"The purpose of life is to obey the hidden command which ensures harmony among all and creates an ever better world. We are not created only to enjoy the world, we are created in order to evolve the cosmos."
At Rogers Park Montessori School, the principle of Citizenship in Dr. Montessori’s curriculum is entwined in every day classroom routines and programs from Toddler through Middle School.
"The young toddler will wash their own hands and focus on themselves and the things around them," notes Lorena Gomez, Willow Assistant Teacher. "They learn through routine of caring 'I take care of what I am doing, I put things away, so that the next person can enjoy the work the right way, just like I did'." They put important things they want to take care of in their cubby, share the classroom and bathrooms.
"In the Ginkgo Room we learn about 'responsibility for my classmates',” explains Amy Koziol, Preschool Head Teacher. "It’s not about the letters and numbers, it’s about how you treat other people. We recently created art for the classroom “Grow Your Heart” to reflect on that responsibility. And upon returning in January, one young student aptly described this, as “Our New Year’s Revolution.”
Another unique example at RPMS that unites this theme throughout the school was put into place recently by Lila Yusen, Special Needs Resource Coordinator, and Vanessa Payton, Aspen Resource Assistant. Along with a group of six Aspen (Middle School) students, they set up a program to have older students assist 2nd and 3rd graders as they use a program called 'Read Naturally' to build reading fluency. The 8th graders were trained on the software, scheduled time with elementary teachers’ schedules, and now are able to guide the younger students with the program.
"Having the older students participating has really been a success thus far,” says Lila. "The younger students have more time and dedicated partners to work with. The Resource Team continues to set goals, monitor progress and work individually with the young readers."
"After we finish our own assignments during the morning work cycle, we spend time with our partner students. It’s fun to go back downstairs and get the chance to help," remarks Safiya Martinez, an 8th grader. "We’ve been trained on the software and get to work with the same students each week. In Aspen, we are at the far opposite end of the building. This really feels like we are connecting the whole school by working with each other."