Community Over Competition

Written by Directress Monica Dieter

The Montessori Method works to maximize the individual child’s academic potential. At Westshore, our classrooms are authentic Montessori environments designed to facilitate child-directed learning experiences. By engaging with materials that are accessibleinviting, and self-correcting, students develop independence, curiosity, and confidence.

As students build a strong sense of self, they reflect on the unique gifts they possess as individuals and how they can share these gifts with their classroom community. Unlike traditional schools, the children at Westshore are not all working on the same lesson at the same time, trying to reach the same goal. This means that the children are only ever competing against themselves. In this environment, the children are able to recognize the strengths of their peers with admiration and not jealousy.

II feel so fortunate to witness the moment a child reads their first word, and then a student who has been reading for over a year says with pride to their friend, “congratulations! You worked so hard and now you can read!” It is gratifying to hear words of support instead of something competitive, such as, “I can already read whole books and you can only read one word!” The children are so confident in their own strengths that they are not only able to celebrate the successes of their peers, but encourage them to reach their highest potential.

Our celebration of individuality fosters an environment where difference and individual growth is celebrated, and where a spirit of cooperation—not competition—motivates students to do their best work. I am so grateful for this community.