A letter to prospective parents of our school from the Owner and Director
I am the owner, director, as well as a teacher, of Rockland Montessori School (formerly, The Rockland Nursery School) which has been caring for children in our community for over 65 years now. I bought the school 19 years ago in my quest to achieve my dream of having my own school to create the perfect learning environment for young children, the perfect environment for a teaching staff to fulfill their goals, a little bubble if you will, encasing a world of goodness and harmony for children, teachers, and parents to enjoy! My mission statement for the Rockland is as follows:
Children are our most precious gifts in life! Our objective at the Rockland is to make a child’s first schooling experience a positive one by providing a nurturing and supportive environment in which a child can grow and develop socially, academically, cognitively, and emotionally.
I truly believe that each child born is a small miracle, bringing the most unique combination of talents and abilities, and energy that will forever change our world, and all who will come into contact with this child, and eventually this adult! That is why our task in bringing up these children and teaching these children is so monumental. And more important that any other time in this child’s life is the first six years. A child learns more in the first six years than he will ever learn in six years for the rest of his life. Recent brain research actually provides us with a scientific fact of how a child is able to consume so much knowledge in these years. Information is passed through the brain by a process called a nerve “synapse” which allows the brain to assimilate the information. Up until about six years old, the nerve endings in the brain are not yet crystallized, allowing an easy transfer of information from one part of the brain to another through the nerve synapse.
In the first six years of life, a child learns his language (or sometimes several languages), learns how to communicate feelings and ideas, learns about his culture, about animals, plants, trees, growing cycles, seasons, weather, families strangers, living and non-living things, what can be eaten, how to use all his physical abilities in walking, running, crawling, etc. He becomes independent, makes his own friends with peers, begins to develop a moral awareness of good and bad and the consequences of a bad decision. He learns about his environment, his society, family holidays and traditions, math concepts, science concepts, expresses himself through artistic endeavors with pictures and drawings and paintings. And this is really just the tip of the iceberg in the amount of knowledge a child assimilates in this most important introduction to his life!
The following are my goals with respect to what each child should experience in their first school.
A child should:
- be enveloped in a warm, colorful, and beautiful environment with lots of sunlit windows through which they can observe nature, seasons, weather, birds and squirrels, their world, if you will.
- be treated as the most precious entity in the whole world, with respect and dignity and warmth, with individuality and patience, acceptance, with kindness and gentleness, and love.
- always be treated in a positive manner, be exposed to laughter, and a general attitude of lightheartedness, so as to develop a healthy response to life’s lessons, to feel confident at trying something new without the fear of failure.
- be exposed to curriculum that challenges the mind and the intellect, that fosters curiosity, encourages language, develops listening and concentration skills, develops critical thinking skills, provides discovery through exploration.
- be provided learning experiences that are exciting, fun, and real, so that they learn about their world in a real and meaningful way, and are able to use their five senses to explore and experience the material by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching (the way we all learn about our world).
- be treated as a totally unique individual blessed with varying degrees of strengths and abilities in all areas of development, i.e: language and communication skills, fine and gross motor skills, listening skills, cognitive awareness, level of social interaction with peers and adults, etc. and should therefore be provided with the special guidance necessary to address those individual needs in specific areas, and to provide individual skill building activities in all areas of development.
- be provided with experiences to enhance his social development as part of a social community, and that provide him with opportunities to interact with all sorts of personalities – funny, serious, active, passive, verbal, non- verbal, etc., and to therefore learn how to negotiate with different personalities, to accept all different kinds of personalities, and to ultimately give him control over his world in being able to communicate with, to interact with, and to work with all kinds of people, as children, and then hopefully, as adults.
- be exposed to all kinds of cultures and peoples of the earth so as to develop the awareness that we are all alike in so many ways, e.g. we all eat food, we all live someplace, we all wear clothes, we all have families, we all have bodies, we all have cultural traditions, – and that we are all different in so many ways. e.g. we all eat different food, we all live in different places, we all wear different kinds of clothes, we all have different families (and the make-up of each of our families is also different with some families having siblings and some not, some with just one parent and some with two, etc.), we all have different looking bodies, and we all celebrate different holidays and traditions. And the fact that we are all alike and all different at the same time is truly a wonderful and marvelous thing to be respected and appreciated!
- learn about our earth, our resources, our environment so as to develop an awareness of conserving our precious resources, understand the importance of recycling, of keeping our air and water clean, and the importance of our forests, our rainforests, the habitat of animals so necessary to keep their species alive, and to therefore develop a respect for all life and the environment that sustains them.