In 1994, a unique partnership was formed between The Montessori Academy and the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Because of this partnership, a unique early childhood program now serves children at the Center by integrating Montessori philosophy, methodology, and materials with the special needs and gifts of homeless children ages 3 to 6.
The results have been remarkable.
Children who come through the door of this special classroom have experienced the extremes of human existence: hunger, poverty, abuse, homelessness, and neglect. For many, this classroom serves as the backdrop for their first experience with the realization that they can work to meet their own needs, with the limits and self-discipline that make society thrive, with the respect and value of being a contributing member of a community, with the sense of some small measure of order in their young lives, and with the freedom of choice to feel a sense of power in what can feel for them like a powerless existence.
This classroom exists, in part, to help break the cycle of homelessness, not only through what the classroom offers its young students, but through TMA’s oldest students who embark on a year long Community Engagement experience in their 8th grade year. This curriculum takes them to the Center every week to learn, to work and to build relationships. At TMA, we believe that social justice is fostered when we seek to understand the lives of those different from us and that true understanding comes best through the building of relationships.
If you would like to learn more about The Montessori Academy’s Early Childhood classroom at The Center for the Homeless, feel free to contact us.