Establishing enduring peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of the war.” – Dr. Maria Montessori
Last week, Alcuin celebrated the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. A United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on September 21st, it is a day that aims to reduce violence and strengthen the ideals of peace worldwide. And did you know it is a perfect complement to Montessori’s Peace Education?
A lifelong pacifist, Dr. Maria Montessori believed that by raising generations of children who embraced living respectfully and having peaceful lives, they would contribute to future world peace. Dr. Montessori felt that with each passing generation, the hope for a more peaceful world grew and grew. After spending a lifetime working with children and developing her pedagogy, She understood the link between the education of our younger generations and world peace. However, this growth and evolution doesn’t just happen naturally. Dr. Montessori believed that children could contribute to peace, global citizenship, social justice, equity, and equality, but they must be shown lessons to create this change. We must aid the child in their commitment to peace and understanding.
Morning drop-off at our Roosevelt campus is always a whirlwind of activity as the infants and toddlers begin their day. Gia smiles and waves shyly but walks in with ease. Elli stops to point everything out in the lobby, enjoying the stroll to his room. Tiny Phia grasps at her own hands and becomes more alert as she begins to drink in the world around her. Each child settles into their routine within a space they see as welcoming and safe.
Alcuin Montessori has had an infant or toddler program of some sort since the 1990s, but our full-time, all-year program officially launched in October 2019 at our brand new Roosevelt campus. Apart from all-star care, this DCFS-licensed program provides learning experiences in an environment that is cheerful, inviting, and rich with opportunities to explore. Alcuin is not a daycare, but rather a school with a full Montessori curriculum.
Toddlers explore their burgeoning independence while they work on care of self and their environment. Classroom shelves are low and easily accessible with beautiful works that encourage exploration. They learn to dress themselves, help one another with zippers and coats, bus their dishes, tend to the classroom plants, and lovingly wash the baby doll. There is a steady hum of activity as busy hands get to work. Toddlers develop their cognitive skills while they focus for long periods and sit, wholly engaged, in whatever lesson they are receiving.
For infants, the setting is homelike with soft rugs, a rocking chair, books arrayed on low shelves, and toys in baskets. The space is organized and uncluttered. The infants explore the cylinder blocks, push toys, and manipulate objects. They begin to work on drinking from a cup—not a sippy cup, but a child-sized cup. Gross motor work includes bars for pulling up, mirrors to reflect body movement, a sleeping area with individual cribs, and child-sized tables and chairs rather than high chairs. It’s a beautiful world curated with them in mind.
Infant and toddler’s brain develop more quickly during their first three years than at any other time, and this incredible time in their lives sets the foundation for their absorbent mind and all future learning. Their minds absorb! The children watch and grow. They form strong relationships with their teachers and the other children, and learn to love their community.
Part of my time spent at Alcuin is checking in the infant and toddler children every day. I do their health screenings and walk them into their classrooms. It is my favorite part of the morning. Vair waves goodbye to his father as he rushes to class to take off his outside shoes all by himself. Cleo insists on carrying the heavy snack bags, even though it is quite the feat. Zel, who is still somewhat new, strides in—her confidence growing more and more each day. Oh, to have the amount of self-trust, enthusiasm, and strength our infants and toddlers display—the smallest of role models; small but mighty. We could learn a lot from them.
Director of Admissions and Advancement
To learn more about our infant and toddler program, please contact Alex at email@example.com.
On Tuesday, October 1st, Alcuin Montessori hosted our annual High School Night. At this event, parents were able to learn about different high school options for their children. This year, representatives from Trinity, Fenwick, Nazareth Academy, Wolcott, GCE Lab School, Beacon Academy, and OPRF were able to join us. Parents learned about admissions requirements, testing dates, and application procedures and had some of their burning questions answered. Our favorite part of the evening, however, was the panel discussion made up of Alcuin alumni who shared some of their high school experiences.
Hillary Y., class of 2016 and a senior at Trinity High School, stated she felt Alcuin prepared her more than other students because, “The expectation [at Alcuin] was so much higher and… going into Trinity was very, very seamless. I felt super prepared, and the workload was something that I didn’t have difficulty with.”
Vincent V., class of 2019, and a freshman at Nazareth Academy, stated the daily schedules at Alcuin helped him with time management. This translated to the workload in high school feeling manageable. “Going into high school, all you need to do to keep up with the work,” he said with a smile, “is to do the work.”
What makes Alcuin’s program so unique is that it incorporates both traditional Montessori philosophy and current best practices. Its design helps transition students from the Montessori classroom to a traditional high school setting with relative ease. Ellie S., Alcuin class of 2017, and a junior also at Trinity, added, “One thing that really helped me at Alcuin was time management and organization… and that transferred over to high school.”
Alcuin's curriculum has been carefully designed to meet or exceed state standards in all fundamental areas of study, as well as to align with the benchmark outcomes of local public schools. This ensures a full preparation for a smooth transition into high school. Our comprehensive curriculum is theme-based and encompasses mathematics, science, social studies, literature, writing, Spanish, art, theater, physical education and more.
Education should not be one size fits all. At Alcuin, we follow a philosophy proven over more than a century to discover and develop each child's interests and talents and prepare them to excel in the next level of education and beyond. It's no surprise that a large percentage of our graduates take advanced placement and honors courses in high school. We invited you to come and visit the Roosevelt Campus and see for yourself.
A blog by various Alcuin staff members.