Chesapeake Montessori School
Chesapeake Montessori School, founded in 1977 by Anne Locke, sits on a wooded site of nearly six acres, on Old Mill Bottom Road on the Broadneck Peninsula. CMS is a co-educational day school, accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale, the Association of Independent Maryland Schools, and the Maryland State Department of Education. Using the time-honored method developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, CMS provides a challenging, individualized program through the fifth grade. The school has before- and after-school programs as well as a summer enrichment program.
The youngest CMS children are toddlers, whose minds constantly absorb impressions from the environment, at first rather like a camera and then more self-consciously. The toddlers are continuing the process, begun at birth, of developing language, coordination of movement, and independence. At CMS all of this is facilitated by their active participation in the prepared environment of the Toddler community.
The Montessori Primary classes each have children of mixed ages spanning the 3 to 6 range. CMS offers two thoughtfully prepared Primary classrooms full of carefully designed materials and equipment. Each teacher is trained to observe every child and to present the activities and materials for which the child is ready. Most lessons are individualized. Our goal is that a child's experience in a Primary class be enjoyable and an aid to his/her developing independence. Children develop independence by learning to do things for themselves, to concentrate, to better use spoken language, to make increasingly coordinated movements, to read, to write, to grasp numbers, to be well mannered, and to make informed choices. Art and music are part of the curriculum, as is conversational French, which is offered to small groups twice each week. The three years spent in a Primary class also foster the development of a child's creativity, social skills, love of learning, and self-confidence.
The Elementary program builds upon the foundation laid in the Primary classes, and both Elementary classes-one Lower and one Upper-have children of mixed ages, spanning the ranges of 6 to 8, and 8 to 11. These children use their powers of abstraction to learn about things which they can not perceive directly; to work with other children on projects; and to work in an environment wider than the classroom (the outdoors, the resources of the community, etc.). Each child is helped to integrate various aspects of the curriculum and to explore everything from the origin of the earth to the reaches of outer space. Small-group lessons present the essentials of each subject in a way that will stimulate the child's desire to learn. The lessons use concrete or illustrative aids at first; then the child is shown how to work in the abstract. Many unique Montessori materials and activities are used to assist the child in making this transition.
In a Montessori Elementary class children are given additional lessons not necessarily included in the standard school curriculum, and exploration and research can take a child into much greater depth than is achieved in a standard classroom. Much of the work is done spontaneously; therefore, a child's knowledge is more likely to become a part of him or her. The Elementary curriculum covers reading, writing, math and geometry, physical and biological sciences, history, geography, art, drama, French, music, and physical education.
The school's faculty and staff value building good working relationships with parents, and they work to keep parents informed about the work of the children. All parents of CMS children are encouraged to become involved in the school. There are many opportunities for parents to volunteer: participating on PTO committees, serving on the Board of Trustees, driving/chaperoning children on school trips, helping with class gardens, providing an extra pair of hands in the Toddler class, or presenting an unusual lesson to one of the classes.
The Board of Trustees and the Strategic Planning Committee have been hard at work drafting a long-range plan that will allow the school to maintain its current strengths and at the same time offer improvements. Still in its initial phase, the plan calls for the addition of a third Primary class and a second Lower Elementary class. Plans for the Upper Elementary class include the addition of a sixth grade.
Please visit the school's website at www.chesapeake-montessori.com.