One of the biggest differences between a Montessori school and traditional classrooms or the home school setting is the environment. At Mountain Shadows, our classrooms are clean, organized, specially arranged spaces designed to cultivate and nurture a child’s natural curiosity. It’s a difference you notice right away when you enter the learning space.
The floor plan and table arrangements allow students to explore and concentrate on a variety of subjects, working either alone or in small groups. All materials are invitingly arranged on low, open shelves; chairs, tables and other furniture are designed to fit the child. Sensorial materials enable children to classify, clarify, and comprehend their world. Math skills—from basic counting to geometry and algebra—are learned through counting rods, spindles, and beads.
This hands-on approach works for reading and writing as well. For example, in the Primary environment, children learn what letters look, sound, and actually feel like by tracing sandpaper letters with their fingers. With the moveable alphabet, they learn to begin building words and sentences phonetically. At the Elementary I level, grammatical principles such as the parts of speech are learned through concrete groupings and three-dimensional learning materials. In the Elementary II environment, hands-on learning may include building, preparing, and marketing products to sell at our annual school market.
At Mountain Shadows, each child chooses his or her own work each day. Just as adults often deal simultaneously with multiple disciplines in their work, our students learn in holistic ways rather than in compartmentalized “subjects.” The connections between “disciplines” such as history and geography are explored in relation to each other, just as they occur in real life.
Personal responsibility is learned early. The phrase “I can do it myself” is encouraged and heard throughout every environment, even among our youngest students.
In essence, the Primary environment offers individualized learning as unique as your child and support for your child’s development, rather than group-paced teaching. For more information, please see our Primary Program overview.
The Elementary I environment starts with a child’s natural wonder and cultivates it into intellect by blending discovery with discipline. Our goal is to empower children with the learning tools and life skills that will sustain them throughout their education and adult life.
For more information, please see our Elementary I Program overview.
The Elementary II environment fosters learning that is internally-driven by a love of learning, rather than externally-driven with grades. Individual learning is monitored by a system of checks and balances that tracks progress, fosters student autonomy and accountability, and ensures a well-rounded education. For more information, please see our Elementary II Program overview.
—Leena, mother of 3-year-old
Mountain Shadows Primary Program student
This is the most critical time in their
development. Learn what you need
to look for in a preschool.
Fostering a true love of learning and
respect for self, others, and community