

Montessori also found that children help teach each other when put into groups with other kids of their own age range. She believed that teachers should pay close attention to students, not the other way around.

Her early efforts were so successful that she amassed a large following of parents and teachers who wanted to learn her methods. She later gained support from Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, and Alexander Graham Bell, who founded the Montessori Educational Association, headquartered in Washington D.C.

Montessori died in 1952 in The Netherlands. Her methods are still in use today in public and private schools all over the world.

Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both went through the Montessori education system and have credited it for their success.

“I think it was part of that training of not following rules and orders and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world, doing things a bit different,” Page said in an interview with ABC (below).

For more on Google’s doodles, meanwhile, see the slideshow below. Recently, the company has honored Amelia Earhart, jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé and Robert Moog, considered by many to be a pioneer in the electronic music space, as well as artist Keith Haring, zipper pioneer Gideon Sundback, and Howard Carter, a British archaeologist best known for uncovering the tomb of King Tutankhamen in Egypt.

Quest Montessori Coming to Narragansett

Quest Montessori Coming to Narragansett
Rhode Island’s only toddler to eighth grade Montessori School breaks ground next week on Boston Neck Road.
June 6, 2012

On June 13, after three years of planning and strong community support, Quest Montessori is celebrating a ground breaking for its new, permanent home.
The celebration will take place noon on June 13 at the new site, 1160 Boston Neck Road, in Narragansett. A line of Quest students, joined by Quest staff and faculty, parents and community members, will lift shovels-full of soil to mark the official beginning of the long-awaited project.

Founded in 2002 by a small group of parents with children in an early-learning Montessori School, Quest was created to provide a continuation of their Montessori education – an approach to learning that focuses on creating an emotional, socially and educationally supportive environment in which children develop a love of learning and social responsibility.

Until a year ago, the school leased a temporary home on the Canonicus Campus in Exeter. But as the school outgrew the space, the “quest” for a permanent home began.
In December 2009, the USDA announced that Quest had been granted nearly $2.5 million in low-interest financing, which amounted to 90 percent of the funds needed to complete a new school project. The next few years were spent searching for the right parcel, securing it, and then working with planners and architects.

In 2011 Quest moved to another temporary home at the South Road School in Wakefield to better accommodate the growing student population and need for more space until the permanent home could be built.

“We’ve waited a long time,” said Kathy Bowen, an Upper Elementary Teacher at Quest and one of the school’s founding parents. “We’ve been lucky to have the temporary space on South Road which has allowed us to open our preschool and toddler program and enhance our theater, world language and music programs. But our whole community has waited for this day. The teachers, parents and students are all incredibly excited.”

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to first find financing, then find the right piece of property, and then to work with the town to ensure we are meeting all its requirements for the area,” said Paul Raymond, Head of School. “But it was worth it. This site is perfect for our school. The building will be 12,500 square feet, a much larger, more open environment to better facilitate opportunities for growth and education and can accommodate the broader range of activities in the Montessori educational experience. This location also offers an ideal mix of woods and fields and provides an excellent opportunity to study the ecosystem right outside our classrooms.”

After identifying the site, a six-acre wooded property just a short walk from beautiful Narragansett Bay, Quest worked diligently with town planners, community members and architects on a building plan to meet the school’s needs, the town’s building priorities and the community’s goals.
“The community really came together on this. There is clearly an understanding that we need more individualized approaches to learning in order for our children to succeed. Anyone touched by Montessori understands the difference a Montessori education makes in the lives of the children and the families,” said Elisa Cardone, Chair of the Quest Montessori Board of Directors. “I have never experienced such a group of well-rounded, bright and secure individuals as I have at every Quest commencement. And the parents, teachers and administration truly embrace a sense of community and ownership in all the school does.”

“We’re so proud of all that our community has accomplished,” Raymond said. “From students to parents to complete strangers who have come forward to support us, we want to thank everyone who has helped make this day possible!”
Quest Montessori practices an individualized and experience-based approach to education, that centers on the overall well-being of a child. Quest is now enrolling for the 2012-13 school year. To learn more about Quest Montessori School, visit their website or call (401) 783-3222.

Release courtesy of Imaj Associates on behalf of Quest Montessori.

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