Program of Study
Background for Montessori Integrative Learning
There is a growing awareness that our current institutions, including educational institutions, are not addressing the world’s most pressing issues: ecological well-being, social justice, violence, alienation, and a lack of meaning and inspiration.
There is an extraordinary need for institutions to understand the new social reality. Educational programs, which have so much impact on the ability to effectively deal with these issues, have a particularly strong obligation in this regard. This M.Ed. in Montessori Integrative Learning draws on the ideas and practices of those who have deeply studied and wisely responded to today’s opportunities and problems.
Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was born in 1870. Throughout her early years she wanted to be a medical doctor, claiming she would never be a teacher. After focusing on the sciences and engineering during her secondary years she decided to enter Medical school. Turned away by the establishment she persisted until she gained entry.
Her initial work was with mentally challenged children in a psychiatric ward. Through her observations she determined that they were sensorially-deprived so she extended the ideas of Seguin and Itard by providing materials for the children to manipulate. In time, these hospitalized children learned to read and write at advanced levels. Her work gained world-wide attention.
In 1907 she opened the first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) in Rome Italy, where slum children were enrolled in order to remove them from the streets. Her experimental work produced miraculous results with children using concrete materials and blossoming into abstract learning — far beyond their years. It was a process based on observation of the child followed by the child’s self-education in a prepared environment.
As her insights concerning human development expanded, she became an outspoken activist for equal rights for women.
By the early 30s she was speaking to huge congresses about the nature of a peaceful society that could only emerge from a fundamental shift in the way we educate children.
And in the 1940s, with her son Mario Montessori at her side, she became convinced that every child needs to be immersed in the Story of the Universe as the largest context for living life in an interdependent “cosmic” world.
By the time of her death in 1952 she had developed a comprehensive framework for revolutionizing education — very far from the mainstream of conventional, governmental schooling. Instead of indoctrinating young people to become citizens of a nation her aim was to liberate the child from the entrapment of the adult in order to create a new and harmonious civilization
Questions that arise in Montessori Integrative Learning
What are the radical roots of the Montessori vision?
How do current scientific findings support and expand that vision?
What is a learning community and what capacities are evoked through participation?
In what ways can we bring a sense of community – local, regional and global – to the learning process?
How might cosmic education lead to systemic thinking, integrated learning and the creation of the new human as described by Maria Montessori?
Collaborative Learning Communities
During the last 20 years there has been a proliferation of courses and degrees offered under the umbrella of distance learning. For the most part these academic pursuits are similar to attending a conventional university. The professor lectures and gives out assignments, students submit papers, there are tests and there are grades.
In contrast we promote an integrative view hosted by a uniquely designed online education eCampus where students work in collaborative learning communities; where faculty are mentors and co-learners; where creativity and self-direction are valued; and where there is a an understanding of dialogue as process.
Hence, the course of study emulates the principles of the Montessori approach by setting an example for non-adversarial adult interaction. Communication embraces an appreciation for each person’s contribution to the learning process.
The Endicott-TIES eCampus uses Catalyst software which is a highly customizable social space for community development, collaborative learning, in-depth conversations, and systems-thinking in a supportive atmosphere that is focused and well-organized.
About the eCampus
The heart of the teaching and learning process relies on interactive dialogues accessible through state of the art conferencing software. Faculty and students meet in asynchronous classroom conferences, building upon one another’s insights and understanding.
Once signed-on to the eCampus, students have an opportunity to become an active member of an dynamic learning community – exchanging ideas and responding to dialogue with students and faculty from diverse cultures and countries. There are formal and informal meetings in community journals that are relevant to current life experience.
Faculty-practitioners advise and mentor students throughout the program. Most graduates and students will tell you that the on-line community becomes a second “home” for gathering with people who share a common vision.
Maria Montessori’s approach to education is based on the formation of a prepared environment for each plane of development. This web-based Internet medium offers adults a prepared environment where content and process are integrated.
eCampus activities include: meaningful interaction through directed readings; pondering provocative questions posed by faculty and students; replying to postings of other students; and online dialogues. These dialogues embrace the spirit and intent of the work of J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm.
