455 Casteel Road
Marietta, GA 30064
info at riverstonemontessori dot com

Here's How We Do It
AMI Montessori
Conventional Education

AMI Montessori  Conventional 
Teachers receive a Master's level training in all academic subject areas spanning 3-6 years. This training also addresses complex social, emotional & developmental needs. Teachers are fully versed in the use of specific materials and classroom design. AMI trained teachers can work in schools throughout the world.  Teacher training focuses on generalized principles of instruction and classroom management.Specialized training is in a single subject area. Teachers must devise their own classroom design and materials. This education is often a Bachelor's level training. Individuals with specialized skills or training, but no instructional training, are often allowed in the classroom. 
The curriculum develops professional and social skills necessary to be successful in both academic and business environments. This includes critical thinking, self control, organization, planning, cognitive structures, leadership skills and fine motor development.   Students are expected to innately have the skills necessary to be successful learners. The teaching process focuses on developing memorization strategies, single task acquisition and rote knowledge. 
Students actively participate in collaboration with the teacher in understanding and developing their individual study plans based on their own interests and abilities. Daily goal setting and review are a part of the process.  The teacher has a dominant role in most classroom activities. The child becomes a passive participant in learning as lessons are pre-planned and designed for the needs of the group. Goals are set for the group with no opportunity for individual planning. 
Advancement is individually determined and occurs only after a student has mastered a skill. Students may advance as rapidly as possible in any subject. Progress reports are collaborative and focused on discussions of specific skills mastered and goal setting.   Advancement is age determined and may occur with only a partial understanding of the subject matter. Advanced students become bored, while remedial students continue to fall behind. The academic focus is on receiving a "grade" rather than appreciation and understanding of the subject matter.  
Students learn internal self-discipline and conflict resolution skills. Students discover how to express themselves appropriately to resolve even small conflicts. This is considered a necessary professional skill and is reinforced by positive peer pressure in a community environment.   The responsibility for identifying problem behaviors and resolving problems is placed with the teacher. Poor behavior is often tolerated until it becomes extreme. Punishment is the primary outcome and conflict resolution training is often ignored. 
Instruction is tailored to each child's learning style.  Instruction is determined by the teacher's style. 
Older students are encouraged to tutor each other as well as younger students. This provides a meaningful context in which to reinforce previously acquired skills that may be lost if not revisited. Collaboration is encouraged.   Most instruction is given solely by the teacher and collaboration is usually discouraged. Competition results from grade comparisons which limits group learning opportunities. Concepts are rarely revisited once a grade is assigned. 
All academic subjects are integrated to provide meaningful context. Students may study the geographic/geologic makeup of a region, its history, its current political/social structure, its art; present their findings in a powerpoint presentation to the class, as well as a play and an artistic representation.   Each subject area is differentiated requiring a greater time commitment to each as students move from class to class and teacher to teacher. Subjects are often taught without the meaningful context of relating them to other subjects to engage the student's interest. 
Students explore intellectual concepts from self-teaching, self-correcting materials offered in the classroom at their individual pace. Students are given as much time as is necessary to master a concept without interruption. Periods of intense interest provide in-depth learning.  The teacher guides the students as a group to prescribed concepts at a predetermined pace. Individuals may achieve only partial understanding and still move forward with the group. Interruptions are common with learning happening in short bursts of information.  
Students are taught organization and time management skills. They learn to allocate their work time on each subject or project based on individual ability to insure completion. This is a necessary skill in future professional and academic pursuit.  Planning resides with the teacher and focuses on group timelines. Students are passive and receive a specific time frame in which to complete a task regardless of their ability or success. As a result, they lack the skills to prepare for later collegiate experiences. 
The self-correcting materials in a classroom are designed to provide students with immediate feedback in the learning process. This allows them to immediately correct their own work rather than waiting for future feedback from the teacher. Errors are always corrected to reinforce mastery.  Completed work is given to a teacher who identifies mistakes and a letter grade assigned. Errors are not usually corrected. Feedback may occur after the student has moved into new study areas. As a result, students may advance with only partial understanding of the subject. 
Reinforcement of learning occurs through enjoyment of work and internal feelings of accomplishment as students successfully repeat and master a self-correcting manipulative task. They are then seen as leaders who can assist other students if needed. Self-esteem is nurtured.  Reinforcement of learning comes through the external evaluation of the teacher and comparisons with others through grade assignments. Students may become discouraged from learning as they compare themselves to others.  
The classroom is filled with multi-sensory materials in all subject areas. The physical exploration of classroom materials is encouraged, providing for sensory development and concrete learning experiences.  The classroom is designed to focus a child's attention on the work being presented and limit movement. Exploration and/or distractions are discouraged. Materials are provided as needed, with no student choice and are usually abstract text with no experiential component.  
Responsibility and independence are taught by offering an organized practical life program which guides younger children to care for themselves, their classroom, and the environment. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc. are part of the classroom experience.  The teacher or school staff are primarily responsible for maintaining the classroom environment. 
The curriculum is designed so that all academic concepts are learned during the school day. Homework is regularly avoided. When necessary it focuses on experiential tasks not possible with the resources of the classroom environment. Family time is valued and encouraged.   Homework may take several hours a night. This is a result of group goal setting with limited class time for student comprehension. Concepts are quickly introduced in the class and mastered/memorized at home.  
Classroom time is strictly devoted to academic instruction and developing professional and social skills. All subjects are taught in a single class throughout the day. The students have individual academic plans and work independently without having to wait on others as the teacher addresses individual questions or needs. Students may seek help from other students as needed without having to wait on the teacher.   Valuable academic time is lost in administrative tasks involving taking roll, changing classes, taking and grading tests. Often the entire class must wait as individual needs or concerns are addressed. Because time is limited, collaboration is discouraged and students often must wait for the teacher to have a question addressed to move forward.