Birchwood Montessori in Des Moines
Birchwood is located on the corner of Franklin Avenue and 48th street. The building has been home to First Federated Church, Des Moines Christian School and Franklin Junior High. Local developer, Jeff Young, has plans to use a portion of the building for a multi-use space that would include leasable offices, a restaurant, music venue and more.
Birchwood’s story began with a few dedicated Montessori-trained teachers and parents who were committed to providing an education for children that is developmentally appropriate, interest-driven and child-centered.
Nearly 100 years ago, Maria Montessori worked to develop an education model based on scientific research and observation. She designed classrooms to meet the needs of children at a particular stage of development. The approach values the whole child (emotional, social, physical and academic). Montessori believed children could change the world through peaceful interaction. She designed presentations that demonstrated peace, grace and courtesy. A presentation is defined by a brief lesson given to an individual child or small group. It is intended to ‘hook’ the child by sparking interest while teaching life skills.
A few components that set a Montessori school apart from a traditional setting are: mixed-age groupings, multi-sensory materials that aid the child’s learning, and blocks of work time where the child chooses work that is purposeful and constructive. A child stays in the same classroom with the teacher for three years. This provides for an environment that is alive with peer teaching and learning. The teacher carefully plans lessons and introduces materials when each child is developmentally ready. The classroom environment emphasizes freedom with limitations, responsibility and independence.
Learning in the Montessori environment is not teacher-led but child-driven with an emphasis on natural development. Children are actively learning and far from passive. The materials were scientifically designed to allow children to discover for themselves the truths about mathematics, language and culture. The role of the teacher is that of a gentle “guide” offering help when needed and not unnecessarily doing what the child can do independently.
Birchwood is currently enrolling children ages 2.5 – 12 for fall 2018. Call today for a tour! 515-635-5230. Visit our website for more details: www.birchwoodmontessori.org.