Introducing Mansfield Montessori
Melissa Arnold, an entrepreneur for more than 28 years with over 33 years in the pre-school industry, is the founder of Mansfield Montessori. Ms. Arnold is Montessori Certified and holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Development. She is also a mother of four children, each of whom was raised in her preschools. Two of her children received their education from Ms. Liz Acevedo, Ms. Allison Sanchez, and Ms. Kathy Young, all of whom are Montessori teachers at Mansfield Montessori. Melissa is also a professional actress and holds an acting degree from KD Actors Conservatory of the Southwest. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring her creative side, as well as spending time with her family.
Melissa Arnold founded Mansfield Montessori in August 2010. She briefly stepped out of the educational preschool business in 2006 to enter the corporate world for her first time. Ms. Arnold expressed, “I learned a lot working in a corporate setting, but what I discovered to be most profound is that when you love educating children, it is like a magnet. Administrating and teaching in an educational preschool setting is a passionate calling that always eventually beckons one back.”
When Melissa Arnold returned to the educational preschool setting, she knew she wanted to achieve even more for the families and children in her school. Her goal was for building an educational preschool environment where preschool teachers could truly teach. Moreover, one that would empower children with valuable life lessons, such as: What I give to the world is what I will receive. I am love and respect. I may choose harmony and happiness daily. I am powerful and can achieve everything I want. I am full of potential, talents, and abilities.
“I wanted to plant seeds of interest within the children that would grow into a passion for learning a foreign language, sign language, science, language arts, art, history, math and even yoga,” says Ms. Arnold. “I wanted a school that would build a child’s confidence and self-esteem so much — to the point that they knew they could accomplish anything. I wanted my school to make more than just a ‘difference’ in a child’s life. Mansfield Montessori is about impacting, in a powerful way, every child and family that walks through the door.”
The Montessori Method became the doorway to accomplish her dream.
An excellent school may be founded by a single individual but is never built by one person. Doing so requires an army of amazing teachers with a shared vision for children. Mansfield Montessori is blessed with a staff who have served in educational preschool for years and have worked with Ms. Arnold for fifteen-to-thirty years. Each believes in the Montessori philosophy and that the best education begins with love and respect.
What is the Montessori method?
Maria Montessori developed what came to be known as the Montessori Method in the late 1800’s. The first woman to ever complete medical school, Montessori found herself drawn to educating children and creating a method of teaching that fostered the individual child. While working with children with disabilities, she developed materials and methods that proved children with disabilities could learn. Soon, she became known as the educator who could accomplish miracles among children with unique challenges. After that, she began introducing methods and sensory materials to children without any special challenges and realized, after intense observation, that her method was universal. She concluded that children (especially those under three and a half) preferred order: having a chance to keep things in order; doing real life work; using real life objects rather than toys; working in a quiet setting and often time in a quiet setting; learning and practicing socially acceptable behaviors; being able to self–correct their own mistakes; as well as being independent and doing tasks for themselves and the freedom to choose their own work.
Maria Montessori believed a teacher’s role was to guide, inspire, and facilitate — not to lecture or force behavior. Montessori believed that children should be encouraged to move throughout a classroom and that teachers must closely observe a child before knowing what’s needed to help them learn. The Montessori Method is premised on the belief that children possess a capacity to absorb large amounts of information through their environment and senses. Teachers must be aware of a child’s “sensitive period” because it provides the best opportunity for a child to learn.
Most of all, the Method is based on love and respect for oneself, others, and everything within the environment. Even in the late 1800’s, Maria Montessori taught children to respect their surroundings and to be environmentally conscious.
Montessori Education Benefits the Child
Children educated by the Montessori Method learn and experience a sense of order that impacts a broad range of skills and disciplines, such as creativity, self-expression, independence, confidence, social skills. It also encourages self-respect and love for others. Academic success ultimately results from an increase in confidence and self-esteem, as well as the ability to advance at one’s own pace.
New research even suggests that children who attend Montessori schools have the edge over other children, concerning academic and social development. Researchers tested thirty, 5-year-old children and twenty-nine, 12-year-old children who attended a public inner-city Montessori school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They also tested a similar number of 5 and 12-year-old children who attended non-Montessori schools in Milwaukee. The 5-year-old Montessori students were found to have better reading and math skills than their peers in traditional schools, and they scored higher on tests measuring social development.
Mansfield Montessori at Walnut Creek operates with five Directors that oversee our school’s operations. Melissa Arnold is an onsite Owner/Executive Director, along with four other directors who oversee education, marketing, and operations. Each classroom has a Montessori Certified Teacher with an assistant. The school maintains a low child/staff ratios in classrooms to foster an ideal learning environment. Also, educational assessments are obtained three times a year, providing teachers and parents an educational baseline for each child from ages two-and-a-half through six.
Our greatest desire is for every child entering our school to acquire a deep love and passion for learning that will guide them throughout life. Our aim is that each child will achieve their greatest educational and personal aspirations and that somehow, in some way, we will have instilled lessons that will positively impact them throughout their lives. As a family exits our school, it is our greatest hope that they leave having experienced something invaluable and that, above all, knowing they were loved and respected.