Our classrooms work in partnership to go beyond the academic life of our students. The curriculum encompasses social, emotional and moral development as well; the students’ daily experiences are enriched with events designed to promote community, ethics and self-growth.
Cultural activities, holiday celebrations, cooking and community events occur in all our classrooms and serve as a way to introduce the children to the world and cultures around them.
We also strive to create inter-classroom collaborations that pair children and teachers from all programs together. Our Primary and Elementary children enjoy a variety of field trips and visitors throughout the year. Charity efforts and community service help our students understand generosity, kindness and compassion.
At IMSP, movement, creativity and visual and performing arts are viewed as an integral part of the curriculum. We incorporate the arts into cultural studies, history and other academic subjects. In addition, in the Elementary program experienced educators specializing in Visual Art, Music, Performing Arts and Physical Education deliver weekly lessons on their subjects. These engaging, developmentally appropriate lessons generally take place during the second half of the school day.
The Toddlers enjoy a Music and Movement class while our Primary students engage in Art and Music and Movement. The Elementary students participate in Music, Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Physical Education. In addition, we have several workshops each year to introduce students to specialized areas of arts, culture and science; past examples include Textile Arts, African Drumming or Indonesian Music.
In the Montessori classroom, we stress many important characteristics such as Independence, Confidence, Inventiveness and Individuality. Maria Montessori said it was the creative mind that harnessed one’s power to solve problems. Art education attempts to inspire and support those same virtues. This year, we have expanded our art program by having specialists in the artistic field lead monthly innovative workshops. Not only does this give the children the opportunity to expand on their idea of art and who is “an artist”, but it also allows them to explore their own creative abilities. Some children (and many adults) may not identify themselves as creative or artistic, yet everyone has the ability to create and is their own unique artist. It is only a matter of finding one's own style, inner passion, and creativity. The goal of exposing the children to various styles, methods, and techniques, is to allow the students to explore their own skills and personal connection to their creativity.
Art expands far beyond pencils and paint brushes. Exposing the children to textiles, mono-printing, sculpture, recycled art, to name a few mediums, allows the students to connect to their own artistic niche and personal skill set. It allows them to understand art as a multidimensional concept which comes in various forms, shapes, size and textures, just like people. It is not a matter of being like everyone else, but recognizing and harvesting one’s own skill set and ability. They may then enjoy the wonderful experience of expressing themselves creatively! The various workshops give the students a chance to see how each artist is different and has found their own way to explore their creativity as well as the right tools to express themselves.
Art can serve as a tool for the children to get to know themselves in a deep and meaningful way; to discover their ideas, emotions, imagination and individual talents. There is no right or wrong in the creative arts. Thus, practicing can help children to develop tenacity and risk taking in trying new things, creating for the sake of creation without having to identity with a correct answer. Montessori allows the child to discover themselves in all areas of the classroom and art is no different. Art allows them to go into themselves, getting to know their inner and creative self, finding the courage to explore and express that energy. Exploring new methods and points of view, they learn to trust themselves, building a confidence in themselves and their own mental “tool belt.”
Children are given the opportunity to connect to their passions, individuality and innovation in creating pieces that represent their personality, insights and own unique ideas. They are given the chance to connect to others and share with their peers, recognizing each other's differences and vast skills sets. As we continue to explore our own art program, we aim to support the children in becoming unique individuals who trust in their own ability, enjoy the creative process and gain a deep understanding of themselves.
IMSP helps students understand and become aware of their relationship with the universe. We model peace and the responsibility we have for shaping the future. We embrace caring and sharing with others. Students are introduced to the importance of seeing themselves, not as self-engrossed individuals, but as peacekeepers and caretakers of the universe. As a result, we have a strong community service focus for our students throughout the year.
Over the last several years, we have been closely cooperating with the CHODOV ELDERLY HOME, the THOMAYER HOSPITAL CHILDREN'S CENTRE, and the DRIFTING ANGELS ORPHANAGE in Ghana. Our students plan and organize special events, raise funds, collect items, and visit within the communities; they get to see first-hand the impact of their actions, and meet those they help.
Outdoor recess and play are a necessary part of a school day. Time spent in the fresh air is refreshing, gets the blood circulating and stimulates both body and mind! We expect children to play outside daily for close to an hour, except in very inclement weather.
Our full-day Primary students participate in a creative and child-focused Movement class once a week. Our Movement program is adventurous, playful and celebratory, with creative activities to match children's joyful spirits
At IMSP, we integrate technology in the classroom to enhance and deepen the learning process. We believe that if used as a tool to support curricular goals, technology promotes active engagement, collaboration and authentic learning at the Elementary level. IMSP teachers and students use innovative tools that complement and extend our curriculum. Integrating technology in meaningful ways, we strive to prepare our students to contribute in a complex global society. Computer literacy, critical research ability and correct body posture are just some of the skills that they will carry throughout their lives.
We also believe that certain modern technology is not appropriate until the Elementary years. Instead, in our Toddler and Primary classrooms, we provide materials and an environment that offers an interactive sensorial experience. The student is allowed to explore the world and herself without becoming overwhelmed and overstimulated.
The IMSP "culture of creativity" permeates every classroom. The foundation of the Montessori approach is based on the recognition of the child’s creativity and his need for an environment that encourages rather than limits this creativity. Music, art, storytelling, movement and drama are incorporated throughout the curriculum. In addition, the Montessori Method stimulates creativity by developing the perception, judgment, and skills necessary to express thought and emotions, as well as the ability to appreciate this talent in others. Dr. Montessori encouraged children to work creatively, not only in the more obvious areas of art and music, but also language, mathematics and all the other academic disciplines.
Within a safe and empowering community, Montessori children learn at the deepest possible level to believe in themselves. In an atmosphere of independence within community and personal empowerment, they never lose their sense of curiosity and innate ability to learn and discover. Confident in themselves, they open up to the world around them and find that mistakes are not something to be feared; instead, they represent endless opportunities to learn from experience.
As such, creativity and creative problem solving are integral parts of daily life at all grade levels. In our academic curriculum we challenge our students to become problem solvers and creative thinkers by constantly asking them:
to take risks
to take another look at things they think they already know
to find unique ways to present their knowledge to others