Ruffing’s faculty is our most precious resource and we take great pride in our teaching staff’s experience and training.
Many of our faculty have been teaching at Ruffing for more than twenty years, and their depth of knowledge about children, education, and Montessori serve our families well. More than 95% of our lead classroom teachers hold a bachelor's degree, with fifteen having earned a master’s degree (or higher). Every classroom is led by a Montessori-trained teacher, whom we refer to as a Lead Guide, and every Lead Guide has at least one Classroom Assistant. Ruffing is fortunate that most of our Classroom Assistants are also Montessori-trained. In fact, twenty-three employees (faculty and staff), including Ruffing’s Head of School, are Montessori-trained.
What does it mean to be “Montessori-trained?”
Montessori training takes place over an academic year and requires a bachelors degree and admission to a Montessori training school. Each training course delves into the areas of developmental psychology, Montessori theory and education, with practical, hands-on classroom training, observation and practice teaching under the guidance of a Montessori-trained teacher and trainer. The completion of this coursework can apply towards graduate credit in most college and university programs.
What a Montessori teacher does . . .
When you walk into a Montessori classroom, you will likely find a small group of children seated on the floor, immersed in open books and a map of Asia. Close by, you may see another child working individually with montessori materials reinforcing a geometry lesson that he received earlier in the day. Still more children may be working collaboratively at a table or even quietly reading a book in a comfy chair. You will hear the cheerful buzz of children softly talking, conversing, laughing and the quiet hum of productive activity. You may even smell bread, muffins or pretzels baking – all prepared by the children.
Where is the teacher, you might ask? She or he may be difficult to find at first, but alas, you see her seated on the floor demonstrating a lesson on verbs to a small group of children. Of particular interest is the fact the other children are orderly and calm, going about their work with purpose and without needing an adult to keep them quiet or on task.
Indeed, the classroom environment does not simply happen, but it is the result of the hard work of the Montessori teacher to prepare the classroom environment around the children’s interests and academic needs, to provide Montessori materials that are both engaging and self-correcting, and to give lessons approrpriately to students to keep them challenged but not frustrated, productive and not simply “busy.”
The Montessori teacher models behavior at all times, to be calm, thoughtful and empathetic towards others. Our teachers emphasize independence, as well as teach freedom with responsibility, both important foundational aspects of the Montessori philosophy. Through keen observation and meticulous record keeping, teachers guide each child through the curriculum, seeking to ignite their imagination, sense of investigation and discovery.
Through Montessori training, our teachers learn not only how to use the materials to teach, but to organize the classroom and manage the curriculum across three grades/age levels, ensuring each child progresses and masters academic, social and emotional skills.