LIFE AND LEARNING AT MATER AMORIS
Mater Amoris supports each child in achieving his or her unique potential. In service of this important goal, we have carefully structured our schedule and staffing such that each portion of the day is led by a fully credentialed and experienced Montessori Guide.
We provide a holistic, highly individualized, and interdisciplinary approach within the context of a collaborative and peaceful learning community. Our year-round, full day program meets developmental needs at each stage of life, thus encouraging independence, personal responsibility, and excellence.
The Sunrise Club is an offering for those who would like to start their day with guided outdoor activities, games, gardening, exercise, or crafts. It is also the perfect option for families who have a longer commute or earlier start time for work. Weather-permitting, the majority of the time will be spent outdoors. Children are welcome to bring their breakfast to eat during this time.
During the Sunset Club, students experience a wide variety of opportunities for furthering their personal development and real-world application of skills. In addition to the time spent with a Montessori trained guide learning about the outdoors, gardening, doing art projects, and participating in health and wellness activities, we offer supplemental programs led by outside vendors.
Introduction to Martial Arts with Kang's Black Belt Academy (Children's House)
-Children learn to share, take turns, and follow directions. The physical aspect of the class will promote strength and build motor skills while promoting coordination and stamina.
Field Hockey with Koa Sports (Lower and Upper Elementary)
-Children develop hand-eye coordination, improve balance and stamina, and develop an understanding of team play.
Yoga with Create Calm (Ages 3-6 and 7-12)
-Mindful movement provides children the opportunity to slow down for a moment as they learn breathing techniques, do yoga poses, play games, ansd sing songs.
The YCC environment is carefully and thoughtfully constructed to meet the needs of our two-year-olds. Order, being very important to the young child, is maintained in all aspects of the child's experience. Each item has its place, the child interacts with a limited number of reliable adults, and a routine is established. The external order allows the child to begin to create order internally. The home away from home that is created for the children is a safe place for physical and social exploration.
Children of this age are very hands-on learners. Work in each of the four areas of the environment, Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics, offers the opportunity to learn through manipulation. The Montessori materials were scientifically designed to encourage repetition, independence, and exploration. The environment meets the needs of children as they grow academically and socially, offering longer sequences of work and more opportunities for collaboration as the child grows. The Montessori trained guide is the dynamic link between the child and the environment, providing lessons and experiences that are timed to entice the child and provide just the right amount of challenge. The warm community that forms is the result of the confidence and comfort that the child feels in an environment that was meticulously designed to meet their developmental needs.
The structure of the Elementary experience in Montessori is carefully designed to meet the social and intellectual needs of the children. The desire to communicate with others is strong, and through group activities, class meetings, and the planning of going outs, children experience social hierarchies, conflict resolution, and collaboration. Through telling of true stories and the creation of timelines, children learn about different pieces of the universe and how they relate to each other. Their deep thirst for knowledge is addressed by the materials and group activities that offer lessons in botany, zoology, mathematics, language, history, geography, music, and the arts. By reinforcing a child's sense of curiosity and community, they learn ways of inquiring, investigating, and resolving questions of interest and concern. This approach leads to an independent, self-directed student.
The Upper Elementary student continues organizing concepts and ideas through individual and collaborative work. Lessons and stories are used to introduce children to multiple facets of the world and humanity. They are given space and time to research, create, discuss, and build upon the foundations in math, language, science and the cultural subjects of history, music, and art, that allows them to take true ownership of their learning. There is a depth to the work of the students in a Montessori environment that leads to a deepened understanding of their intellectual capabilities with opportunities to develop their leadership and social skills.
The adolescent program is uniquely suited to provide the time and space children need to continue their work of self-construction. Much of Montessori’s observations about younger children hold true for the adolescent. They are still driven by an inner urge to create themselves as their own separate entity.
The focus on self and family, so important in the younger children, has shifted outwards and children now seek to find their place in society at large. This is done by providing them a thorough grounding in the culture of humanity and by asking big questions. Who am I? What do I value? How do I find my place in the world? While some practices continue from the primary and elementary environments- students work at their own pace, follow their interests, use materials to understand new concepts- the adolescent environment focuses on social development and the work of becoming an adult.
Programs at Mater Amoris
Young Children's Community
The Acorn Class, Ages 2-3
The Azalea and Liriope Classes, Ages 3-6
Children ages 5-12 receive special performing arts experiences throughout the year, which include vocals, Orff, and drama in addition to the traditional Montessori music lessons.
The performing arts program includes two performances each year- a holiday program and a spring musical production.
We also invite you to sign your child up for small group lessons on the violin, piano, or guitar. Children can participate in these 30-minute lessons once a week.
Health and Wellness
As part of our holistic approach to supporting and educating children, we emphasize mindfulness and social emotional learning. Our staff is attuned to the physical and emotional well-being of our students, and we encourage dialogue with families about their child's overall health.
The physical education program at Mater Amoris promotes personal health and fitness while exposing children to a wide range of sports and games.
Spanish is a component of our Elementary program. The assistant for each Elementary class is a native Spanish speaker who regularly speaks to students in Spanish. In addition, Spanish Montessori materials are available for student use in each classroom.
Nature Education and Stewardship
Our Nature Education and Stewardship program is led by Montessori trained guides who are also passionate naturalists. They partner with classroom guides to provide varied outdoor experiences and opportunities for exploring nature. The entire breadth of our 13- acre campus is utilized as children work in the woods, care for animals, garden, and examine the flora and fauna.
Our Montessori-certified Library and Media Specialist provides age-appropriate experiences for Mater Amoris children, including story-time, library skill development, and research support. She also supports guides with accessing resources to enhance the experience in each classroom.