WHAT?

Mission

Mission

Our mission is to provide an education that supports children in their self-creation, in the development of their passion for learning and in their connection to the world.

Montessori

Montessori

A Montessori education is holistic, it considers all aspects of development: physical, aesthetic, social, emotional, spiritual and cognitive. Maria Montessori viewed life as a series of transformations, each stage characterized by the emergence and disappearance of special potentialities or sensitivities. This series of transformations is a natural, normal, spontaneous process through four “planes of development”: the first from birth to six years, the second from six to twelve, the third from twelve to eighteen, and the fourth from eighteen to twenty-four. A child progresses from sensory motor to abstraction to moral development. Montessori is a child-centered pedagogy that is designed to help children with their task of self-construction as they develop through these planes, from childhood to maturity.

Aims

What are our aims?

At City Country School we teach children how to learn, so that they can continue to learn and grow during their entire lives. To achieve the great competency of learning to learn, the school seeks to achieve these aims:

 

To create a strong collaboration with parents and a warm and supportive school community.

To help the child seek and recognize excellence.

To help the child develop focus, concentration, order and peacefulness.

To prepare the child to discover the interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated things.

To foster in the child a mindset that values longterm goals of enrichment and self-improvement over short-term goals of performance.

To prepare the child to see mistakes as necessary steps on the path to success.

To help the child find happiness and pleasure in school and in life.

To help the child recognize his/her own needs, and to distinguish needs from wants.

To help the child understand his/her place in the world.

 To help the child learn to communicate effectively, honestly, constructively.

To help the child discover his/her interests and passions.

To help the child see that s/he is capable of surpassing his/her own expectations, limitations, fears.

 

Curriculum

What do we teach?

Knowledge is important and every school must decide what it chooses to present to the child. Montessori’s answer was “the world,” in all its complexity and sensorial richness (in a developmentally appropriate way). The world has changed and the child has changed, so the curriculum, too, evolves. Montessori’s original, spiralled, fully-integrated curriculum forms the backbone and deep structure of City Country School’s curriculum. Some subjects  have needed reframing and/or the addition of more up-to-date content (Geography, Biology and History, for example), new subjects have arisen (Nature, Kitchen, Aikido, Social Emotional Learning, for example), some have gained greater emphasis (Workshop, Writing, Physical Education, for example). Montessori did not contemplate a school in two languages, but our day and age demands it. School is more complex than it was in Montessori’s time, because our society is more complex.

Beliefs

What do we believe?

We believe that:

  • Learning is a natural and inevitable part of our normal lives. Learning is growth.
  • Learning is interlocked with the environment: with the people, the objects, the values, the beliefs, the hopes and the fears, that surround it.
  • Human beings learn with pleasure and joy, in a state called flow, when they voluntarily participate in interesting and challenging activities.
  • Learning is sometimes discouraging. Real challenges, difficulties and setbacks help build the character and grit necessary for overcoming setbacks and difficulties in adult life.
  • Children are always learning something. We must be very careful about what a child is learning. For example, when a child is doing frustrating, boring, confusing work s/he learns that learning is boring, frustrating and confusing.
  • There is a difference between integrating learning and simple recall. If you ask a child to tell you what the rules of manners at the table are, s/he will have little trouble explaining that one should not speak with a full mouth, that one should place the napkin on one’s lap, that one should keep one’s mouth clean, etc. But the ability to put that knowledge into practice without thinking about it, always and in all contexts, takes years of daily practice. So it is with everything.  Academic subjects are specific ways of understanding the world that must be learned. A child can learn the rules for multiplication, for example, and sit down and take a test of that knowledge, solve problems, and do well, but this in no way means that the child has integrated the information: there has not necessarily been any mastery. Mastery requires time and a supportive environment.
  • Different people learn in different ways; there are different types of intelligences: spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, existential (Gardner), and, no doubt, many more. School must recognize and encourage all the intelligences.
  • Learning flourishes where there is trust, respect, understanding and uninterrupted work time. Useful learning dries up in the presence of tension, fear, boredom or confusion.
  • The apparatus of school “learning”–tests, drills, memorizations, reduction of knowledge into seemingly-unrelated bits, regimented action, time constraints, constant interruption of work–interfere with real learning.
  • Children discover things about themselves when they are put in challenging and unexpected situations; with the appropriate support, they are often capable of more than they had thought they were.
  • Children learn best when they are doing something real and meaningful.
  • Children learn many lessons from being in nature and observing nature.
  • Children need solitude, as well as company. They need quiet time for reflection and calm before they can return to the group refreshed and ready to contribute. Some children need more solitude than others.
  • Individual development and group development are integrated: trust, collaboration and group action must be created and fostered.
Children's House 3-6

Children’s House 3-6

The City Country School Children’s House is a small and completely independent two-floor building, with a garden. The only parts of the building that are not the children’s are the small office and the basement; every other space, including the stairs, is a prepared environment for children three to six years old.

Children’s House is where the child learns to know and to trust his or her environment, to be part of a community, to act upon the surroundings, to find his or her concentration, to experience the pleasure of work and to become autonomous.

The child develops these skills by interacting with an environment especially prepared for his/her development by trained Montessori teachers who support that development and mediate the environment, presenting the materials and accompanying the child as needed. The classroom encourages freedom within limits, and a sense of order.

Elementary 6-12

Elementary 6-12

The teacher sparks the Elementary child’s powerful imagination, and provides him/her with a vision of the order of things. The teacher narrates the Great Stories around which the Montessori Elementary curriculum is organized: the Story of the Universe, the Story of Life, the Story of Humanity, the Story of Communication by Signs, and the Story of Communication by Numbers. The stories are retold in increasing detail and complexity every year of the Elementary program. The spiral curriculum–revisiting a subject from different perspectives and in different ways– gives the children an opportunity to go more deeply into a subject through elaboration, amplification and problematization, without repetition.

The Elementary Cosmic Curriculum puts the emphasis on the big picture and on the interrelation of all things. It moves from the general to the specific. The Great Stories provide the whole, the Montessori didactic materials provide the details, and the project work, Workshop, Kitchen, Garden and Going-Out provide the details embedded in the whole.

In addition to the Cosmic Curriculum, students are presented the entire Montessori Mathematics and Geometry curriculum, through the didactic materials and formal presentations, which have been studied and imitated throughout the world for nearly a century.

What’s for Lunch?

What’s for Lunch?

Lunches at City Country School are organic, legume and vegetable-based vegetarian meals prepared daily by the school cook. Each school sits down together for lunch everyday, students and teachers. Before eating we observe a moment of silence and then say the “Poem Before Lunch”:

We are glad for the sun

That warmed the Earth,

And the rain that fell

And watered the wheat,

For the salt that came

From the oceans deep,

And for the friends who made

This bread to eat.

Thank you!

Adolescence

Adolescence

We are planning to open an Adolescent Program in September 2017. We would like to begin a conversation with anyone who is interested in talking about adolescents and their needs, and what society and education can do to support them.

We propose hosting these conversations from 6-7:30 p.m. on October 5, December 2, February 22, March 22 and April 26, in City Country School, Calle Isla de la Soledad 2, 28035 Madrid. No appointment is needed.

 

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