ABOUT AFMWe strive to maximize your child’s potential
The original AFM Ahwatukee campus was founded in 1995 on the belief that every child should be helped to reach their maximum potential and that every child has the right to be treated with love and respect in their school environment. As AFM Education continues to grow and expand, we remain true to our high academic standards, our family environment, and our commitment to the Montessori approach and philosophy.
Each of our AMS Certified Montessori Directresses have extensive teaching experience and are committed to helping your children maximize their academic potential, while focusing on the development of the Whole Child. Our support staff are wonderful, caring, and compassionate and will help your child feel at home in our environment.
How Can You Tell If It Is Really Montessori?
The Montessori name is not protected by copyright, so how can you tell if a school is a “real Montessori?”
Here are some things to look for:
- a certificate of affiliation from a recognized institution
- Montessori materials
- a work cycle that allows ample time for concentration and materials use
- Montessori trained and certified teachers in every classroom
- classrooms that “hum” with productive noise
- an atmosphere of respect
- confident, independent children
- social interaction as part of the classroom structure
- individualized programs for each student
Dr. Maria Montessori distinguished herself not only as the first female medical doctor in Italy, but also as a dedicated scientist and educator.
She established the first “Casa dei Bambino” (Children’s House) in Rome in 1907, and through extensive observation and insight, developed an approach to child education, which encompassed a new philosophy of education.
The teacher’s role is to connect the child to the Montessori materials and resources of the classroom and to maintain a calm, peaceful classroom environment to aid concentration. The children learn through concentration on, and interaction with, the Montessori materials.
Excitement over the Montessori method of education exploded in North America with the publication of an article in McClure’s Magazine in 1911 entitled, “An Educational Wonder Worker: The Methods of Maria Montessori.” Dr. Montessori’s first American student Anne George opened the first North American Montessori School in New York in 1911. Today Montessori’s philosophy and methods of education are respected and practiced worldwide.
Dr. Montessori continued to lecture, write books and train students in her teaching method until her death in 1952.
The preschool and Kindergarten program at AFM is designed for children 2½ years of age through kindergarten. In order to be enrolled, all children should be able to use the bathroom independently.
The children in the AFM preschool and kindergarten program spend a good portion of their time during the day involved in both group and individual lessons using Montessori equipment and materials.
Additional lessons include Spanish, Art, Art appreciation, music and movement.
Special events such as visits from professional storytellers, magicians, environmentalists/nature lovers and musicians play an important role in the children’s education.
Our student/staff ratio is 1 adult for every 7 students.
Montessori education employs a mixed-age grouping so that children may move at their individually appropriate academic pace while staying with their social peers. Children also have the opportunity to teach and assist others with subjects they have already learned about. This provides a review of their skills while developing confidence and self-esteem. The mixed-age group also mirrors the world they are preparing to enter, and provides opportunity for fully developing the skills required to live effectively in our society.
Parents are encouraged to continue their child in Montessori through their kindergarten year in order to receive the maximum, long-term advantage from the experience.
Montessori education is an individually based learning model. Each child has their own lesson plan, and is presented with new concepts when ready. Every child advances through the curricula at their own pace.
Montessori math materials are designed to present mathematical concepts in concrete form. Even very young children are able to work on linear counting, operations, and decimal system activities with materials that are fun to use and engage the child’s interest. Children who complete AFM’s preschool/kindergarten program have a very strong mathematical foundation, and a far deeper understanding of mathematical concepts than students whose primary form of learning math is through memorization.
The Montessori language curriculum is designed to stimulate self-expression by building a child’s vocabulary, syntax and grammar. Teachers guide children through AFM’s proprietary reading process, beginning with phonetic sounds. Through this phonetic approach, children develop strong reading and comprehension skills. Because of these acquired skills, reading becomes effortless and pleasurable. The reading program compliments and reinforces lessons taught using the Montessori language materials. Concepts are presented in multiple ways to better help the child absorb the information.
The study of science is pursued primarily through real life experiences in the classroom. Children may examine leaves, plants, or flowers with a magnifying glass and compare them to nomenclature cards. They may raise insect colonies and study their behavior before releasing them. Children study animal classifications and life cycles. Simple experiments using water and magnets are undertaken as a group or individually. Students begin to make predictions about what they think might happen, and develop a healthy curiosity of the scientific world.
Geography and Social Studies:
The study of geography begins in the preschool program with the introduction of the simple globes and the large puzzle maps. Children learn about land and water, oceans and continents, then more specifically, countries within the continents. The study of different countries creates the opportunity to introduce customs and cultures from around the world. International books, stories, and photos are used to enhance these cultural lessons.
The sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom are designed specifically to help the child develop their tactile, visual, and spatial perceptions. The materials are precisely, mathematically calibrated to demonstrate variables such as height, width, depth, length, and breadth. The materials are beautiful and engaging, enticing the child to experiment with them. The sensorial materials are intended to grow with the child, so that the level of concentration required to complete the various activities is developmentally appropriate and changes over time.
This introductory area of the curriculum focuses on developing the child’s senses of order, concentration, coordination, and independence. The activities focus on self-care skills, care of the environment, and grace and courtesy. Children learn how to master practical skills such as pouring water, buttoning a shirt, using tongs, threading beads, etc., while also indirectly preparing for more difficult tasks. As the child’s hand strength, focus, and ability to complete a task increases, more complex lessons from other curricula can be introduced.
Parents as Partners:
Based on our experience and observation, children whose parents take an interested, active role in their education have a greater chance for academic success and improved social development.
At AFM we work as partners with parents. All classroom Directresses make themselves available to parents each week between formal conferences to better facilitate communication.
We also involve parents in the following ways:
- two formal parent/teacher conferences every school year
- holiday programs and parties
- one way observation windows in each classroom
- parent appreciation brunch
- classroom birthday parties
AFM In The News
Ahwatukee Foothills News:
Learn more about the 25+ year history of Ahwatukee Foothills Montessori, the faculty that makes the Montessori experience so successful, and students who have thrived academically after attending.
Come Visit & Compare!
An informative, guided tour of our campus by our director is available by appointment. Contact us for more info.