Barrie Montessori: Health & Wellness
Movement exploration, fundamental motor skills, and basic movement patterns form the foundation for the Primary (3 years old through Kindergartners) Physical Education Program. Children jump, skip, catch, run, and play games with the goal of developing body and spatial awareness. As they enter Kindergarten, there is more emphasis on cooperative games, participatory creative movement activities, following directions, and sportsmanship. The Primary classes are taught by the Barrie Montessori P.E. teacher.
The Lower Elementary (1st grade through 3rd grade) physical education program emphasizes the development of fundamental motor skills, such as throwing, catching, and kicking. Students explore different ways to improve physical fitness through climbing, stamina development, and strength activities. They also are introduced to simple sports and group games such as kickball, soccer, capture the flag, and Red Rover. All of these activities, in turn, emphasize the necessity of developing sportsmanship. The Lower Elementary classes are taught by the Barrie Montessori P.E. teacher.
The Upper Elementary (4th and 5th grades) program places an increased emphasis on activities that require higher-level thinking skills. There is increased participation in team sports that have rules, positioning, and strategy. Students build an awareness of physical fitness and how exercise improves the functioning of the body. Along with the physical education classes this grade level also has Intramurals. Intramurals are designed to help students understand the responsibilities of being part of a team and how to handle themselves in competitive situations.
Barrie Montessori offers intentional developmental learning environments for children ranging from 18 months-5th grade. At the core of Montessori's educational philosophy is the well-known understanding of the child as a spiritual being. At Barrie Montessori this idea is also reflected in our core values as an extraordinary environment for learning. Respect for self, others, and the environment is one of our core values demonstrated throughout the spiritual development that is nurtured on our campus. Having values at the institutional level that emphasizes these core aspects of grace and courtesy allows us to effectively address the developmental and spiritual needs and motivations of both the child and the adult. Each learning community, from the youngest toddler classrooms to the Upper Elementary classroom communities reflect an overall understanding of the four planes of development and intrinsic spiritual needs of students.
All Barrie Montessori students are a part of learning environments with Peace and Mindfulness Education that emphasizes inner awareness, grace, and courtesy. These social skills help them as they navigate their world and social interactions. As a school, we understand that students at all ages are ultimately moving along a path towards self-construction. Each year, two to three Barrie Montessori staff participate in Positive Discipline training and are expected to not only utilize positive discipline in their class but also to share out best practices, reflections, and lessons learned with faculty, parents and the broader community. Our school also participates in a yearly, campus-wide celebration of International Peace Day. We emphasize the need for peace throughout the world and highlight the responsibilities of each individual in achieving and maintaining peace within ourselves and at a global level.
Barrie Montessori's Mindfulness Program is an extension of its core values. Mindfulness can be a powerful tool which enhances cognitive, emotional, and behavioral well-being for students as well as adults. All Barrie Montessori teachers participated in a full day professional development workshop with the Benson-Henry Institute in October 2012. The Institute is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and is a leader in working with youth and adults researching the physiological, emotional, and behavioral effects of stress on the body.
Barrie Montessori teachers actively incorporate a variety of mindfulness activities within their daily classroom routines. Circle time often sets the stage for appreciations, self-reflection, deep breathing and visualization exercises with Lower and Upper Elementary students. Primary students may read a mindfulness children’s book or practice mindful eating or the silence game during circle. The latter, are a few examples of how mindfulness and spiritual development are illustrated through day to day actions, words, and deeds.
Mindfulness education at Barrie Montessori extends outside of the classroom as well. Each child at our school is offered age appropriate opportunities to engage our 45 acres of land. Toddler students go on daily nature walks throughout campus. Primary students can often be found walking to observe the pond and the abundance of life found along the way. Elementary students may be found building shelters, hiking, and creating landforms in the creek as cultural extension work. Upper Elementary students may care for gardens, monarch stations, and create spaces for art and reflection on campus. All of these nature based lessons allow our students to fully engage their senses while gaining a greater appreciation for the world and their place in it.
A rich outdoor environment complete with horses and a wide range of classroom pets at each level is a strong asset to delivering a program that emphasizes the child as a spiritual being. The school has invested in many resources that help to cultivate well rounded students with an overall respect for self, others and the environment. Teachers are able to collaborate with outdoor specialists on campus for support in creating and facilitating outdoor extension activities and are always encouraged to use every bit of our campus.