Established in 1983, Daggett Montessori School was the first public Montessori program in the Fort Worth Independent School District. Initially housed within Daggett Elementary School and Daggett Middle School, the program was moved to a separate Kindergarten through 8th grade campus in 2002. The unique campus setting consists of multiple buildings connected by covered walkways. The covered picnic pavilion, greenhouse, and several gardens provide rich opportunities for outdoor learning. Frequently asked questions include:
What is Montessori?
Montessori is an approach to education with the fundamental belief that a child learns best within a social environment which supports and respects each individual's unique development.
What Makes Montessori Education Unique?
1. The "Whole Child" Approach. The primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The holistic curriculum allows the child to experience the joy of learning.
2. The "Prepared Environment." In order for self-directed learning to take place, the whole learning environment - room, materials, and social climate - must be supportive of learning. The teacher provides the resources, including a safe and positive climate.
3. The Montessori Materials. Dr. Maria Montessori's observations of the kinds of things that children enjoy and go back to repeatedly led her to design a number of multisensory, sequential and self-correcting materials that faciliate the learning of skills and lead to the learning of abstract ideas.
4. The Teacher. The Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper, and meticulous observer of each child's behavior and growth. Extensive training is required for Montessori credentials to be obtained.
5. The Multi-Year Span. Multi-age grouping is a cornerstone of the Montessori program. Typically, classes consist of three grades together, such as first, second and third grades. This provides a family-like atmosphere where learning can take place naturally. More experienced children share what they have learned while reinforcing their own learning. It also provides three years of curriculum and materials for the child to move through at his/her own pace.
How Does it Work?
Each Montessori classroom operates on the principal of freedom within limits. Every program has its set of ground rules which differs from age to age, but is always based on core Montessori beliefs - respect for each other and for the environment. Children are free to work at their own pace with materials they have chosen, either alone or with others. The teacher relies on his or her observations of the children to determine which new activities and materials may be introduced to an individual child or to a small or large group. The aim is to encourage active, self-directed learning and to strike a balance of individual mastery within small group collaboration within the whole group community. The Montessori materials stimulate interest and involvement and there is an emphasis on the sensory aspect of experience and discovery learning.