There is so much that I admire and respect about Maria Montessori's approach to caring for children that really demonstrates careful attention to the world from their eyes. When creating the program we have here, both for my own children and yours, we chose these five values to focus on:
What the objects in the room around us are doing has an unconscious affect on how we’re doing. If it’s crowded and things are strewn about any which way, we are unlikely to be able to make decisions or know what to do with ourselves. We lack creativity until all the things are where they should be, and the visible clutter is removed. Such is the case for children as well. That is why we have chosen to follow in the footsteps of Maria Montessori by creating a simple streamlined layout to our classroom with easy to find and identify activities. And each activity has its place in the classroom so it can be easily returned to create that visible order. We find therefore that the children in our care behave in a more orderly manner as well. They are able to choose a constructive activity rather than wander aimlessly. This creates the mental space they need to grow and be calm inside themselves and with their hands.
Respect of the children
While children are small and have limited language, they can often get overlooked or ignored before they learn to communicate or acquire their own desires. Here at The New Haven we recognize the dignity of even the littlest people and respect their needs and desires, striving to assist in communication and taking the time necessary to discover what each child wishes to communicate. Children deserve our respect in this way, it is our responsibility as the adults to observe carefully. This will build the child’s trust and confidence in our teachers which will in turn bring them peace while building independence and ability.
We also teach children to respect each other by teaching early boundaries rather than insisting on sharing. We introduce as soon as the child is mobile, to use a visual space such as our floor mats to delineate their own play space and to use their activity of choice within this space. Not only does the child have to be concerned about a toy being stolen, but he/she in turn is shown to respect the space of the mat another child is seated on.
In their haven, we respect the children’s abilities by allowing them to make discoveries with their own hands rather than doing something for them they are capable of doing themselves. We respect children’s abilities by applying the motto “Help me to help myself.”
Joy - Cheerful & compassionate caregivers
Children naturally bring so much joy. We chose caregivers for the Children’s Haven that reflect that joy and desire to nurture and protect the joy of the children in our care. We believe children are precious, they are not a nuisance or even a kind of necessary chore, but instead gifts to be incredibly grateful for. We welcome your children and surround them with compassion for their needs and understanding their dependence upon the bigger humans around them.
Peaceful sights & sounds
There is so much noise and distraction in the modern world. It is hard enough to sift through it as adults, a young growing mind needs a much simpler world. We find that children thrive in an environment free of additional noise or motion from toys or screens. The toys we have are designed to engage the child’s senses without overstimulating them and therefore allowing their own thoughts and observations to grow.
The tone we set in the room is also one of peace and orderliness rather than a high energy, high volume excitement. We find that in this kind of environment, children’s natural tunes and rhythms of laughter or singing are able to thrive.