With great intention, we carefully blend the time-tested approaches of Maria Montessori and Reggio Emilia.
Our approach celebrates children’s innate curiosity and their limitless capacity for absorbing new skills and concepts from the moment they join The Washington Market School community. By the time they move on to the next part of their educational journey, our children will have developed the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.
Dr. Montessori observed that allowing children to have a healthy sense of freedom within a structured environment enhances their development of self-discipline, independence, and a deeply joyful, curious approach to learning; we hold this respect for each child at the center of our work. Lessons foster our young learners’ deep engagement with skills and concepts that are appropriate for their Plane of Development. We understand the value of providing time for children to develop the stamina for sustained concentration. Our “practical life” activities empower children to care for their environment and develop the muscles for emotional agility and thoughtful citizenship. As a school community, we strive to create and maintain a learning environment that fosters each child’s inner peace, concentration, and sense of order.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy emphasizes children’s competency and ability to construct their own knowledge through in-depth investigation and research. Our prepared classroom environment offers an array of beautiful and interesting materials that support children to make meaning through many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, music, dramatic play, and writing. Children actively create meaning of their worlds, learn by doing and making decisions. There is freedom within the structure of the classroom to learn in a way that is best for each individual child. Teachers are co-constructors, learning alongside the children and lending guidance. Listening to children, recording their activities, displaying their work, and revisiting previous projects informs our practice and the children’s experience and development.
Children learn to self-advocate, recognize their own abilities and experience trial and error. At WMS, mistakes are important pathways to further development. As Maria Montessori said, “Never do for a child that which he can do for himself.”
Students learn by asking questions, having conversations, and developing the skills to genuinely listen to the ideas of others. We value differing ideas and approaches and believe this cultivates a rich, dynamic learning environment.
Breakthroughs happen as students investigate & articulate their understanding of new concepts—and the joy of finding their own success. We encourage children to use their innate skills to solve problems and engage in self-expression.
“We learn a great deal about our children through observation. A child’s approach to a material, their interaction with peers, and their engagement with their work and play all inform our teachers’ instruction and allow us to meet our young learners right where they are.”
Carrie KriesHead of School
We collect written anecdotes, work samples, photographs, and videos to document the children’s learning. At the end of the school year, parents receive their child’s Portfolio – a treasured book of photos and work samples that highlight their child’s learning and progress.
The Washington Market School provides a variety of rich and immersive experiences for every child. Each day, children engage in group and individual work, as well as studio classes, meetings, and large motor experiences such as a visit to the gym or movement in the classroom.