“Free the child’s potential and transform him into the world.” Maria Montessori
Montessori is a child-centered, evidence-based approach to education that grows from Dr. Maria Montessori’s scientific observations of young children more than a century ago at the Casa dei Bambini, a school she founded for underprivileged children in Rome. The entire Montessori program, including materials, lessons, classroom environment and student-teacher dynamic, is designed to meet the specific intellectual, social and emotional needs of children at each stage of their development, from infancy through adolescence.
Montessori works with — not against — human nature to nurture a child’s natural desire to learn. Dr. Steven Hughes, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology, calls Montessori the first brain-based approach to learning because it is based upon scientific principles of human development.
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A foundation for a lifetime of learning
“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn,” Maria Montessori said. The Montessori primary program, considered by many as the gold standard for early childhood education, guides children to:
- Pursue their innate desire to explore and learn
- Develop intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially
- Become independent, confident and self-motivated
- Develop a lifetime love of learning
- Care for themselves, their environment and community
A “laboratory for learning”
The three-to-six year old is a very active and eager student. The Montessori classroom environment has been called a “laboratory for learning,” designed around principles of child development to engage young children in purposeful exploration and discovery.
With 40 years of experience working with young children, Mountaineer Montessori offers a fully-implemented primary program, with credentialed faculty and a rich, rotating menu of authentic materials and lessons, focusing on the following areas: cultural, math, language, practical life and sensorial.
A morning at Mountaineer Montessori
Montessori primary curriculum
The Montessori primary curriculum includes:
Peer-reviewed research finds that children with a Montessori primary education outperform their traditional school counterparts in reading and math and demonstrate higher levels of “executive skills” (including independence, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration) that lead to future academic and social success. We invite you to learn more about Montessori outcomes and our alumni.
Follow the child
Children work at their own pace using beautiful, research-based materials and lessons that inspire interest and encourage appreciation of beauty and order. Students are given individual presentations on the materials and are free to choose from a wide choice of activities.
Construction of the self
Montessori is a “constructivist” form of education, based the understanding that learning is an active process in which people gain new knowledge based upon experience and reflection.
“The children are led by and follow their inner voice. This voice attracts the child to particular lessons and/or materials that ‘speak’ to them. The children are given the foundational lessons along with the ground rules of the classroom, and are then ‘free to explore’ (within limits). From this moment forth, the child finds inspiration and is able to create their own trajectory in the construction of self.” — Samantha Van Den Berghe-Lynch, Primary Guide
Love of community…love of learning
Our faculty closely observe each child’s level of readiness for the next lesson and guide him or her through the comprehensive Montessori curriculum. Children also engage in daily group experiences in order to build community and to develop their social skills. Most importantly, children in the primary classroom develop a love of their school community and a love of learning, finding peaceful joy in their pursuit of knowledge.
Learning through movement
“Watching a child makes it obvious that he learns through movement.” Maria Montessori
Movement is a major component of the MMS primary curriculum, supporting students’ physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Daily outdoor sessions offer children the opportunity to develop gross motor skills, strength and balance through work with boards, tires and balance beams and free time on playground equipment. Dance, yoga and other physical expression opportunities are incorporated into the classroom. Full day primary students also participate in sports and physical education classes at Triana Field and other UC facilities under the supervision of our PE Specialist, Nancy Johnston, an experienced, trained Montessori professional.
To learn more about sports and fitness at MMS, please follow this link.
At MMS, the outdoor environment is an extension of the classroom. Each day, children enjoy extended time in nature’s classroom to create, grow and discover.
Mountaineer Montessori offers an exceptional arts program for students at all levels. Creative expression is embedded throughout the Montessori primary curriculum, nurturing students’ development through art, music and movement. Classroom lessons are furthered enriched through Kindermusik and Orff classes, art with Barrie Kaufman and workshops with artists-in-residence.
Meet our MMS Faculty Specialists.
To learn more about our comprehensive music program, please follow this link.
“Peace is what every man is craving for and it can be brought about to humanity through the child.” Maria Montessori believed in the power of education to create a better world through the child and was a pioneer in education for peace. The Montessori peace curriculum helps children develop respect and learn to care for themselves and others, their school environment, their community and their world. At MMS, the Montessori peace philosophy is practiced in the classroom through grace and courtesy and in the larger world through community engagement and volunteer service.
MMS teachers have received specialized training in and practice Positive Discipline in our classrooms, and our faculty includes certified Positive Discipline Parent Educators.
Learn more about our tradition of service on our Montessori Peace Philosophy and Community Engagement page.
Guest speakers and artists-in-residence
Guest speakers, artists-in-residence and educational assemblies enrich our primary program, inspiring imagination and opening horizons for our students.
Tour our primary prepared environments
We invite you to take a photo tour of our primary learning areas:
A total education experience
At MMS, primary students and their families enjoy the benefits of our total education experience and participate in the full life of our school community. As part of the Montessori mixed-age learning environment, elementary and middle school students work with their primary friends on lessons and school projects, enjoy time together on the playground, and participate in many wonderful special events throughout the year. We invite you to learn more about some of our signature events and activities and the traditions that define the MMS experience for students and their families.
MMS currently offers two fully-equipped primary classrooms, each staffed by two AMS/AMI trained Montessori educators — a lead guide and a classroom assistant. Their leadership is supported by certified, full-time, onsite Montessori mentors, who bring more than 50 years of experience in authentic Montessori primary classrooms. Meet our MMS Primary Faculty.
Primary class schedule
- Primary students attend class five days per week with hours based on age:
- Mornings for children 3 through 4-1/2 years (8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.)
- Extended day for children ages 4-1/2 through 6 years (8:00 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.)
- Early drop-off and after-school programming is available for primary students.
The Plus Program is an extension of the MMS classroom, offering a range of creative and educational activities in a warm, nurturing environment supervised by trained Montessori educators.
You can learn more about our Plus Program here.
A Day in the Life of a Montessori Primary Classroom
Observations from a Montessori grandmother