New Learning Tree utilizes Montessori techniques

Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2006


  Montessori directoress Katie Archer-Benner opens the new Learning Tree Montessori in Soldotna.

Montessori directoress Katie Archer-Benner opens the new Learning Tree Montessori in Soldotna.

Just up the road from Fred Myers in Soldotna a new Montessori based pre-school and kindergarten has been opened by Montessori directoress Katie Archer-Benner. “Montessori is a student centered classroom rather than a teacher centered classroom. We are there to direct not teach. For example I would present a particular lesson to a child then they get to chose whatever it is in the classroom that they want to work on. It’s up to them, they can work on science, math, language, or practical life it’s really up to them,” explained Benner. The new Learning Tree is accepting students from ages 3 6 and is able to accept up to 8 children at the facility, “We are licensed for 8 which makes the student to directoress ratio very low. We benefit greatly from the multi-aged classroom because we use the older children to peer teach the younger children, which reinforces what they are learning as well as empowers them and gives them the rewards of helping the younger ones learn. It creates a very natural learning environment,” said Benner.

The Montessori Method of teaching was created by Dr. Maria Montessori who was the first woman physician in Italy in the late 18 hundreds. “Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society”- Maria Montessori.

“Dr. Montessori gave the world a scientific method, practical and tested, for bringing forth the very best in young human beings. She taught adults how to respect individual differences, and to emphasize social interaction and the education of the whole personality rather than the teaching of a specific body of knowledge.” The Learning Tree offers specific subject areas that include practical life, sensorial, geography, science, language and mathematics curriculum, according to Benner. “We incorporate music and arts in our program exposing them classical artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and they get to create their own artist samples which allow them to become familiar with classical artists,” said Benner. Montessori directoress Katie Archer-Benner invites anyone interested to stop by for a tour or to call the school for more information at 260-3131. The Learning Tree is located on the first road past Fred Myers on the right heading north, one block past the new construction on the left.

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