- Feb 20, 2017 Montessori: Education for Peace Feb 20, 2017
- Jan 19, 2017 Freedom Within Limits: The Structure of a Montessori Learning Environment Jan 19, 2017
Mission and Philosophy
To develop in young children a lifelong love of learning by honoring each child's natural talent and ability in partnership with parents.
Our belief in the innate ability and talent of every child is evidenced in a consistent focus on the foundations established by Suzuki and Montessori:
Love of Learning
The Suzuki environment is created to honor and guide the child’s natural love of learning. As Dr. Suzuki stated, “Nurturing is the basis for developing ability,” and our approach to teaching has been established according to this principle.
As early childhood educators, our duty is to walk beside each child, fostering his or her natural passion for learning. We offer to the child those experiences that create a desire to learn and know we have succeeded when she exhibits the following traits:
- A sense of confidence in herself
- An ability to care for herself
- Strong communication skills
- Mastery of problem-solving techniques
- A demonstrated ability to categorize and organize information in a systematic manner
- An understanding of true collaboration with teachers and peers
Respect for Nature
Suzuki Schools are located in urban environments so we bring the natural world into the school itself: our lobby area Is designed to include living habitats for fish, birds and reptiles, which offer opportunities for frequent observation. The Schools also display extensive sensory boards of the natural elements: stones, furs, sea shells, fossils and insects.
Gardens are planted and maintained by the children in the spring and summer. The herbs and vegetables are harvested by the students and used by our kitchen for their meals. By recycling paper, glass and plastic, the children are taught the importance of conserving items that can be reused again and again rather than thrown away.
The materials with which the children are made of polished woods, reeds and metals which draw the hand and eye. Porcelain bowls are used to sort dried seeds and are handled gently and carefully. Embroidery thread is thoughtfully chosen from a rich spectrum of colors; number rods are light and smooth to the touch. Through simple lines and natural textures, the child learns to discard the inferior man-made material and choose what is beautiful in his environment.
Culture and Tradition
Approximately 30 percent of The Suzuki School's student body comes from an international or ethnic background. Throughout the year we celebrate many faith traditions from around the world, determined by the families and staff in the classroom.
Our curriculum is designed to foster an interest in and an awareness of children in other cultures and lands. Throughout the year, those Suzuki families who have experience and knowledge about another part of the world are invited to share with their child’s class the foods, holiday observances, costumes, music, art and stories from their country of origin.
A foreign language program begins in the Pre-Primary Program; children attend either a French, Chinese or Spanish immersion class twice a week.
In his work with young children, Dr. Suzuki recognized the importance of developing a noble heart and this concept of the Noble Heart is woven into every aspect of the Suzuki program.
Every day, the children are taught to honor each other and to problem solve with each other and as they do so, they develop empathy. Our multi-age classrooms are highly effective in developing the Noble Heart - the children work with friends both younger and older than themselves and learn how to assist and guide each other. They are able to thoughtfully give and receive help and come to respect the abilities and knowledge of the other members of their community.
In our Primary and Kindergarten classrooms, the children use our curriculum to effectively resolve conflict with each other through open dialogue and exploring solutions together.
Community projects planned throughout the school year are guided by the the parents and teachers. Past projects in keeping with the developmental ages of the children have included participation in coat drives, Pennies for Pandas, shoe drives, bicycle drives, toy drives, and creating art work for silent auctions which raised sizable amounts for children in need.
An appreciation for the arts and for beauty is woven throughout our curriculum and our environment.
Environment: An appreciation of the visual begins with the careful design of the building, a design that creates a sense of serene and aesthetically pleasing environment, one that reinforces the concept of beauty through the components of structure and design. The color, textures, and ambiance of the school have the feel of a gallery with intriguing elements that draw the child to them.
Art Program: The Suzuki art program teaches the fundamentals of technique, color and design through the study and comparison of the Masters. The focus of the art curriculum is to develop an appreciation and love of art. During the school year, the children participate in a major art project based on a master, a visiting exhibition, or the interests of the classroom.
Appreciation of the many forms of artistic expression: Throughout the year special visitors to entertain and delight the children with music, puppet shows, folktales, and magicians. These musicians, storytellers and artists bring to our young children a glimpse of the wider world and the joy to be found in the aural, spoken and visual arts.
Music in our environment: Music is heard throughout the common areas of the school during all hours in keeping with the stated purpose of the architectural design.
Music Instruction: The school offers year-round classroom music lessons with a Suzuki music instructor to all of our children; for those children in PrePrimary through Kindergarten, music readiness classes are available. For older children in Primary and Kindergarten, individual piano and violin lessons are available when the readiness is evident. These lessons emphasize the following concepts:
- Rhythm: Learning to react in a structured manner - keeping a beat, recognizing and repeating rhythmic patterns.
- Rhythmic: Relating gestures and motions to music.
- Singing: A child's own voice is his or her best musical instrument - although children rarely develop a singing voice before the age of five or six, we work to help each child develop his or her ability to vocally duplicate sounds, and to find his or her own voice.
- Musical Terminology: Recognizing and understanding such concepts as high and low, loud and soft, or fast and slow.
- Instrument playing: Reproducing instrument rhythms used in beginning Suzuki-method piano and violin lessons.
Performances and Plays: Periodically throughout the year, the older children develop and perform plays for both parents and other children in the school. These plays are based on seasonal celebrations or on a favorite book or story.