How We Work
Since the beginning of time, man has always been a maker and an inventor. From the earliest pebble tools to the advanced technologies of today, man has been creating ways to improve life and solve problems.
Being a “Maker” has become an integral part of the Hudson Montessori School experience. There is a natural progression from the way Montessori learning environment moves from skill acquisition to real-life application. Having the time, opportunity, materials and ability to be able to create and develop ideas based off of what a child knows, gives the maker a fruition of ideas, an outcome with a solved problem, and the confidence to continue to craft other ideas and move forward.
As pioneers of the “maker” initiative at the elementary level, which began in 2009 with the inception of our Social Studies Fair, we have grown and developed our programs to be innovative, inventive and insightful. Our mission has adopted “Maker” as a way that students gain knowledge and experience as they use technology and other resources to explore the topic.
At Hudson Montessori School we work with, and show our students how to “make”, and provide them with possibilities and materials. We also have an assembly each week that offers them a forum for presenting their ideas and showing their peers and teachers what they have created. This is an essential step for the students to reflect on their work and receive valuable feedback for them to consider in their next project.
Every year, the entire school engages in a yearlong project that is theme based on a universal topic. Each theme we pick allows us to look at the world from a new perspective and from different angles. Every area of the curriculum is integrated in hands-on applications, such as combining math, science and language skills to figure out and document a solution to a problem.
We launch our theme each year with a family kick-off event that introduces parents to the topic and the work ahead. At this event, children present a portion of their study which explaining to parents a part of what they will be learning through presentations and demonstrations. Families come together at this event to engage in their child’s work and learn more. The culmination of the yearlong theme happens in April at our annual Social Studies Fair. The 2017-2018 year’s theme is The Industrial Revolution and the Birth of Cities.
Our definition of STEAM is not doing projects, or addressing each area of study in isolation, but through exploration of a topic where we integrate skills from every core area of the curriculum and use the scientific method. Using their skills in this way, students are able to reach a successful conclusion by combining their knowledge and experiences to learn and solve problems. (please see our past themes under Events – Social Studies Fair)
Learning by Making Connections
The idea of connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) through the study of a yearlong theme began back in 2009 when the school started. The first theme for a group of 25 toddlers was the 7 Continents. As children explored the seven continents they also studied the unique animals in each continent. Along with their parents and teachers they made little displays depicting the habitats and animals found on the seven continents. This was the beginning of the Social Studies Fair. With every passing year the event has grown in but, the purpose of learning by making connections with the world around students remains.
This year’s Annual Theme at Hudson Montessori School is “The Industrial Revolution and the Growth of Cities”. The Upper Elementary students will be exploring the benefits and challenges of the Industrial Revolution. The Lower Elementary will study how some of the inventions of the ancient Chinese and Roman Civilization contributed to the Industrial Revolution. The Primary classes will explore how cities have come to be a place to meet the needs of man.
Learning by Making
Making is not only limited to our yearly event or to our Makerspace, but also extends to different areas of the classroom. Be it food preparation during a Practical Life exercise, building an earthworm habitat during Science, exploring the works of Miro during Art, or staging a presentation on American history, students are provided with opportunities to explore and experiment.
The true essence of our Maker Program is when our students get to use the skill they have learned to create something they care about. At our Maker Monday Assembly students have the opportunity to share projects they have created with their peers. As they revel in their final product it is the process of planning, trying, improving and sharing that provides a true learning experience.
Makers of Change
Last year our Primary Classes explored the various biomes, each class organized a fundraiser to support an organization that supports their biome. During our Annual Social Studies Fair we all took the “Stop the Drop” pledge to help keep Jersey City a cleaner place to live. Over the last couple of years our Elementary students have participated in an Annual Beach Clean Up at the Interpretive Center at Liberty State Park. This year our elementary students participated in the 15th Annual ‘Day in the Life of the Hudson River’ with around 44,000 students and educators to study the river. Groups of students were stationed at more than 100 riverfront sites measuring salinity, chemistry, turbidity and biology. As part of our ongoing Hudson River Project students will now travel back in time to learn how the Hudson River changed during the course of the Industrial Revolution.
Our mission at Hudson Montessori School is to create lifelong learners, independent thinkers and problem solvers. Every year our school community collaborates to achieve this goal. We are excited about this year and looking forward to watch it unfold. Hudson Montessori School serves children from 2 years old through 6th grade.