Montessori Foundation Emphasis Options
- Montessori Emphasis Area for Practitioners
Individuals that have completed their Montessori certification may apply for the Emphasis Area option. Emphasis Area students are enrolled for three semesters choosing a particular focus to supplement the core syllabus. One chooses a particular project or a burning interest and situates it within the context of Montessori Integrative Learning. The faculty will help provide the resources for that exploration. Examples from previous students include: Cosmic Education, The Art of Observation, Parent Education, Adolescent Learning, Outdoor Environment – Gardening, Teaching Sustainability, Art and Music, Ecological Literacy, Special Needs, Earth Literacy and Storytelling. These examples are provided to demonstrate the diversity of interests that have been approved for study.
- Montessori School Leadership
This course of study is designed for lead teachers, heads of school, principals and members of school boards as well as other individuals who are interested
in advancing Montessori ideas, but may not have a Montessori teaching credential. The preparation of the adult who has leadership responsibilities in a Montessori community is dynamically different in scope to ones engaged in other forms of education. There needs to be cohesion and congruence between the school or community leader and the values and vision inherent to the Montessori approach.
- Joint Enrollment with Partnership Programs
Enrolling in this option requires that you are planning to attend an approved Montessori Teacher Preparation course (see Approved Partner Programs). Enrollment must be simultaneous in order to receive graduate credit for your work. Write to TIES at Endicott for more details.
- Working with Children from Six to Twelve Years of Age
This option is designed for people who do not have a Montessori elementary credential and have access to Montessori classes. Many who enroll in this option have either been a classroom assistant or have been working as a Montessori teacher without any formal preparation. Others are people who can only access learning through an online environment, or administrators who need this background to carry out their responsibilities.
Integrative Learning Seminars
The core material and course work is presented through a series of on-line seminars where students and faculty post responses to an assigned reading (or viewing). Subsequent to the initial posting, participants comment and weave responses, searching for new insights. Quite often the authors of the required books and/or experienced scholars are available during the on-line dialogue.
The integrative seminars and course work are divided into three sections.
I. The Context
This includes readings from a variety of sources that set the context for a deeper understanding of the Montessori approach – science, cultural anthropology, cosmology, qualitative research, cultural history, social science and social transformation.
II. Montessori Theory
In these segments Maria and Mario Montessori’s world-view is explored, including the major influences in their lives. “Love, Science and Spirituality” are the words Mario used to describe the approach.
With these keystones the course of study explores the role of observation, the formation of the teacher, sensitive periods, human needs and tendencies, the four planes of development and the prepared environment. The prepared environment addresses the creation of the inside and outside physical environment as well as the classroom “atmosphere.” Also included are the ways that adults and children work together.
III. Experiential Learning (Practicum)
The nature of the practicum is based on the option you have chosen.
Emphasis Area students take their new knowledge and apply it in a real setting.
The teaching practicum for students enrolled in the Montessori Teacher Preparation option involves presenting lessons across all areas of study and reflecting upon what was learned from this experience. Students also explore the process of creating Montessori lessons that respond to the needs of the child. Cosmic stories form the foundation for of this work.
All students are required to complete a 150 hour experiential learning component.
A sample of an integrative seminar dialogue can be accessed from the download section at the bottom of this page.
Our premise is that humanity has the possibility of reclaiming a sustainable relationship with the Earth. One of the processes of communication that makes this possible is dialogue. In this case we refer to a variation on a particular form of dialogue described by Physicist, David Bohm. Bohm’s constant thread that particularly relates to our dialogue is that we are investigating the possibilities for:
- The emergence of shared meaning
- Increasing awareness of our own and others assumptions
- Increasing sensitivity and willingness to “listen”
- The creation of space between our reaction and our response
- A willingness to experiment with the principles described
Our approach to dialogue is enhanced through the medium of the eCampus. Some graduates have called this a transformative experience.
Throughout the three semesters faculty and students also engage in telephone conference calls.
This Masters in Montessori is the foundation creates a strong foundation for teachers, administrators of the PhD aspirant.