Education in Living Color: The Shams Family
Why did you choose Montessori education for your family?
“The most important decision parents make in their life is how to provide the best education for their children in order to make them happy and successful individuals. After doing extensive research we decided that the Montessori school was the best choice for us. Montessori schools keep the curiosity and the love of learning that every child is born with alive, and help them become happy individuals by showing them there are no limits to what they can do. They do this by allowing the children to determine their workday with guidance, by individualizing their studies and tailoring the them to their interests, all of this while making sure they also excel at contents of the curriculum mandated by the board of education.
The social structure of the three year block of the Montessori classroom provides the conditions for the children to relate to other age levels and to teach or learn from each other. The teachers are proficient in the principles of positive discipline that fosters a sense of value and self-esteem which leads to creativity and independence. When children learn to think critically and independent of bias, when they learn to discuss issues respectfully and be tolerant of others, to do meaningful research and present a case effectively, they will become valuable members of society.” Ali Shams, M.D.
How do you think MMS has influenced your children?
“MMS has been like a big family to us and our children. We feel very comfortable talking to the director and the teachers at any time and it is as if we are friends with them and all the parents and children. Our children have developed strong relationships to adults and children at school. They are happy and confident individuals are inquisitive and love to learn. They feel like they are going to ‘work’ and are having fun. We are impressed by their personal, academic and social development. Our children truly understand and trust the Montessori philosophy.”
Do you have a favorite “Montessori moment” that stands out?
“I think every morning when the children jump out of the car happily and sprint to enter the school is a Montessori moment and sign of success. But one particular moment was the the end of last year when Yasin finished upper elementary. They have a tradition at MMS when the children present their sixth year project. Then the teachers speak to the children in front of the parents. Juli (Taylor) and Jason, expressed their love and appreciation for the children, describing each child’s special characteristics and achievements individually. It was truly a special event for the children and their parents where the culmination of completing and presenting the project which they worked on through the whole year was combined with quite an emotional speech by the teachers which brought tears to the eyes of many who were there. The presentations were outstanding and what followed was proof of the close personal relationship created by using the Montessori culture and philosophy effectively.”
Amin (fourth year): “You have freedom and choice. You can decide what you want to work on and set your own goals. I have my own space in the classroom and I can find different ways to do one thing. The teachers are kind and encouraging and they want to make me the best I can be.
Yasin (seventh year): “Through individualizing the approach to every student, each child is educated at their own level and pace. I like the classroom because it is peaceful and promotes valuable social interaction. I love the fact that there is great emphasis on the creative process and the atmosphere allows me to concentrate well. My teachers are enthusiastic about their work. They prefer to encourage independent work and only intervene when absolutely necessary.”
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