Overview

Living Montessori: The Parent Perspective from American Montessori Society on Vimeo.

Montessori’s Developmental Approach Our whole curriculum is organized to serve students' developmental needs through carefully devised mixed-age classrooms. Students proceed through a detailed curriculum as a natural, enjoyable experience that satisfies his or her inner drive to learn and grow.

The 4 Planes of Human Development Dr. Maria Montessori, trained as a physician, used her scientific background to develop an innovative approach to understanding child development. This approach divides the child’s life into four six-year stages which together span birth to age twenty-four. At Mountaintop, we serve children through the first three of these stages. Our faculty members observe each child throughout his or her development in order to understand what support is needed and to ensure appropriate guidance and challenge.

  • 1st plane: Toddler and Children’s House (ages 0 to 6 - grades through K)
  • 2nd plane: Elementary (ages 6 to 12 - grades 1 to 6)
  • 3rd plane: Middle School (ages 12 to 15 - grades 7 to 9)

Key Elements of a Mountaintop Education

Faculty-Student Relationships: Young children are determined to master new things. Mountaintop faculty members, known as guides, guard that inner drive to learn in each child in several ways:

  • We treat students of ALL ages with a level of respect that is uncommon in their young lives.
  • We encourage students to become ever more independent and responsible for themselves.
  • We convey clear expectations that each student work to his or her potential and contribute to the classroom community.
  • We are careful to avoid rewards and punishments, which deflate the value children place upon their own work.

We keep students' zest for learning alive and well through elementary and middle school.

Classrooms: Our classrooms are simple, beautiful, clean and orderly. They are furnished to suit the characteristics and needs of a specific age group. In these specially-crafted spaces, students can be independent. They gain confidence as they consider options, make decisions, and follow steps in a series to see things through to completion. We apply the same level of effort to setting up outdoor spaces for exploration of the natural world and studios for visual and performing arts as we do in the Montessori classrooms.

Materials: Montessori learning materials are unsurpassed in their combination of function and form. Their striking beauty draw students in and their thoughtful designs make complex concepts accessible to young minds. As students reach the upper levels of our program, their work in a wide variety of disciplines is supported by technology and textbooks as well as the low-tech materials required for hands-on learning in science, art and music.

Time: Our students' schedules include long blocks of time to engage in work that is satisfying to them. A portion of their time in the classroom in spent receiving lessons from their guides on work that is new to them. During the time in which they are not in such lessons, they are free to choose from within a range of familiar materials that are interesting and suitable for them and to work with those materials without interruptions. By following their interests in their early years they develop their capacity for concentration. From this foundation they build stamina for planning, progressing toward goals, and collaborating with peers in elementary and middle school. Lunch and outdoor play are important elements of the day for which ample time is provided at each of the age levels we serve. Time in our creative expression studios is likewise scheduled generously to provide satisfying experiences in these areas of importance to students.