“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission…as we watch we shall be reminded of. ”Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” That is to say, “Do not hinder them from coming, since, if they are left free and unhampered, they will come.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
In 2017, St. Louis Catholic School added a Catholic Montessori track for early childhood students. This program was the first of its kind in the Diocese of Austin and allows parents a choice of traditional early childhood or Montessori methods. The Montessori program began by serving children in the primary years (ages 3 to 6) and with enough interest and support will continue through elementary (ages 6 to 9).
What is a Montessori Education?
A Montessori education focuses on individual progress and development. Each student is encouraged and supported to learn at his or her own pace, moving to the next lesson in each area when he or she is ready. In addition to individual development is the learning that comes from peer collaboration. A Montessori education supports and guides an inclusive nurturing community. The specially trained Montessori guide, is less a teacher and is more of an observer. The guide follows the child through observation and interaction and works to serve the academic and faith formation needs of the individual child as well as the community of children as a whole.
The classroom environment is carefully prepared and specifically designed to meet the age appropriate developmental needs, interests, and abilities of the children. Open space to move, natural light and beautiful furnishings, all set the tone of the classroom design to best enable each student to successfully journey toward their greatest potential.
Materials in the Montessori classroom are designed to entice spontaneous, self-directed activity and active experiential learning. Direct hands-on contact with either real things or concrete models bring abstract concepts to life allowing the child to develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.
A Montessori child enjoys considerable freedom of movement and freedom of choice. These freedoms exist within carefully designed limits set by the environment and by the guide. When limits are ignored, positive discipline practices include firm ground rules for the community, redirection, and natural consequences.
Maria Montessori was a devout Catholic and integrated Catholicism throughout the original environment. She envisioned how catechesis could be approached in this way as well. Collaborators (Biblical scholars, priests, Montessori guides) along with the children have since developed the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Through the prepared environment of the atrium and aid of a formed catechist, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd helps the relationship between God and the child to flourish.
What is the family’s role?
The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is a component of the Catholic Montessori Program at St. Louis Catholic School. It helps the individual child grow closer to God, in prayer, in spirit and in life. The Atrium environment, the catechist role, and special materials are all designed and prepared in the spirit of Montessori.
A Montessori education is designed to cultivate academically competitive scholars, enthusiastic lifelong learners, and future adults ready and empowered to serve the world communities of tomorrow.
Parents are required to attend parent education classes in the fall and spring and support the mission of the school and Montessori program.
Sample Daily schedule
7:45 am School Begins
7:45 am ~ 8:15 am Monday School Devotional
7:45 am ~ 8:00 am Tuesday ~ Thursday ~ Morning Prayer
7:45 am ~ 9:00 am Friday ~ School Mass (Parents are encouraged to attend with their child.)
8:15(9:00 Fri) am ~ 12:00 pm Work Period
12:00 pm 3 and 4 Year Olds Dismissed
12:00 ~ 1:00 pm Recess and Lunch for Older Children
1:00 ~ 3:00 pm Work Period (to include; Art, Music and Library)
3:15 pm Dismissal
3:15 ~ 6:00 pm Extended Care (Optional)