Special Needs Program
There are several things about the Montessori philosophy and materials that make it a wonderful option for children with special needs. Here at Owls Acre we call these children our "Golden Ones".
- The materials and the environment: The Montessori classroom is filled with beautiful materials that engage all of the senses. The materials are hands-on, therapeutic, enticing, and include a built-in control of error. In most cases they teach only one skill at a time. They offer a wonderful chance for children with special needs to use their hands to explore and learn.
- Multi-age classrooms: In Montessori, children are put into multi-age classrooms, so they can learn from older children, and help the younger children in the classroom. If a child needs to repeat a grade, they can do so without being "held back" while watching their friends move to a new classroom.
- Following the child: Montessori children are encouraged to work at their own pace, without the burden of competition, test scores, and grades. They are also encouraged to follow their own interests when it comes to reading, writing, and research. This kind of freedom allows the special needs child to flourish.
- Consistency: The multi-age classroom means a child is with a teacher for a 3-year cycle, allowing the teacher to build a strong relationship with the parents and the child. As well, the child doesn't have the stress of always starting in a new classroom at the beginning of each school year.
- The philosophy of Montessori: In Montessori, there is an emphasis on peace, cooperation, and respect, making it much less likely that a child with special needs will be teased or ostracized. Instead, the other children usually make an effort to accept, befriend, and encourage a special needs child.
It has been my privilege to know Mona Scott professionally for 10 years. She has a vision of a better world for children and their families and has worked tirelessly to create innovated programs to meet the needs of all children. Mona's Montessori program at Owls Acres is one of the few early education programs in Fairfield County that practices inclusion for children with special needs. Mona knows that all children are children first and not defined by their disabilities.
I am most appreciative of the service offered at the Riding Academy. I have seen students gain language and motor skills at an unbelievable rate because of the experience of riding and grooming horses. In the past few years, Mona has brought her horses to our special needs school (hauling a huge riding ring) or has had us out to the riding academy at least 8 times so that our students with disabilities (2-22) could ride and benefit from the outdoor experience…
- Jodi K. Blais, Director of Education Services, Fairfield County MRDD