About Montessori

Maria Montessori

montessoriItalian born Maria Montessori (1870-1952) began studying children as a medical doctor. Through scientific observation, Dr. Montessori learned that children develop cognitive skills in a nurturing environment filled with materials that stimulate their interest. She developed the Montessori Method based upon essential observable tenets:

  • Children's minds absorb information at an unprecedented rate from the age of birth to six years.
  • Children love to interact with people and objects in their environment and enjoy pursuing purposeful independent activity.
  • Children respond well to a cooperative and nurturing environment.
  • Children cultivate respect for children and adults when treated respectfully by others.

Montessori's educational philosophy, although decades old, is recognized around the world as a progressive approach that leads to a lifetime of academic excellence. As Montessori stated, "Education is not something which the teacher does…It is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his [or her] environment."

Montessori vs. Traditional

Montessori Education
Traditional Education
Individually-paced lessons that challenge children's critical thinking skills. Pre-designed lessons in designated time block.
Teacher guidance to facilitate activities in a timeframe most suitable to the needs of each child. Persistent teacher intervention to meet learning objectives in a predetermined time.
Cooperation and respect for each child's autonomy. Competition with peers to complete tasks quickly.
Emphasis on learning that is individually suited to each child's level of development. Emphasis on standardized learning objectives.
Individualized teaching for effectiveness. Routinized learning goals for efficiency.
Learning that connects to children's lives, allowing children to engage in higher brain functions, such as inductive and deductive logic and synthesis of ideas. Learning as fragmented pieces that exist for some purpose that the teacher understands.

Autonomy & Creativity

 dmwork 58Children's creativity is free flowing in this prepared environment. Children can try new activities without fear of reprimand or competition from others. This sense of safety facilitates intellectual development derived from choosing activities that capture and maintain children's interest, and self esteem that comes from accomplishing self-designated learning tasks. Joy is the pervasive emotion that governs children's work.


Respect & Order

 web respect and orderCentral to Montessori learning is the ethic of respect for self and others and respect for one's environment. Children learn the importance of approaching others politely and asking to join others in activities. These skills support a critical balance between autonomy and a cooperative community.

Choice and spontaneity, core principles of a Montessori education, are achieved in an orderly environment. Children exercise freedom within limits to facilitate a productive working environment for everyone.

A Teacher's Role

 DMteachers 16 web sizeThe teacher supports children's learning by preparing materials and a classroom climate of trust and support between the teacher and each child as well each child toward his or her peers. The teacher determines when to introduce new materials by observing each child's progress, taking notes, and presenting new ideas to individual children or small groups of children as indicated by their development.


Literacy Skills

dmthanksgiving 60 web size 2Literacy is essential to most aspects of school curriculum. It also presents opportunities for children to avail themselves to the knowledge and creativity of others. Hence, literacy is a critical part of the DMMS curriculum. Children learn the sounds of letters and ways that letters combine to form words. They engage in innovative activities in inventive writing. They see words in context not only in books but around the classroom as well. Children learn that reading and writing are avenues to wonderful and exciting adventures.

Math Curriculum

Math is far more than symbols and words on paper. Children learn to add and subtract by combining and taking away objects. They learn place value by seeing bead bundles that represent ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. They hold wooden spindles that can be divided into parts of a whole. Conceptual understanding of math is a natural outcome of activities that allow children to manipulate objects and see relationships. The symbolic representation on paper always follows a solid understanding of concepts derived from concrete objects.

Science Curriculum

Science is truly exciting when it is about physical properties that are learned through the experimentation of observing and testing, such as seeing the change in a stalk of celery when it is placed in a glass of red-colored water. Science allows children to label, define, and explain the processes and elements of life around them. It expands a child's vocabulary and vision of the world, indicating how the child can impact his or her environment. Children learn to articulate a question, derive theories, and then examine evidence to test their theories. The science experiments focus on impacting phenomena such as gravity, friction, motion, color and light. Experiments extend to other disciplines such as art, writing, and reading.

What Our Parents Say

  • Jamie & Ken B:  Too many great things to narrow it down to just a few lines! But we'll try!  We love that all the teachers and administrators are always smiling and positive - it sets the stage for a great learning environment for our child and let's us know that they truly care about all the children.

  • Keith W:  Moving here from the east coast, we were concerned about finding the proper level of education for our daughter. Dancing Moose was just opening and when we did our tour, Dr. Joyce impressed me with her professionalism,enthusiasm, and academic prowess. We started our daughter in the toddler class and never looked back. Now, four years later we have both our children in Dancing Moose and could not be more pleased. Not only is the education second to none, and I would apply that not to only utah, but the entire country, the family atmosphere is phenomenal. I would recommend Dancing Moose to all toddler to 2nd grade children.  I can not understand why anybody would go anywhere else.

  • Alexis J:  Aislynn loves going to school at Dancing Moose, she's excited every day to tell me or any other adult near her what she did in school that day.  I love the flexibility the teachers are allowed, how every student gets to work at their own pace and none of them seem overwhelmed or bored.

  • Cherie M:  I commute everyday to the Dancing Moose, usually about 20 minutes each way from my Holladay home. Though commuting is not my favorite activity, I have found it is worth every second of my time. My son, Liam Emsley, is so happy when I pick him up and drop him off, sometimes I have to convince him it is time to leave school and go home! The state of the art facility is top notch, the teachers are warm and friendly, the school lunch/snack program is the best I found when I was researching school options. Needless to say, I am a big fan of the Dancing Moose!

  • Michelle M:  Our family loves the Dancing Moose Montessori for so many reasons.  The most important reason, is that our son absolutely loves his teachers and the other staff. We love the diversity and acceptance of students and staff and we also love that the Moose is community oriented and working on a "green" future. 

  • Shannon C:  Transplants to UT from OR.  This is our second year at DMM.  We feel safe, comfortable, love coming to school everyday to learn from a FANTASTIC curriculum,  really enjoy the flavors from Chef Renee, organic gardening and most of all the consistent unconditional love from each teacher with our little ones!  Thank you Dancing Moose for providing my children a great early childhood educational experience!

  • Christian M:  Dancing Moose distinguishes itself in the quality of academic education the school provides to young children, and also in the environment it creates for learning to occur.  Perhaps most-importantly, our son loves it!

  • Chris P:  Some of the things I like best about Dancing Moose have nothing to do with what goes on in the classroom.  I like that the place is wind powered, has a community garden and has a chef making food from scratch every day.  These are manifestations of values which I hold dear.  I am happy that Dancing Moose shares these values.

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