We are an authentic Montessori school
Montessori Family School is proud to be a full member of the American Montessori Society, and each of our classroom head teachers is Montessori trained. We believe it is important that parents understand the essential characteristics of an authentic Montessori program like MFS.
The basic tenet of Montessori education is that a child engaged in exploration and discovery in a carefully prepared environment will reach his or her fullest potential. Under the guidance of our well-trained and caring staff, children are encouraged to pursue their academic interests and make responsible choices for themselves. In these ways a child constructs a powerful sense of self and exhibits the ownership, flexibility and creativity crucial for 21st century learners.
An MFS education is child centered. Montessori teachers carefully observe their students, listen for questions that children most urgently ask, and discover the learning activities that motivate the children in their classroom. At MFS, our teachers continually adapt the learning environment to provide optimal conditions for children’s self-motivated learning.
MFS fosters independence and self-discipline. The MFS experience helps children grow into autonomous, self-confident individuals. Young children learn to take care of themselves and their environment and to choose work independently. As they grow older, they learn to manage their time and focus on projects that they design.
MFS creates a nurturing environment. MFS gives children an environment in which they feel safe, comfortable, and secure, surrounded by loving friends and caring teachers. Children are comfortable making mistakes and learning from them. They learn to seek help when they need it, and to give help when they can.
MFS builds a strong foundation on conceptual understanding. Students work with carefully designed materials at increasingly abstract levels. They develop a firm understanding of concepts at a concrete level, and later build on those concepts as they mature into abstract thought.
MFS cultivates compassion and empathy as the foundation for peace. Learning by exploration and discovery, with respectful recognition of the complexities of difference of ideas and of peoples in a world of global challenge, is our greatest gift to our students. MFS teachers encourage cooperative work, teach conflict resolution skills, and help children see themselves as part of the rich fabric of society.
MFS inspires curious, lifelong learners. MFS encourages children to bring their curiosity to school. Whether they are inspired to learn to tie their shoes or learn about reptile behavior, students receive encouragement for exploration, along with the skills they need to become independent in their learning. As one MFS parent put it, “Montessori students don’t shy away from challenge and ambiguity, then lean into it.”
We are an independent school
As an “independent school,” Montessori Family School is different from many other private schools.
First, independent schools are governed by a board of directors. They are independently financed through tuition, charitable giving and endowment revenue. They independently draft their own missions and determine their academic and extracurricular programs.
Independent school teachers are passionate about teaching. In small class settings they are able to develop close relationships with children, getting to know each child as an individual personally and as a learner.
Independent schools, although unique from one another in terms of mission, are firmly committed to providing children with a safe environment in which they can feel supported, challenged, acknowledged and successful.
Independent schools are free from the bureaucracy of local and state school regulations, and are able to develop their own curricula and benchmarks for student achievement. Generally, these curricula surpass common core standards or state requirements. Independent schools are free to hire the teachers they wish and they are free to evaluate teaching performance, rewarding those who exceed expectations and removing those who come up short.
Finally, independent schools recognize that the true value of education is not preparing students for this year’s tests, but for all of life’s tests. They don’t subscribe to the high-stakes testing culture and understand that the best education is a values-added experience that provides a structured, nurturing environment where young people learn not only reading, math, and science, but also the importance of hard work, leadership, personal responsibility, and good citizenship.
We are a small school
By design, Montessori Family School is a small school, with approximately 150 students in grades Pre-K through 8. A small school has distinct strengths, which benefit students, parents, faculty and staff.
Mission Focused: A small school, with a strong and focused mission, is united around a common purpose, which drives the school on a daily and yearly basis. Its mission defines the school and its values, and bonds students, teachers and families. As a small mission-focused school, MFS is able to concentrate on providing the best Montessori elementary education possible in a diverse community.
A Close Knit Community: In a small school students, teachers, administrators and parents get to know each other very well. Deep connections are built between students, teachers and parents at all levels of the school. Students young and old encounter each other on a daily basis, know each others’ names, and learn and play with one another. Classrooms become an extension of family. Parental involvement, shared educational values, and close relationships sustain and are sustained by a small school.
Smart, Simple Finances: Because MFS is an independent school, and does not receive state or federal support, our program is not subject to cutbacks. Because small schools generally maintain small endowments, they do not rely on investment returns to fund major portions of their operating budgets, and are able to weather the gyrations of the stock market. Small schools learn to be careful with their finances, running lean and focusing on what matters most – its teachers, curriculum and an excellent educational experience for children.