Over 100 years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children learn best by doing. Her extensive research produced a teaching method, which matches teaching styles to the intellectual, emotional, and social development of children.
As a Montessori school, we are different from conventional schools. Our first commitment is to the multi-dimensional development of the child. Our curriculum is challenging and appropriate. Parents of our graduates tell us that their children are ready and well prepared for high school and are poised for successful futures in college and life in the 21st century.
At GMS, we believe a Montessori education is truly a gift for each child, and we will do everything in our power through our Parent-Teacher-Child Partnership to support the independence and education of the whole child; academically, socially and emotionally.
The Parent-Teacher-Child Partnership was developed by a group of faculty, staff and parents who worked together to craft a bold statement about what it means to be a partner in your child’s education at GMS. Students, parents, faculty and staff are all members of the GMS learning environment and play an integral role in the development of each student and ultimately each graduate. The Partnership defines what parents, the child, and the school should expect of each throughout the child’s educational journey at GMS. As a current or prospective GMS parent, we want parents and partners who:
Parent-Teacher-Child Partnership Expectations chart - CLICK HERE
Our Portrait of a Graduate describes what a long-term GMS student will become: a 14 year old who is confident, creative, motivated and loves learning. A GMS graduate is a critical thinker, a problem solver, and a peacemaker, has awareness and facility with a second language, and practices stewardship and care for the environment.
Our graduates have continued their educations at the following high schools where they are praised as confident, intelligent and independent thinkers who are self-motivated, compassionate and highly respectful of others.
Our older graduates have continued onto the following colleges and universities:
American University , Appalachian State University , Berklee College of Music, Campbell University, Columbia University, Duke University, Edward Lang College The New School, Elon University, East Carolina University , George Washington University, Georgia Tech , Goucher College, Guilford Technical Community College, Harvard University, High Point University, Hollins University, Johnson & Wales University , Kansas City Art Institute, Linkopings Universitet (Sweden) , New York University , North Carolina State University, Salem College, The New School (NYC), University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Virginia Intermont College and Western Carolina University
Frequently Asked Questions about Montessori
What is Montessori?
This system of education promotes both a philosophy for children’s growth and a rationale for guiding such growth. It is based on fostering the child’s developmental needs for independence, self-sufficiency and freedom within limits. Carefully prepared learning environments guarantee exposure to materials and experiences that develop intelligence as well as physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is designed to take full advantage of self-motivation and the unique abilities of young children to develop their own potential. A Montessori teacher acts more as a guide and facilitator rather than an instructor in the traditional sense. In this approach to education, it is believed that children need adults to reflect with them on the possibilities inherent in their learning and their lives, but children themselves must direct their own responses and take responsibility for their choices.
How did Montessori begin?
Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman to graduate from the University of Rome Medical School, became interested in education as a physician treating “retarded” children. She refined her approach through careful observation of children engaged in learning situations and began work with “normal” children in 1907 when she was invited to organize schools in an impoverished area of San Lorenzo, Italy which was undergoing reconstruction. Over time, Dr. Montessori shared her knowledge with others interested in educating young children and her philosophy spread throughout Europe and the United States.
How has Montessori education been introduced in the United States?
The Montessori method was introduced in this country around 1912 as early schools were founded in homes such as that of Alexander Graham Bell. Though initially the approach toward children’s learning was received with enthusiasm, interest in Montessori waned as schools began to emphasize play and social interaction for young children over the development of intellectual skills for learning. Dr. Nancy McCormick Rambusch reintroduced the Montessori approach in 1958 as the educational climate in the United States began to change due to an increasing interest in the psychological and developmental growth of children. The unique Montessori system of education has enjoyed a tremendous resurgence of interest since the 1960s, as teacher training programs and schools have expanded throughout the United States.
Is it expensive?
The cost of establishing a Montessori classroom is probably higher than a traditional classroom because of the precision and quality demanded in the manufacture of Montessori materials. Traditionally, Montessori schools are independent from state funding sources and therefore must charge tuition. The Trustees of Greensboro Montessori work very hard to keep the cost of educating children within reasonable limits while not subverting the quality of the curricular offerings.
Please refer to our tuition schedule for our individual school program cost. Fees for field trips are not included in the annual tuition cost:
Is it for all children?
Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that Montessori can work well with a wide variety of learning styles, ability levels, and families of various socio-economic levels. At GMS we have observed that the children who work well in our environment, and within the structure of our student to teacher ratio, are those who have an internal sense of discipline and can work independently. Montessori classrooms have an abundance of hands-on materials, accommodate children at many different levels of learning, and encourage freedom of movement within the classroom. Students who have a difficult time maintaining focus on their work, who require an inordinate amount of teacher input and direction, who are easily distracted, or who cannot handle transitions well may not find the classrooms suitable for them.
Is the child free to do what he or she chooses in the classroom?
