"My daughter is currently in her sixth year of Montessori instruction - and she loves going to school every bit as much now as she did in her first year at the Orcas Montessori School. It's been a pleasure to hear her talk about her interests, favorite works and exciting new additions to the classroom as she explores it all herself.
What's reassuring - and even surprising at times - is how the self-led, hands-on philosophy of Montessori education has manifested in her every day life. Just this weekend, she made - unprompted - a 'to-do' list of all the things she and her friend were to accomplish during their playdate (she's 8). The mixed age classroom with an emphasis on leadership helped her develop real compassion for her peers and we heard many stories of a younger classmate who she had taken under her wing, guiding him around the classroom because, she insisted, 'nobody understands him.'
She's the first to raise her hand to participate in ANYTHING new and pursues her activities with dedication and focus, whether it's studying her vocabulary units every night so she can finish them all by the end of the year or teaching her little brother how to build towers out of blocks."
Regan Vaughn, Alumni Parent
"Orcas Montessori School benefited my children in numerous ways, both scholastically and emotionally. I have a son and a daughter, two years different in age and worlds apart educationally and emotionally. My son, the elder child, is a gentle, outgoing kid full of curiously and friendship. He loves math. With the independent learning style of Montessori, he was able to fully immerse himself in the fundamentals of addition, counting by tens, and so on. He would become so wrapped up in his learning that everything around him seemed to disappear; at night he would come home with long scrolls of numbers work. He also very much enjoyed the freedom to choose a new activity and explore its function in his own time, whether it be creating 3D world maps, animal identification, or playing musical notes on bells.
Two years later, my daughter started at OMS. She is quite shy and did not want to go into a classroom, even knowing some of the kids. At first it was a daily morning struggle but as she settled in she blossomed. She found her love of books, and learned to write stories phonetically. Her creative side flourished with the freedom to draw, paint and create. And her ability to greet people by looking them in the face and say hello was a monumental step forward, thanks to strong bonds made with the OMS teacher’s and staff.
One of the many yet often-overlooked accomplishments of OMS is teaching independence. How to clean the table after eating, how to make a bed, clean cups, and tie laces. I am so proud watching my kids clear their own plates after eating dinner at a friend’s house without being asked to do so.
Both attended all three years of the program, for which I am grateful. The third year of the program cements the skills learned over the first two years allowing the children to be ‘leaders,’ helping younger kids learn the work. It’s the right age to build empathy, leadership and increasing self worth to see that they can help others. The three year cycle is completed as they move from introductory learners to leaders. Now that my kids are older, the foundation of Montessori is clearly imprinted in their learning styles and activities— there’s no better learner than one who is eager to learn. "
Jamie Donatudo, Alumni Parent
When I was three I begged my mom to take me to school. We investigated each preschool/Kindergarten and I gravitated towards Montessori, I was drawn to the little schoolhouse and the curated atmosphere. I have SO many vivid memories of my time in Montessori, probably because I loved it all so much. From the minute I walked in I never wanted to leave, the layout of the classroom and the materials were incredibly appealing. I could work on lessons by myself, all by myself… who hasn’t heard a little kid get excited about doing something “all by themselves”? It was paradise for my relentless curiosity.
Montessori helped me to figure out my learning style early on. I’m a visual learner, and knowing how to help myself understand any material proved invaluable from preschool to college. The holistic approach of Montessori allows kids like myself to learn about themselves in ways that go beyond the classroom, with a teacher that understands how to foster this blossoming independence. These lessons are priceless; learning how to learn is harder than it sounds and having the right guides there to help is critical.
Understanding how to operate in the world gives kids confidence in their abilities as they grow, and that’s exactly what it did for me. I remember trying to crack a walnut when I was in preschool, Tom showed me that sometimes we make it a little bit harder on ourselves when we put the walnut in the cracker one way versus another. Needless to say that if you struggle and struggle with a task, it’s okay to ask for help when you need a different perspective. Learning to ask for help is a skill we learn early, and use often if we are wise. This is one of many lessons I learned in Montessori that’s served me well my whole life, especially in college.
I can’t imagine my childhood without Tom, Teresa, Ina, Robin, and Martha as well as all the other Montessori classroom helpers from over the years. In fact, it’s made me consider becoming a Montessori teacher myself just so I can help continue the legacy they've started (Teresa, I'm pretty sure Tom and Martha were the first Montessori teachers but correct me if I'm wrong). Having such dedicated and passionate teachers in those formative years is something I’ll always be grateful for, and I’m sure the kids in that same little schoolhouse will think the same thing when they’re older. We are so lucky to have such a supportive community to keep Montessori going strong all these years, thank you all for supporting in whatever way you can!
Melanie Flint, Alumni Student
Here you'll find important and useful school information, including the school’s most recent newsletter, the school calendar, and the parents’ handbook. Please take special note of the sections on parental involvement and volunteering. Your active involvement in school activities is vital to maintaining a quality educational experience for your child. Thanks for your commitment and dedication!
Volunteering is essential to keeping tuition affordable and maintaining the quality of the Montessori experience for our children. Tuition only covers about 60% of our operations expenses. Parents are asked to commit to 36 hours per school year. There are many opportunities to volunteer within the Orcas Montessori School community! Parents are needed to take a major role in at least one of our fundraising events and a minor role in additional events and activities. Check out the Volunteer Opportunity section for a list of possibilities.
The school board is also an excellent volunteer opportunity. Board meetings are scheduled on the second Monday of each month. If you would like to attend, please contact the school and speak with Teresa Chocano, School Director.
Annual Fundraising Auction
Annual Wreath Sale
Rosario Holiday Tree Contest
School House Maintenance
After School Clean Up
Doe Bay Fest Concessions Booth