The three-year developmental cycle is at the very heart of the Montessori educational experience for our students at Montessori Tides School. It is what assures both the student and teacher success and it is one of the features that set our educational programming a part from others.
Dr. Montessori concluded through her observation, a child is born with all the necessary features to become an individual, and passes through different planes of development in 3-year cycles. Grouping children into these three-year cycles not only corresponds to the stages of human development, but also brings maximum benefit for the child. Which is what our school is all about-The Child.
Any one who has gone off to college or made career changes or moved to a new country or home location will tell you how stressful the move can be and the time it takes to get well adjusted. Well when a child begins their school journey in these early years they go thorough similar challenges except without adult reasoning and understanding of their new surroundings. Changing teachers every year requires the child to adjust to a new room, different teachers; whom all have different expectations and styles in which they teach. Making these changes in these early years adds unnecessary challenges for the child. Having a child remain in the same class and with the same teacher through the full three-year cycle is monumental in decreasing these obstacles. In this way, we free the child to concentrate on the learning process without having to spend as much time getting to know a new adult and a new environment.
There is another very important benefit of the three-year cycle. It allows the formation of a very special teacher-student bond to develop, giving the child excellent experience in adult social relationships. Paula Polk Lillard, In Montessori Today, emphasized. “ The possibilities for depth of relationship, positive influence by the teacher, and modeling of behavior are greatly increased. Further, it is possible for the teacher to relax and enjoy teaching the child. There are three years in which the child can reach the goals for formation. The teacher can be patient and have faith in each child’s natural rhythm of development.” Naturally the more time a teacher has with the child, the more understanding is gained, giving her the ability to base the education on each individuals child’s needs.
We are laying the foundation for the child’s entire educational life, so we believe this is accomplished through direct relationships between a child and the key adults in his or her life. I’m often reminded; it’s not what you know, but whom you know that builds this strong foundation. From my experience children who have completed all three-year cycles in a Montessori school become very well adjusted emotionally and socially. One of the obvious reasons behind this, a Montessori child will experience three good teachers over the course of nine years. Opposed to filtering through nine teachers in convectional schooling. This is one of the main benefits of the three-year cycle. Next we will discuss the unique responsibility and opportunity Montessori Tides student experience as they move through the three-year cycle.