Montessori at MVM Thursday 12/10

Deepening Our Collective Understanding

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Focus: Montessori Primary Education

We hope you enjoy learning more about the Montessori Primary: the program, the children in the first plane of development, and the staff that makes MVM's program a success.
A Montessori Morning.

The most important period of life...

"The most important period of life...is the first one, the period from birth to age six," said Dr. Montessori "For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed."

What are the Planes of Development?

Maria Montessori viewed children in different planes of development – Four distinct periods of growth, development, and learning that build on each other as children and youth progress through them:


First Plane: ages 0 – 6 (the period of the “absorbent mind”)


Second Plane: ages 6 – 12 (the period of reasoning and abstraction)


Third Plane: ages 12 – 18 (when youth construct the “social self,” developing moral values and becoming emotionally independent)


Fourth Plane: ages 18 – 24 years (when young adults construct an understanding of the self and seek to know their place in the world)

What is Primary Education in a Montessori setting?

Maria Montessori designed her materials, curriculum, and methods after observing children

Montessori was first and foremost a scientist. She observed children and designed the environment for their needs.


Primary classrooms are designed specially for the child and the entire environment is created to facilitate their learning process.


Maria Montessori observed that children learn by doing and wrote that the "hand was the instrument of the mind".


The Montessori curricula, techniques and materials satisfy the natural tendency for this age child to learn by doing. Independence, coordination, order, self-discipline and concentration are developed. Children work individually and cooperatively with materials that engage their curiosity.


The children are given lessons using the materials and then are free to explore and observe. An emphasis is placed on the process rather than the product of learning. The aim is to develop a love of work and a joy of learning.


The Montessori primary program includes activities for Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics. Cultural studies in Geography, History, Physical Science, and Life Science are presented to the child through various language and manipulative activities. Movement, music and art form part of the day-to-day activities.

Food for Thought

The Pledge

Oliver Chadwick, a 3 year old in Miss Heidi's class, recites the Pledge. Students in the first plane soak up language, they LOVE big words. The Pledge is full of great vocabulary. Enjoy!
The Pledge CLIPCHAMP keep 1

Who is the Primary student?

The first six years of life are marked by tremendous physical and psychological growth, exploration and development. Psychologically, the child is a concrete thinker, taking in everything around him.


Montessori coined the first plane as the time of the Absorbent Mind. She believed that more learning takes place at this stage of life than during any other. Children begin to acquire language, develop cognitive and motor skills, begin to imitate the adults around them, and develop expectations of the world around them.


Montessori believed that a prepared environment should be provided to allow the child to explore and experience purposeful activities.


It is also during this time that children undergo a series of sensitive periods or “windows of opportunity." This is a time of innate learning: developing language skills, the urges to sit up, crawl, and walk. It is during these sensitive periods that it is easier for a child to learn certain concepts that will be more difficult as they get older.


Montessori identified 11 different sensitive periods from birth to age six.

Read more here: http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2007/07/montessori-philosophy-first-plane-of.html


Children in their first plane of development are constantly taking in and processing the world around them. Having a solid understanding of the physical, psychological, emotional, and intellectual needs of each child helps us best serve the needs for the individual child in a Montessori environment.

Meet our Primary Teams

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Meet Primary 1 Team

Ashley FitzGerald (center in photo), Lead Guide


  • enjoys watching sports, trips to the beach, and spending time with her big, furry dog Truman
  • second year at MVM, seventh year as a teacher
  • received her AMS credential from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies
  • working on completing her Masters degree


Alison Flanagan (in red in photo), Instructional Assistant


  • enjoys hiking, watching movies, and listening to music
  • is excited to become a grandma in February
  • has been married for almost 35 years
  • has sold makeup, worked for an advertising agency, was a CNA in an ICU, and worked for the Frederick County Health Department for many years



Jeanette O'Malley (in black in photo), Instructional Assistant


  • enjoys camping and taking trips
  • has lived in Frederick for ten years and been involved with MVM for nine
  • has a daughter in 8th grade at MVM
  • has been a substitute at MVM and also works in the front office
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Meet Primary 2 Team

Heidi Novak (center), Lead Guide


  • enjoys reading, running, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends
  • was born in London and has lived in Maryland since 1984
  • runs half-marathons!
  • has been teaching for 14 years, ten of those years at MVM
  • is a teacher trainer and Intern Coordinator at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies (which is also where she received her Montessori credential)
  • director of Before and After Care



Jen Brown (in black in photo), Instructional Assistant


  • enjoys traveling and acting in a local community theater
  • is originally from Toms River, NJ
  • has a B.A. in Speech and Theater
  • has lived in Woodsboro with her husband and two children for 20 years



Erika Blumer (in white in photo), Instructional Assistant


  • enjoys crocheting, HGTV, yoga, reading, and her animals
  • has a B.S. in Elementary Education
  • has worked with at-risk students at a South Dakota boarding school for Native American children
  • was the director of the Army Child Development Center inGiessen, Germany (her husband is a nurse, currently at Walter Reed)
  • has four amazing children of her own, in four different schools

Please Note: Hearing and Vision Screening

Hearing and Vision Screening will take place January 5th, 2016 for all students in Pre-K, K (if not previously screened in Pre-K), 1st, 8th and any new students from out of state. Maryland State Law mandates this screening.


Any parent that does not want their child tested must put this in writing to the health room. All written requests need to be submitted to the health room by December18th.


Please make sure if your child wears glasses that they have their glasses with them on screening days. If you have any questions please contact the health room at 301-668-0667.