How can I learn more about the Montessori Method?We welcome your visit and the opportunity to share more about a Montessori education. Our administration team is available to discuss our school, to answer any questions you have, and to arrange a convenient time to meet with you. We encourage you to visit our school to see the Montessori learning and teaching in action. We carefully schedule these visits to ensure that the children’s learning is not disrupted. Our school also offers Parent Education Workshops throughout the year to help parents continue to learn about the Montessori Method as well as what and how children learn. There are also many resources available through books, websites, and video that we recommend.
What are the educational goals of a Bright Horizons Montessori School?
Bright Horizons teachers strive to provide the highest-quality Montessori curriculum and learning environment for each individual child. Every member of our community is valued for their distinctive abilities, talents, and personalities. We embrace diversity in all its forms at all levels of the Bright Horizons family.
The goals of a Bright Horizons Montessori School are to:
- Stimulate the development of the total child: emotional, social, physical, and academic
- Create a nurturing and accepting environment in which each child feels secure, respected, and loved
- Provide an enriched, stimulating educational setting with safe limits in which each child is an active explorer
- Encourage each child to become self-directed and independent
- Provide a framework of conscious discipline
- Inspire creativity and the development of a positive self-image in each student
- Establish a cross-cultural environment and introduce concepts of global peace
Visit the Montessori Curriculum page to learn more specific details about learning at each age group.
What is AMS and why is your affiliation important?The American Montessori Society (AMS) is the foremost advocate for quality Montessori education. AMS sets the high professional standards that inform Montessori education as practiced in AMS-accredited schools and taught in AMS-affiliated teacher education programs. AMS is also a hub of all things Montessori: an information center for its members, the media, and the public; a voice in the public policy arena; and a mobilizing force for the global Montessori community, through support services, research, and professional development events. Visit the AMS website to learn more and discover the many resources they provide.
What is your admission process?Please visit our Admissions page.
How can I obtain information about tuition?Our tuition is dependent upon your child’s age, developmental level, and the location of the school you have chosen. We also recommend that you visit our school for an in-depth conversation with a member of our administration team, so we can help discuss the best options for your family and child. Visiting is also the best way for you to learn about our school community and to determine if a Montessori education is right for you and your child. Please contact our school to learn more.
Do you provide meals at school?Students can order from our hot lunch menu or pack a healthy lunch.
Can I visit my child at school any time I’d like?Brookfield Academy has an open door policy. However, to avoid disrupting lessons in the classrooms, we do ask that you contact us in advance to arrange the best time to visit. We also recommend talking with your classroom teacher about how we can best accommodate you. We strive for building partnerships with parents that will best meet the needs of your child and family.
Are all faculty trained in CPR and First Aid?All Bright Horizons faculty members are trained regularly in CPR /First Aid and Universal Precautions, even if not required by the state. You can feel confident that your child is safe and receiving the best care possible at our school.
What is Bright Horizons’ process on checking the background of their employees?Bright Horizons conducts a comprehensive background check on all prospective employees and frequent visitors. The background check consists of a county criminal record check for the past seven years performed in all counties that a person has lived, worked or attended school. In addition to the county criminal search, a sex offender search, OFAC search, and a social security verification trace are also conducted. For all location employees, program licensing background checks required by the state are also performed.
Absorbent Mind:Montessori believed that children from ages 0 – 6 have an absorbent
mind; that is, they are literally absorbing the sights, sounds, words, and impressions that
are all around them. During this time period, they learn without any effort or exertion.
Please see sensitive periods for more detail.
The Acquisition of Culture:The period from ages 6 -12 is a period of development
Montessori called the Acquisition of Culture in which the basic standards, expectations,
rules, and laws are internalized. It may be as simple as knowing, “our culture writes left
to right, top to bottom.” Once conscious, it opens the door to the appreciation of other
cultures, i.e., “the Hebrew culture writes right to left.”
Casa dei bambini:This Italian term is literally translated as “children’s house”. It was
the name of the first school that Montessori started, back in 1907. The term has come to
represent the 3 – 6 classroom, indicating a beautifully prepared environment containing
all the materials necessary for a child’s development.
Cycles of Activity:Work initiated by the child will naturally follow a cycle to its end,
which is signified by the return of the material to its proper space. The teacher honors
this natural completion by allowing the child to work uninterrupted. The basic concept
behind the cycle of activity is that it allows the child to become absorbed in work and
complete the task to satisfaction.
Concrete to Abstract:The classrooms are filled with hands-on materials Montessori
believed that knowledge proceeds from the hand to the brain. Each material presents
an abstract concept such as addition or scientific classification. As the student works
with the concrete material, the abstract idea begins to form in his mind. Then the student
no longer needs the material as he or she has internalized the concept and is ready to
proceed with abstract work (pencil and paper).
