Ancona came into being in 1963 as a Montessori preschool in a storefront in Hyde Park. Since then, much has changed about the school, but the multi-age three- to six-year-old Preprimary program has remained true to its Montessori roots–offering both full-day and half day options. The principles of Montessori education can be felt to varying degrees throughout the program of the school, especially in the Primary School. The open classroom, which grants students a great deal of autonomy in where, how, and with whom they engage in learning, is a hallmark of an Ancona education.
At all levels of our program, Ancona adheres to Maria Montessori’s belief that children are naturally motivated, active learners who build their own understandings of the world as they interact with their environment. Our classrooms encourage children’s active explorations of carefully prepared materials and empowers children through choice and freedom to take charge of their own learning. Over the years, Ancona’s Montessori-inspired program has evolved, adding the insights and understandings of constructivism—that children learn by constructing meaning from their lived experiences—and of progressivism—that an education for a democratic society must be child-centered, that is, led by the child’s interests, and grounded in authentic experiences.
Our classrooms reflect the belief that children strive and learn best in an environment that is beautiful, allows for freedom and choice, and promotes a sense of harmony and order. We believe that movement and learning are closely entwined, and that movement can enhance thinking and understanding. We help our children to learn in a cooperative, lively, interactive community where respect for people is primary. The principles underlying the learning and work we do in the classroom include the use of the word work to dignify the child’s activity, the freedom to choose one’s work, the right to uninterrupted concentration, the absence of rewards and punishments, order in the environment, respect for materials, consideration for others, freedom of movement and communication, freedom to work with others or alone and an emphasis on cooperation and mutual aid.