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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 accessible, inviting, 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. With this environment, the children are able to recognize the strengths of their peers with admiration and not jealousy.

I feel so fortunate to witness the moment a child reads their first word and a student who has been reading for over a year, filled with pride for their friend, says “congratulations! You worked so hard and now you can read!” instead of, “I can already read books and you just 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 is celebrated, and where a spirit of cooperation—not competition—motivates students to do their best work. I am so grateful for this community.