Control of Error:In order to allow for work to be completed independently, most
Montessori materials (especially those in Practical Life) contain a built-in control to let
the child know whether or not the work is being done correctly. For example, a sorting
work will have the same number of items in each category; if the items are sorted
incorrectly, the number of items in each category will be uneven thus enabling the child
to self correct.
Cosmic Education:The Greek word “cosmic” refers to the order and harmony of the
universe. Cosmic education refers to the Five Great Lessons, which impress upon
students the relationship between themselves and the universe. The lessons are as
follows: The Beginning; The Timeline of Life; The Coming of Humans; The History of
Writing; and The History of Math. In the elementary curriculum, the lessons that will
follow will all fall under the heading of these great lessons giving students “the big
picture” (see whole to part below) into which they will place the body of academic work
that they will do.
Director/Directress:Montessori preferred to use these terms rather than “teacher”. The
idea is that the Montessori directress is a guide; someone who gives children the tools
they need to teach themselves, rather than actually teaching. These terms are still used
today, although you will often hear “teacher” used as well, for clarity when talking to non-
Exercises of Practical Life:These exercises have been carefully developed to guide
the child through learning the tasks of daily life. They include common household tasks
like sweeping and scrubbing, as well as the development of fine motor skills through
pouring and spooning. They are the basis of the 3-6 classroom, and help the child
develop the important skills of concentration, attention to order, sequencing, and
GoingRelated to the “acquisition of culture” is the concept of “Going Out”.
Montessori believed that the elementary aged child was developmentally suited to learn
from activities outside the school building, in the student’s community and in their natural
world. At first, this may be excursions to the school’s outdoor area. Later this would
take place as field trips connected with the children’s study of the Cultural subjects and
giving back to the community through learning service projects.
Human Tendencies:Montessori believed that all people share some basic tendencies.
Among these are exploration, work, communication, repetition, mastery, and perfection.
They are seen across all cultures and countries. They are the driving force behind the
development of culture and civilization.
Montessori educationEmphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through
listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own
individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of
possibilities. Montessori classes place children in multi-age groups, forming communities
in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones.
Normalization: Normalization is the Montessori term for a healthy, well-adjusted child
who learns effectively in any situation. Being in a Montessori environment for a period of
years, working through the cycle of work and following grace and courtesy in the
classroom, the child develops character and personality and becomes a contributing
member of society. Please note that recently teachers have begun to refer to a group of
children as “normalized.” When used in this way, “normalization” means that the class
as a whole has internalized the cycle of work and the rules of the classroom, each at his
or her own ability level.
Planes of Development:The four planes (or phases) of development are stages that
children move through from complete dependence to independence. The first plane,
infancy, includes 0 – 6 years of age. During this time, the child’s subconscious mind is
absorbing everything around him. The next phase, childhood, occurs between ages 6 –
12. This time is one of conscious learning, as a child begins to explore the world.
Adolescence, from 12 -18, encompasses the next plane. During this time, there is some
upheaval as the child develops rapidly. This is in contrast with childhood, which is
characterized by steady and reasoned activities. After this stage, the young adult enters
maturity from 18 – 24 and can begin to find out how they fit into the world around them.
Prepared Environment:Maria Montessori observed that children’s learning could be
facilitated by an environment that was thoughtfully prepared, rather than randomly
assembled. Facets of the prepared environment include work that is organized on
shelves by curricular area, in order of difficulty. The work must also be complete,
attractive, and accessible to the children.
Purposeful Movement:In Montessori, the child is given work to do that involves
physical movement. The movement is not superfluous to the work; it is part of the work.
In this way, a child’s motor skills are developed and strengthened.
Sensitive Period:According to Montessori, children pass through stages where they
are more readily able to absorb information than at other times. Children have sensitive
periods for order, language, refinement of the senses and large motor skills, small
objects, and social behavior. All of these periods take place during the 0-6 year plane of
Whole to Part:The fundamental principal for Montessori Elementary education is often
referred to as “Cosmic Education.” Science education starts with the “Big Bang” and
moves logically to the formation of the solar system and earth’s geology. In Geography
the children learn about the globe first and later put in the details of countries and
cultures. All lessons begin with a basic story or presentations that help children to see
the larger picture. Montessori believed that the child’s mind must first be satisfied by a
vision of the whole, before it can satisfactorily deal with the parts. The understanding of
the “whole” also gives children a frame of reference in which to place details about what
they are learning.
Work:Montessori education speaks of the child as doing “work” in recognition of the
vigorous labor involved in acquiring skills in the fine motor area, gross motor area,
sensory discrimination, and in number and language concepts. The child chooses work
and is then able to take responsibility for it. This forms character and enables the child to
have a sense of self respect for what he or she has done. Please see “normalization” for