1st Day of School is August 29th
Children at work
Orcas Montessori is a non-profit 501C3:
Tax ID #91-1490036
The Montessori Method
History of the School
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.
The Montessori classroom offers children a wealth of hands-on activities. These are a mix of practical life, sensory, cultural, mathematic and literacy work. Each activity is presented individually and in keeping with each child’s needs and abilities, under observation of a trained guide.
We also offer ample time to explore and play outdoors.
A Community of Learners
Orcas Montessori School helps its 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 by developing their own sense of discipline and community, not by relying on an external system of rewards and punishments.
Meet Our Teachers
Robin moved to Orcas Island, with her four children, 36 years ago. Since then, she has raised her children, and been in involved in island activities (Funhouse Board of Directors, starting OASIS, teaching Form-Drawing, 4-H and more). Robin was introduced to Montessori education when her youngest daughter started OMS. Wanting to learn more, she volunteered at OMS doing everything from cleaning the school to becoming a classroom assistant. She also co-founded and taught the OMS summer Spanish and Arts program for 16 years. Currently, Robin is enrolled in Montessori Northwest’s teacher training program, leaving the public school after 15 years to fulfill her dream of becoming a Montessori teacher; she is looking forward to this next chapter!
Before moving to Orcas Island Robin lived at a Buddhist Retreat center in Vermont (and Colorado), had adventures in Europe, homesteaded in SE Ohio, but was born and grew up in New York City. Social justice, nature, family, and education are the main guiding themes her my life, which she brings to OMS!
When not in the classroom Robin will be studying and throwing pinecones for Dolly, the pomeranian, who enjoys children from a distance.
Teacher Robin's Dolly
Sophie began her Montessori journey as a teenager working at Montessori summer camps. It was there she became enthralled with the Montessori method’s empathy and understanding of the whole child. After graduating from Portland State University with a degree in International Development, Sophie began her professional career in politics and an educational non-profit benefitting Afghan girls. When the pandemic began, Sophie realized she wanted to be on the ground with children again and quickly enrolled in the Montessori Northwest and Whitworth University’s Primary Montessori Master’s Program. She started as a Co-teacher where she began as a teen in a Montessori environment in Seattle, Washington.
“I am thrilled to join the Orcas Montessori School Community! I am humbled that I can provide a playful, nurturing, and academic environment for children in such a gorgeous place; I am able to not only educate children for a better tomorrow but also grow myself as the children teach me something new about myself and the world every day.”
In her spare time, Sophie enjoys reading, knitting, and hiking with her husband, Nick, and dog, Yavanna. She is excited to begin learning to kayak on the Salish Sea! Yavanna loves to tag along wherever her humans are, but particularly loves meeting and playing with Sophie’s students.
Teacher Sophie's Yavanna
Tom Rubottom began working in the Montessori community in 1994, hoping to put his B.A. in psychology from Bowdoin College to good use. After 6 years as an assistant teacher at The Northwest Montessori School, Seattle’s oldest AMI classroom, he received his professional Montessori diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia in 2000. Since then, he has been a Guide at the Orcas Montessori School.
“While I came to Montessori largely by chance, I have been both inspired and humbled by the experience of seeing Dr. Montessori’s methods ring true with such an incredible diversity of children, and I feel exceptionally lucky to have been able to play a role in bringing her work to an island that offers such energy and support to our program as it evolves and expands.”
When not in the classroom, Tom fills his day gardening, playing a couple of stringed instruments and enjoying time with his wife, Madeline, their son, Finn and the family dog, Captain Mango Lightning, who, sadly, does not seem to care for children at all.
Teacher Tom's Captain Mango Lightening
Jai Brisbon is the Director of Orcas Montessori School. She started her career in Early Childhood Education over 20 years ago in a small Montessori school as a classroom teacher. After spending 8 years as a classroom teacher in public and private schools she focused her energy outside the classroom supporting teachers, schools, and communities, ensuring all families who choose will have access to outstanding Montessori classrooms.