The school currently uses a technology curriculum that involves children as young as six in the active integration of technology into the Montessori classroom. The 6-year-old child is able to create Powerpoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, write/edit their own stories and master keyboarding. Each 1-6th-grade classroom has its own Smartboard and the school has over 20 desk & laptops and 10 i-Pads for student use. The students are also permitted to bring their laptops from home for the purposes of work and as one tours the 1-8th grade, technology is readily available and actively being used. The purposeful integration of technology into the elementary grades is aligned with our state standards but also addressed as a necessity for our accreditation standards. Preparing students for the 21st century is foremost in our strategic initiatives and embraced in Montessori has an “aid to life.” Other additions relevant to STEAM and STEM initiatives include a 3D printer, coding exercises and various robotics activities.
The elementary and middle school staff are dedicated to the philosophy that the learning process for elementary students and beyond should include purposeful integration of technology instruction, in keeping with Montessori education. “The American Montessori Society encourages and supports exploring the use of technology in Montessori educational environments, especially at the elementary and higher levels. Using technology is appropriate and desirable for a variety of student uses. Intelligently integrated into the Montessori environment, technology can be a valuable communication tool that may promote Montessori tenets.” (AMS position paper, 2011) Additionally, systematic feedback from the secondary schools that typically integrate our students in their populations indicates that the students must be proficient in technology in order to thrive in their next learning environment.
Hilltop Montessori School adopted the following Technology Vision Statement in 2012 and finds this still applicable today:
Hilltop Montessori School will provide its elementary and middle school students with a fully developed, current technology program to ensure that the students are appropriately equipped to utilize new technologies for the next phase of their education and throughout their lifetime.
Regarding our early childhood programming, we are making a comprehensive decision to delay exposure to classroom technology for children under school age. In particular with the very young, we realize that digital experiences should not take the place of hands-on, real ones. The faculty certainly acknowledge that the recent onset of touch screens have allowed those who cannot read, free access to technology interaction but HMS will leave this decision in the hands of parents as to what is best for their very young child and refrain from having technology as a learning tool in its early childhood areas.