Educational Approach

The Montessori Method

The Montessori method is a child-centered educational method for children based on theories of child development outlined by the Italian educator Maria Montessori (1870-1952).

The Montessori Method is characterized by an emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child and clinical observation on the part of the teacher (often called a director, directress, or guide). It stresses the importance of adapting the child’s learning environment to his or her developmental level, and of the role of physical activity in absorbing abstract concepts and practical skills. It is also characterized by mixed age groups and the use self-correcting learning materials within carefully prepared classroom environment tailored for the student’s developmental level.

Montessori / Dual-Language Blend

Intercultural uses a dual-language immersion approach within a Montessori education. In keeping with Montessori’s mixed age classrooms, students are divided into the following ages: 3-6 years (primary), 6-9 years (lower elementary), and 9-12 years (upper elementary). Our students are taught a full curriculum in two languages within classroom environments specifically designed for their developmental needs. This means that the academic content in all areas including math, science, social studies, etc. will be taught in both English and the target language. It also includes all language and literacy elements for both English and the target language (Spanish, Japanese or Chinese Mandarin). Additionally, the composite academic program will meet the National Common Core Standards associated with each grade level.

All dual language programs require a balanced approach when ensuring the coverage of curriculum content and splitting time spent in English and the target language. At Intercultural this is accomplished differently within the primary, lower elementary, and upper elementary programs. In the primary classrooms the curriculum content is taught in the target language in the morning and in English in the afternoon. In the lower elementary program the curriculum content is covered by both the target language teacher and the English teacher throughout the course of the school day. In the upper elementary program the increasingly complex curriculum is taught in English with intensive language break-outs each day. Additionally, at the elementary level Intercultural students are assessed in both English and the target language and will be given direction on the strategies required to take the associated tests.

More on our dual-language approach.