The child is free to move about the classroom at will, to talk to other children, to work with any of the equipment he or she understands, or to ask the teacher to introduce new materials to him or her. The child is not free to disturb other children at their work or to abuse the materials. The older children are accountable for the choices they make and how they use their time.
What does the teacher do?
The teacher works with individual children introducing materials and giving guidance where needed. His or her primary task is to observe children very carefully in order to determine their individual needs and to gain the knowledge needed in preparing the environment to aid each child’s growth. The method of teaching is indirect in that it neither imposes upon the child as in direct teaching, nor abandons the child as in a non-directive permissive approach. Rather, the teacher is constantly alert to the direction in which a child has indicated he or she wishes to go, and actively works to help the child achieve his or her goals. In the upper levels, there are group lessons in reading and math. Such lessons, in conjunction with lessons in the cultural subjects (history, art, music, fundamental needs of people, and so forth) are conducted on a regular basis. There is also considerable time given to students who need individual attention.
What does Montessori do for the child?
Observers of children in Montessori schools (and those who have gone on to venues other than Montessori schools) have described them as having developed self-discipline, independence, self-knowledge, academic skills, enthusiasm for learning, and an organized approach to solving problems.
What happens when children go from a Montessori class to a traditional class?
Montessori children usually adjust readily to new classroom situations. This is because they have developed a high degree of self-discipline and independence in their Montessori environments. Also, children have a high degree of adaptability and can assimilate into and accommodate different situations, including sitting at desks arranged in rows.
Why do Montessori classrooms have mixed age groups in one class?
Children learn from one another. This can be seen in family and play situations where children are free to observe and interact in a variety of activities. Young children learn higher-level cognitive and social skills not only through their own mental development, but also by observing others as models. Multi-age grouping helps children develop a sense of community and supports social development. Older children act as role models and (sometimes) teachers of younger children. This aids in the development of personality, collaboration, and cooperation. Montessori classrooms have used mixed age groupings for over 100 years. At GMS the age groupings are as follows: Toddlers— 18 months to 3 years; Primary—3 to 6 years; Lower Elementary (Lower El)—6 to 9 years; Upper Elementary (Upper El)—9 to 11 years (4th and 5th grades); and Middle School—11 to 14 years (6th, 7th and 8th grades).
The Greensboro Montessori School Strategic Plan "Vision 2020"
In 2010 the Board of Trustees engaged in a year-long process of updating the Strategic Plan for GMS. The plan, entitled “Vision 2020” will serve as the "road map" for the school over the next ten years. A key objective of the new strategic plan was to create a definitive vision for our near-term future. With input from numerous stakeholders, including faculty, staff, parents, students and interested community members, a vision statement, entitled “Vision 2020” was crafted which will position GMS for a strong future. The Strategic Plan was written to support our Vision 2020. We invite you to review the plan and as always, welcome your comments and feedback.
By 2020, The Greensboro Montessori School will be the premier steward for sharing the Montessori philosophy in the Southeast, funded by a $5 million endowment. This vision will enable GMS to provide an unsurpassed Montessori educational experience by being more efficient, effective, inclusive, innovative, and representative of the Montessori philosophy.
GMS Priorities 2010-2020:
GMS continuously engages in a process of planning, implementing, assessing, and improving its programs and operations while serving as a champion for the development of the Montessori philosophy in the Southeast. Our strategic direction for the 2010-2020 will be guided by the following priorities:
1. Efficiency and Effectiveness
a. Employ and recruit the best faculty and staff to promote the Montessori method in our curriculum and programs
2. Expanding our Community
a. Effectively market GMS to our target market and greater Greensboro community
3. Unique Qualities
a. Celebrate student/staff diversity, foster environmental education through the Land Lab experience, upgrade physical facilities and sustainability efforts, provide state-of-the-art technology and equipment throughout GMS
4. Innovation and Recognition
a. Become the resource for Montessori education in the Southeast
b. Raise $5 million endowment by 2020
c. Leverage Environmental Education and Land Lab benefits with the greater Greensboro community
Useful Greensboro Montessori School Links
American Montessori Society
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association of Independent Schools
North American Montessori Teachers Association
North Carolina Association of Independent Schools
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Triad Association of Non-Public Schools
Who is Maria Montessori?
GMS Upper Elementary School Homework System:
The History of The Greensboro Montessori School
In 1974, three Greensboro mothers, seeking an environment of educational self-discovery for their pre-school children, formed a cooperative nursery with one hired teacher. The school took the name of The Greensboro Language Center and the following year became incorporated as a non-profit Montessori school. In 1978, the directors approved a merger with the Friendly Avenue Montessori School and changed its name to the Greensboro Montessori School. Prior to moving to its current location in 1989, the school rented facilities at the First Moravian Church and later a small building behind Guilford Middle School. Since its inception in 1974, our school has grown from one three to six year old primary classroom of twelve children to more than 200 students and 55 staff.