Learning at MSD
Supporting all learners
Our school has made a commitment to recognize the strengths and challenges that students with learning differences have. Maria Montessori began her route in education after observing children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She questioned the methods in use and developed the Montessori method of teaching to benefit all children.
Montessori and Dyslexia
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurobiological, language-based learning disability that can cause difficulties in areas such as reading, writing, and spelling. This brain-based processing difference manifests in different ways but affects the way a person stores, uses, and sends out information. It is important to remember that no two dyslexic learners are exactly alike. Learning differences like dyslexia are more common than people think. 15-20% of people have a language-based learning disability yet very few schools are trained in how to support these learners.
How does Montessori support a student with Dyslexia?
The Montessori approach to learning is multi-sensory and hands-on which naturally takes into consideration all types of learners and makes learning more concrete. A Montessori classroom is mixed aged which allows for children to learn at their own pace in each of the different areas. This environment creates a culture where children aren’t singled out. Subjects are not taught by grade but are taught when a child shows that they are ready. There are no periods or timed work, students are allowed extra time if needed.
Montessori teaches cursive starting in our Children’s House. Research has shown that learning cursive is helpful for students with dyslexia. Cursive writing develops a physical memory of the letters and reduces the reversals of some letters and allows for letters to flow. It is also easier to differentiate between lower and uppercase letters.
How does the Montessori School of Duluth support students with Dyslexia?
In 2018 we hired a reading specialist who works with all of the children in the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on Literacy and Reading. She is utilizing the training she is receiving in Structured Literacy/Orton-Gillingham through the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin to aid in the reading instruction for all children and provide more intense interventions to those students who benefit.
In our Elementary Classroom we use a systematic multi-sensory curriculum called Logic of English that melds nicely with the Montessori language curriculum. This curriculum allows for all different types of learners (auditory, visual and kinesthetic) to learn using the same material without singling out a single student. This curriculum supplements the Montessori approach to developing reading and writing skills.
Additionally, we recognize that students with dyslexia are very intelligent and need to continue to be challenged in other areas of their learning which is why we have incorporated use of voice to text and audio books into choices for those who may benefit. We also recognize that they may require additional support and interventions. We are able to provide additional interventions during the day every day. Multiple lessons go on every day.