Cuarto Creciente Montessori School is a private school, authorized by the Regional Department of Education in La Rioja with center code 26008827, where our students learn the same academic contents as in traditional schools, and their studies have the same validity, but in our school they learn these contents in a different way, through the Montessori Method. Our school is also international bilingual ENGLISH/SPANISH, with FRENCH subject, always with native teachers. It is engaged in the accreditation process with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (Boston, USA), an organization that accredits high standards of educational quality in schools and universities across 85 countries around the world. It was founded by Charles W. Elliot, president of Harvard University, in order to create an organization that would evaluate and accredit the quality of educational institutions. Therefore, the studies at our center are not only valid in Spain, but also worldwide, and constitute an added value in the admission processes of international high schools and universities.
As a real Montessori School, the entire Teaching Staff is officially trained as Montessori Guides with Official Master´s degrees. The maximum number of students per class is 20 and they are always accompanied by 2 Guides in each classroom, that is, the students are always attended by qualified Guides, and not Assistants. Accordingly, the teacher/student ratio in our classrooms is 1/10.
And how can we ensure that we are a real Montessori School? Because Cuarto Creciente Montessori School is an associate center of the International Montessori Institute with register code 2012/053 IMI. This is an organization with a clear purpose: Preserve the legacy of Maria Montessori through a rigorous and classical training, based on the doctor´s original sources. In turn, it adapts to current educational needs through continuous research in education, gathering in the same organization the best of Italian and Anglo-Saxon tradition. Therefore, International Montessori Institute issues internationally recognized certifications.
Furthermore, our school conducts a daily assessment and registration of our student´s performance, using a digital platform which is specifically designed for Montessori schools. This platform is called Transparent Classroom, and each family has their own personal password to access exclusively the information related to their own children, at any time.
The basis of this method is always self-discipline. It is important not to confuse respect for children´s pace with the lack of boundaries and debauchery. The freedom that the child has to explore the environment must necessarily come from embracing respect for the rest of the people they spend time with and the proper way to use the materials they work with. In Maria Montessori´s words: “Let children do whatever they want when they have not developed their will, it is betraying the proper sense of freedom”.
Not only do we follow the Montessori Method rigorously, but we are also aware that neuromotricity and psychomotricity are essential for brain development, hence the importance we attach to our psychomotricity room. We are trained as University Expert in this area at UNIR. We are also trained in Creative Education, developed by Arno Stern, by Diraya Expresión Bilbao, official trainers of this technique, and we put this knowledge into practice in the painting room. Our students learn music too, with active learning methods, with which we provide stimuli that generate a change in their former status, causing a learning-inducing experience. The ultimate purpose is enjoying music, and in this process learning is unconscious because of entertaining, thus when the time comes to theorize about it, the students will be able to do it with no difficulty, as it is already integrated in their brains.
Our key principle here in Cuarto Creciente Montessori School is, therefore, RESPECT. Respect for the child, for their pace, their individuality, their processes, their feelings and their needs. This is how our project is born in 2017, a mixed and secular school, which through the Montessori Method, teaches Preschool Education and Elementary Education, from three to twelve years old, according to the curriculum established by the Regional Department of Education in La Rioja.
Cuarto Creciente Montessori School´s methodology is based on the principles of self-regulation, confidence in innate curiosity as the driving force for learning, freedom of movement, preservation of self-esteem through respect for the child’s feelings, and the creation of a space where children feel safe.
Montessori Children’s House corresponds to the second cycle of Preschool Education, so it includes children from 3 to 6 years old. In this period, children are in a phase known as ABSORBENT MIND. This means that through their own Sensitive Periods (a block of time in children’s life when they are ripe to learn something in an exceptionally intense way) and in a prepared environment with suitable stimuli, they learn naturally and absorb information about their environment unconsciously.
During the stages of Workshop I (6-9 years) and Workshop II (9-12 years), corresponding to Elementary Education, children are in what Maria Montessori called “the second level of development”, also known as the REASONING MIND stage.
In this classroom, children will work with the manipulative material Dr. Maria Montessori developed. Thus, the classroom is organized into work areas, as this pedagogical theory specifies for active learning in Children’s House: Practical life, Sensorial, Culture, Mathematics and Language.
In Cuarto Creciente Montessori School we consider essential to have a specific music classroom, as it is a fact that music helps children in their intellectual, auditory, sensory, speech and motor development.
The importance of giving children the opportunity to express themselves through painting is undeniable. Here in Cuarto Creciente Montessori School, we adhere to the principles of Creative Education, presented by Arno Stern in “Le Closlieu”.
In the very early stages of development, when a baby picks up two toys and hits them against one another, the corpus callosum is being activated, creating essential connections for communication between the cerebral hemispheres. The child needs to repeat a thousand times this little act in order to fix all the maths involved in it.
The playground, a space where children can move freely outdoors, provides experiences that make body, feelings and thoughts work in an integrated manner, which allows learning at various levels simultaneously. In this way, sensorial life integrates with the emotional and cognitive one.
We are aware that for the child who sets foot in our space for the first time, we are a group of strangers in an unknown place. That is why we suggest a period of actual adaptation: the attachment figures of the child are allowed to be present in the classrooms as long as necessary.
We are fully aware that sphincter control is a process that cannot be learned and, therefore, must not be forced, since it is a process of mere neuromuscular maturation.
In Cuarto Creciente International School children have full freedom of movement, a basic need for children at this stage from three to seven years old, just as Piaget established.
Every child is unique and consequently one of the main tasks of the guides in Cuarto Creciente International School is to observe the children in their full complexity, in order to get to know and guide each of them in the most suitable way.
Another central aspect in our school is the respect for feelings. We know that all feelings are necessary, as they are the symptoms that tell us that something is happening: feelings are something to be expressed, never hidden.
Cuarto Creciente International School strongly believes in encouraging cooperation among children and not competitiveness. As a matter of fact, the biological origin of life lies in cooperation.
There are no prizes, nor punishments in Cuarto Creciente International School. We believe prizes and punishments are two sides of the same coin, which generate mental schemes that drive children to act only for external motivations.
As mentioned before, children up to 7 years need to move and explore in order to learn. So, when they leave school, they need to continue playing and exploring, they must learn through experience.
Children in their early childhood are in a sensitive period for language acquisition. With this in mind and following the philosophy of intuitive learning, we find absolutely necessary to give children the opportunity to start learning a second language at this stage.
In our center we have a flexible schedule with the purpose of favoring self-regulation in smaller children’s rest and allowing them to gradually adapt their pace to more structured schedules.
Keeping in mind what has already been explained, it would be impossible to carry out this working methodology without having a low teacher/student ratio. This ratio is 1/10 in our school.
In Cuarto Creciente International School families are an active part of the education process. Firstly, we place a tremendous importance on the correlation between the philosophy of the school and what is lived at home, so that children do not perceive relevant dissonances.
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