The Baltimore Montessori School
It’s September and that means there’s one thing on the minds of Canton parents – sending the kiddos off to school. Canton has several options, both public and private, one being the rather unique Baltimore Montessori. We recently chatted with Laura Robinson, the school’s Director. Here’s what she shared about education, the school’s philosophy, and life in Canton.
Hi, How did you come to be the Director of The Baltimore Montessori in Canton?
I have been a teacher and now the director for 9 years. Canton is a thriving neighborhood in Baltimore City with many young families, where parents are eager for their children to learn in an empowering atmosphere. As a Montessori teacher, this was a natural fit.
Tell us about the school.
Founded in 2006, The Baltimore Montessori, open year-round, provides excellent education and care for children 18 months to 6 years. We are the first private Montessori school in Baltimore City to be certified by both the Maryland State Department of Education and the Montessori Schools of Maryland.
The original school was located in a Fell’s Point rowhouse, but quickly expanded to two locations: Canton and Locust Point. We are excited to share that we are adding a new toddler classroom in Canton to support the ever-growing amount of families with children in the community.
Why should parents choose Montessori? What offerings are specific to your school?
Montessori is the only program where each child gets to progress to their full potential in each subject area, rather than learning at the same pace as their group of peers. Unlike children seated at desks or in a circle receiving one lesson from their teacher, Montessori children primarily receive lessons individually and are then free to move about their classrooms and choose work that is appropriate and interests them. Children who are reading, or learning to read, read with a teacher one-on-one every day, and each afternoon they learn Spanish or practice Yoga.
During our Montessori work cycle, we teach the whole child. Children engage in work as varied as table-washing, pouring, and mopping (life skills), to multiplication, spelling, continent puzzle maps, and much more. With a two-hour uninterrupted work cycle, children choose materials from every subject area and receive lessons from their teachers. Older children are the leaders in their classrooms, and often give lessons to their younger friends.
Can you give us an example?
I had a very shy 3-year-old come to our school who was uncomfortable speaking or sharing during circle time. He wasn't even comfortable receiving a lesson from me. Giving him space, I presented lessons he might be interested in to kids working nearby him. He observed for a while and then began to interact with them and their activities. He started feeling at ease and over time progressed beautifully, eventually learning to read, do math, and much more. A voracious reader, he was reading chapter books to his friends and helping younger children with sounds and spelling. By his third year, he was a leader in our classroom; confident, and eager to share thoughts and ideas.
Having choices, and having independence in the classroom allows children to learn and flourish. Whatever schools children attend after The Baltimore Montessori, they have a learning foundation for a lifetime.
How is the school engaged in the community?
We are a member of the Canton Community Association, and our teachers love patronizing neighborhood restaurants and establishments for employee events, gatherings, and everyday lunch! Our school building is inside a beautifully renovated historic church. We worked diligently to preserve the charm and history of the building as well as to beautify our neighborhood with tree planting efforts. We continue to make donations to help support our local branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
What do you like most about working in Canton?
I like the people! Our families really care about the learning environment for their children and that makes my job more enjoyable. I also like that our school truly is a neighborhood school. Many of our kids walk or scooter to school and spend time with classmates afterward at area playgrounds and parks.
When you’re not teaching, what do you do for fun?
I like to read and garden.
What else would you like the community to know?
I would encourage the community to learn more about Montessori philosophy and come in for a tour. Our children are so happy to learn and be with their friends. Teachers strive to form great relationships with our children and their families, and we are proud of all they learn and accomplish. Leaving here, they are set for a lifetime of learning.