When many of us think of schooling, we tend to imagine a teacher standing at the head of a classroom giving instructions and handing out materials. Students are then tested and graded based on how well they display their understanding of the material dictated by the instructor. The problem with this format is that it often reduces the richness of human experience and does not promote a sense of creativity. While children certainly retain some information from these lesson plans, they often forget most of the material they were tested on once they’ve passed the exam. Fortunately, today’s parents and curriculum coordinators are more aware of this issue and are tailoring programs to enhance the way our children learn. One local preschool, Apple Montessori Schools located in Hoboken, is among those who have already implemented such a program.
Working with kids from ages six months to six years, Apple Montessori focuses on creating a better classroom environment that is centered around the interests and learning needs of the students. The purpose of this environment is to help children maximize their ability to interact with and learn from the teaching materials at their own pace. Julie Rome, Apple Montessori’s curriculum coordinator, explains “I often think of it as a buffet table filled with delicious, appealing choices. One child may choose an almost obsessive interest in math for a few weeks and then become equally enthralled with ancient Egypt or story writing.” The idea behind this is to help kids develop skills such as personal responsibility, self-motivation, and concentration in addition to academics. While subjects like math and science are certainly important, it’s crucial to understand that these life skills hold equal weight in a growing mind. “Every activity has an academic purpose,” said Rome. “But underneath that there’s much more going on in terms of giving children the opportunity to practice completion of a work cycle or their social abilities.”
In addition to diverging from the public school and typical daycare pack, Apple Montessori of Hoboken also differs greatly from other Montessori schools by offering a mix of both traditional Montessori programs and modern programs. The curriculum offers a unique reading program that is not available elsewhere. The reading program itself is phonetic based, which helps children develop strong skills such as decoding words, letters, and sounds much earlier than is typical. The curriculum also encompasses creative enrichment programs that focus on areas such as music or art — pursuing these areas of interest of course, is up to the individual child. The goal of this is to honor the student’s interests, while still maintaining balance in the classroom. Graduates from schools such as Apple Montessori in Hoboken are accepted at all local private schools and those who choose public schools are often placed in advanced programs.
Children shouldn’t feel pressured; they should feel as if they’ve figured out a problem or method on their own. They should work productively yet have the opportunity to socialize responsibly with their peers. These are the areas and values that academic systems of the future look to strengthen. With schools such as Apple Montessori leading the way, students who enroll in these programs will experience more interesting ways to learn that differ from the traditional, outdated teaching format.
Apple Montessori of Hoboken also works with infants and toddlers in addition to their preschool and kindergarten formats. Their locations are at 1055 Maxwell Ln and 221 River St (opening 1/4/16). For more information or early enrollment contact them at 973-556-0482 or visit www.applemontessorischools.com. *Their $500 early enrollment discount for the new River St location ends on 11/30.
About the Author/s
Michael is the Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Digest, COO of X Factor Media, and an avid writer. Growing up in Bergen County, he discovered his passion for words while in Friday detention. Michael loves kayaking, a fat glass of Nebbiolo, and over-editing.