Last January at the annual Preschool Fair that takes place at the Saratoga Springs Library, I visited the Malta Montessori School table and gathered some info. That next week I attended an open house there with my husband and son Robby. We were very impressed and eager to learn more about the Montessori philosophy.
When you attend an open house or visit a school when class is not in session, it’s sort of hard to picture what really happens there. It was however great to meet the teachers and staff, see the facility and learn more about the Montessori style of learning.
I distinctly remember being at that open house thinking how crazy it seemed that kids as young as 3 would so self-directed and eager to learn. I pictured the classroom being trashed, kids running wild, and overall chaos. Boy was I wrong!
On my second visit to Malta Montessori in Malta NY just last week, I was shocked and amazed to walk into a preschool classroom full of kids that was so orderly and well-functioning! I observed for a long time at how these students ranging in age from 2.5 – 6 were interacting with each other and resolving conflict, cleaning up after themselves, engaging in learning through play, and genuinely enjoying themselves and their classroom.
The Montessori philosophy is very different than a standard preschool approach.
- Classrooms are mixed-age, so Pre-K includes ages 3-5
- Students choose their own activities from among a prescribed range of options
- Students complete three hour blocks of uninterrupted “work” time
- Students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
Students participate in circle time each day, monthly themes, movement classes, weekly art projects, music and songs and snacks… all done in the Montessori style with an emphasis on child independence, problem-solving, and respect for others and their environment. It really is amazing to see it all in action and to observe Montessori students engaging in math, practical life skills such as pouring liquids, preparing food, washing dishes and setting a table, using all their senses and discovering new cultures.
Montessori students are encouraged to be independent and creative. The teachers I observed at Malta Montessori were guiding more than teaching and helping students reach their potential and develop a love for learning.
I was amazed to find wonderful diversity at Malta Montessori. Students from different backgrounds, celebrating different cultures, some even speaking very little English. Seeing children from all over the world in the small town of Malta was a very pleasant surprise. Since Montessori is an international education model, families relocating to this area for GlobalFoundries or other reasons will find Malta Montessori an excellent choice.
Malta Montessori has been in existence since 2006 and serves students from Pre-K to grade 6. The school offers half-day or full day options for Pre-K, five days a week. K-6 is full day. The school is located conveniently right off of Interstate 87 at exit 12.
Potential parents can call or email Head of School Kerry Brader to set up an appointment and come see first-hand how the Montessori philosophy of education provides a unique hands-on learning experience.