by Jasmine Bullock
Education is the foundation of our society. Finding a quality school is paramount to many parents and it starts when children are babies. The Today’s Future, Tomorrow’s Promise Montessori School (TFTP), located at 5070 Parkside Avenue, is providing the quality service families are looking for. As the only Montessori school within a two mile radius, TFTP is providing something new and refreshing to the community for early learners. The Montessori teaching method dates back to 1907 when Dr. Maria Montessori began the Children’s House in a low income district in Rome. She began her school based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. The Montessori method of education focuses on five pillars. They are uninterrupted work periods, multi-aged classrooms, child directed work, use of Montessori materials and properly trained Montessori instructors.
TPTF moved to the Parkside neighborhood three years ago. It was the perfect location for the school because of the growth taking place in the area. The school started with one child and has grown to approximately 40 children. Approximately 25% of the currently enrolled children are residents of the area. Head of School, Florence Churchill, decided to focus on the Montessori teaching because it is a calmer form of teaching that helps to mold children into responsible, independent individuals. This is the same response the other eight educators and staff had about the teaching philosophy and the environment TPTF offers to its families. TPTF currently caters to three age groups, infants, toddlers age 2-3 and preschoolers age 4-5. With the growth of the school, TPTF is looking to add Kindergarten to their curriculum. In Montessori tradition, student’s transition from class to class based not only on their age but their academic ability. Churchill rejoiced in saying “That is the beauty of Montessori! We look at the individual student to see where they are and move forward based on their ability.”
“Montessori is purposeful and deliberate for the development of the child,” said Florence Churchill. The infant room provides care for babies and 1 year olds that includes tummy time, story time and group and individual play. The room is divided into sections that cater to different activities. The toddler classroom at TPTF is considered a Montessori inspired classroom. The children have the opportunity to play but they also learn life skills. The classroom caters to the child. All the supplies are height appropriate allowing for the children to develop in a real world setting. The preschool classroom is considered a Montessori classroom. It is separated into six sections that have different themes. While in this setting, the young learners continue learning skills for practical life and also begin formal academics.
A staple in the Montessori classroom is organization. The structured classrooms not only make teaching easier, but also help teach children to focus. During instruction time, children work independently. While students have the freedom to move freely throughout the classroom to satisfy the never-ending energy of a young person, there is always one student per working table or learning mat. Not only does this help with building focus it begins to teach the child about personal space.
TPTF prides itself in taking advantage of all the opportunities the community has to offer. They frequently expose the children to the cultural institutions in the area. They have also expanded life skills lessons by visiting local businesses such as Shop Rite and Monster Pets, allowing the children to have age appropriate nutrition and veterinary workshops. School Leader, Florence Churchill communicated that TPTF caters to the entire family unit. They encourage parents to be involved in their children’s education from an early age. School personnel provide families with materials that explain the Montessori pedagogy in the hopes of some of the strategies being used in the home. Parents have also organized a PTA where they sponsor monthly cultural events for the children. The fathers have a group, Fathers Lead, Fathers Read, where they read to the school children regularly.
TPTF moved into the community to reach children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get a Montessori education based on location or economic status. With this goal inspiring everything they do, TPTF is quickly becoming a staple in the community balancing the extensive educational opportunities offered to young people in the area. To find out more about Today’s Promise Tomorrow’s Future visit their website at www.todayspromisemontessori.com