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Welcoming children ages 2 & 1/2 to 6 to a dynamic learning environment
When choosing a first school experience, you want a place where your children will feel happy and secure, surrounded by an environment that stimulates learning.
You look for a place where your children will be treated with respect as individuals, where children discover what is expected of them in a community that they help create.
You want a place with a consistent, highly regarded approach to early childhood development. You look for a place with dedicated teachers.
A classic Montessori classroom like Orcas Montessori School is just such a place.
Founded in 1988, Orcas Montessori School on Orcas Island offers a dynamic learning environment for preschoolers and kindergartners based on the educational philosophy and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori, Italy’s first female physician and a pioneer in childhood education, convened her first classroom in Rome in 1907. Her philosophy and methods have been tested for over 100 years.
Our school year begins in September and ends in early June, with holidays and vacations parallel to the public school’s schedule. Monday through Thursday, we offer morning-only, afternoon-only, and all-day sessions, depending on each child’s readiness and classroom space availability. We also offer Friday morning sessions for families who need the convenience of a 5-day school week.
“Our goal is to provide the children with a classroom and curriculum that promote their natural and spontaneous physical, intellectual and social growth,” says head guide Tom Rubottom.
The Montessori Method
“The Montessori classroom offers children a wealth of hands-on activities,” explains school director Teresa Chocano. “Each activity is presented individually and in keeping with each child’s needs and abilities, under observation of a trained guide.”
Orcas Montessori School helps its 20-25 students create a “community of learners” in which the younger students observe the developing skills of the older students, while the older children develop leadership skills and help the younger students. This approach fosters independent learning and a lively, cooperative system.
When children encounter interpersonal differences, we seek to help them work out those differences not by relying on an external system of rewards and punishments, but by developing their own sense of discipline and community.
The Prepared Environment
The “prepared environment” is at the heart of the Montessori method. It allows for the spontaneity and independence that mark Dr. Montessori’s philosophy. It includes a wide variety of materials, all of which are real (wood vs. plastic), aesthetically pleasing and self-correcting. They encourage the movement so necessary to a child’s early development. The prepared environment consists of four main areas:
- The Language Area teaches language in its spoken, written and reading forms.
- The Mathematics Area introduces concepts of quantity and the decimal system.
- The Practical Life Area provides practice in everyday skills, grace and courtesy.
- The Sensorial Area refines perceptions of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
While the Montessori classroom is a place primarily for children, we rely upon parents for many things, including open communication. To promote healthy parent-child relationships, we provide parent education nights, school newsletters, classroom observations and one-on-one parent conferences. When helpful, we direct parents to additional resources in the community. Our school has openings for ECEAP and DSHS Working Connections students. Work scholarship programs and tuition assistance are also available, if needed.
Orcas Montessori School is a federal non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code 501c3 and does not discriminate against any persons based on race, gender, handicap, creed, religion or lifestyle.
Please Contact Us
Our classroom environment is much richer than we can illustrate on this website. We welcome you to visit in person. Please call us so we can arrange a time to help you learn more about the wonderful Montessori school we’ve created here on Orcas Island.
Orcas Montessori School
1147 North Beach Road, Eastsound, WA 98245