Dayspring Montessori; teaching unstoppable learners

Children show their completed work at Dayspring Montessori, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dayspring Montessori, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Founded on the educational beliefs put forth over 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, Dayspring Montessori has been an early education staple in St. George for nearly 20 years. Now located in the Dixie Montessori Academy building, 1160 N. 645 W. in Washington City, the private preschool, pre-K and Kindergarten Montessori is accepting enrollment for the 2015-16 school year.

Dayspring
Students work with learning materials at Dayspring Montessori, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dayspring Montessori, St. George News

In 1906 Dr. Maria Montessori developed a program of education based on her observations of young children, Dayspring founder Julie Wand said, what Montessori found flipped the traditional, more compulsory model of education on its head.

“She took the compulsory model and flipped it around and said that education didn’t need to become compulsory,” Wand said of Montessori, “but that children would continue to want to learn.”

Wand said that children’s desire and ability to learn is easily evidenced from birth to age 3 adding that they are unstoppable in their learning.

“We can’t stop them from learning,” Wand said. “They learn to walk, they learn to talk, they learn to hold a spoon, they learn everything that they need to learn to be successful in life without having compulsory lessons, so to speak, given to them.”

Teaching the unstoppable learner

It all comes down to the learning environment. Montessori believed and Wand believes, she said, that if children are in a safe and secure environment where they are given the opportunity to practice the skills they need to learn, then their learning will naturally unfold.

A child works with learning materials at Dayspring Montessori, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dayspring Montessori, St. George News
A child works with learning materials at Dayspring Montessori, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dayspring Montessori, St. George News

“At 3 years of age (Montessori) discovered that children would naturally have interest in mathematics, naturally have interest in language,” Wand said, “and if they acquired those skills in an environment that has been prepared for them that they would excel academically.”

And that is exactly the kind of environment they provide at Dayspring Montessori, Wand said; a safe and secure environment where children can organically and naturally learn.

The approach at Dayspring is very hands on, Wand said, adding that everything about the curriculum even down to the very materials the children are learning with are designed to teach little lessons ranging from how to sit in a circle, cooperate in a group and clean after themselves to how to become self-directed, self-motivated problem solvers.

Learning is individualized to each child allowing them, Wand said, to move freely and at their own pace in order to fully master each subject and reach their full potential.

Wand said that many of the families in the Montessori program feel as if their children are in an environment that mimics what you would find in the home; which is to say a safe, loving environment where children are taught to be confident and grow up to be contributors to society.

“We call it the Montessori family,” Wand said.

Why Montessori preschool?

“The years from birth to 6 years of age are the most critical to academic development,” Wand said. “This is where the foundation is laid for all future knowledge and if it can be laid down in an environment where love, unconditional care … they (the children) will continue on the path of being lifelong learners.”

Dayspring Montessori offers half-day and all-day instruction and is now enrolling students ages 3-5 in preschool, pre-K and Kindergarten programs. To make an appointment to tour the school  or for more information call 435-652-9200.

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Resources

  • Dayspring Montessori | Website | Telephone: 435-652-9200

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