New Public Montessori Schools: Class of 2014 Edition

The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector welcomes twenty new and expanded Montessori programs to the Public Montessori family.  Updated 10/21!

New Schools

Children’s Kiva Charter Montessori School in Cortez, Colorado opens with 70 students from preK (a tuition based program) to 1st-6th grade (tuition free). The school will open a middle school next year. Principal Josh Warinner came from a local public school, part of the Children’s Kiva School’s close collaboration with the Cortez School District. Click here to read more.

Dante Alighieri Montessori School in Boston, Massachusetts is Boston Public School District’s first public Montessori school and serves students ages 3 to 11 in a historic brick school in East Boston. The school grows out of East Boston Early Learning Center’s Montessori program, and students who attended have guaranteed admission at the new school.

Dixie Montessori Academy in Washington City, Utah is a K-7 Montessori charter school developed by a group of private Montessori parents who wanted to make Montessori more widely available to the broader community. The school just opened with 410 students and a mountain view East Coast residents can only dream about.  Click here to read more.

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A canyon and mountain view from Dixie Montessori Academy. Photo credit: Dixie Montessori Academy

Elm City Montessori School in New Haven, Connecticut is the fourth public Montessori in Connecticut and the only local charter in the state, a design that involves a close collaboration with the New Haven School District. ECMS guides are part of the New Haven teacher’s union. Interest in the program has been very high: over 600 families applied for 70 preK and Kindergarten spots. The school offers tuition free preK and all-day Montessori programming including before and after care. The school plans to grow up to 8th grade.

A classroom observation window at Elm City Montessori School.  Photo by Mira Debs

A classroom observation window at Elm City Montessori School. Photo credit: Mira Debs

First State Montessori Academy in Wilmington, Delaware is Delaware’s first charter Montessori school, opening this fall with K-6th grade.

Hard at work at First State Montessori Academy.  Photo Credit: First State Montessori Academy

Hard at work at First State Montessori Academy. Photo Credit: First State Montessori Academy

Ft. Collins Montessori School in Ft. Collins, Colorado is a charter school that opens with grades preK (tution based) to 3rd grade and will eventually go to 9th grade.

Lee Montessori School in Washington D.C. opens with the mission of using the Montessori method to “close the opportunity gap.” The school opens in a shared school building in the Edgewood neighborhood with three primary and one lower elementary classrooms. Attending students come from all over the DC metro area.

Lowcountry Montessori School in Beaufort, SC opens this fall with students coming in grades K-9.  The school will include a high school by 2017. Although South Carolina has many district Montessori schools, this is the second charter Montessori school in the state.

Magnolia Montessori for All in East Austin, Texas is a public charter school that opens with PreK-3rd graders. Families who qualify attend PreK for free, otherwise the tuition is $4,806. Founder, Sara Cotner, who discovered Montessori after teaching as part of Teach for America, plans to open a second charter school, Redbud Montessori for All in San Antonio in 2016. The Magnolia school is located on a temporary structure on nine acres of land which will eventually house their permanent site.

Mata Montessori School is a Dallas, Texas public school that has reopened as a Montessori school for 368 PreK to 2nd grade students. Families in the East Dallas region have priority in enrollment making the school a “neighborhood choice.”

Montessori del Mundo in Aurora, Colorado is a dual language charter school that opens with preK-2nd grade this fall in a renovated warehouse space.

Montessori Del Mundo’s converted warehouse space. Photo credit: Montessori del Mundo

Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, NH calls itself the first “nature based” public Montessori school in the country. The school opens with two lower elementary classrooms, and will eventually grow to 150 students in grades K-8. The daily schedule includes a two hour afternoon block of “outdoor adventure” including “unstructured play and guided explorations with nature.” The school is located in a modular building on 38 acres, with plans to build a permanent facility in the future.

Rising Sun Montessori School, El Dorado Hills, California

Trillium Springs Montessori School in Charlotte, North Carolina has opened this year, bringing the total number of Montessori magnets in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools system to five including 4 elementary schools and a middle school. The new school will grow to serve children 4yrs-6th grade.

Viroqua Area Montessori School in Viroqua, Wisconsin opened with two multi-age classrooms serving K4 through third grade, but will ultimately grow to serve K4 through sixth grade. Classrooms currently operate within the Viroqua Elementary School.

A few of the many expanding Programs

Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut is opening its Erdkinder middle school program this fall.

Garden Oaks Public Montessori in Houston, Texas is expanding to a PreK-3 to 8th program. The program has grown from a school within a school format to a full Montessori Magnet program serving 720 students.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Montessori program in Grand Rapids, Michigan is expanding dramatically with the support of School Superintendent, Teresa Weatherall Neal, and a community group called MontessoriGR, dedicated to rebuilding Grand Rapids public Montessori program, one of the oldest in the country as a way to increase student enrollment in the district.  In the last year, GRPS has hired a Montessori coordinator and committed to providing $50,000 per year for four years for Montessori teacher training.  So far, 25 teachers and two principals have completed Montessori training.  “I believed in Montessori a long time ago and I still believe in Montessori today,” said Weatherall Neal.

Malcolm Hursey Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina is a Title 1 magnet school which began a partial public Montessori program in 2007 and is shifting to a school-wide Montessori this fall from PreK3 to 8th grade. Click here to read more about the conversion.

Spokane Public Montessori in Washington State has expanded into its own building adding a lower elementary classroom.  Next on the agenda is a public preschool and junior high.  Click here to read more.

Did we leave a school out?  Please let us know!  And please check to make sure your school’s information is entered and up to date on the All Montessori Census.

Wisdom in Community

Jai Brisbon of Lumin Education in Dallas offers another reflection on the UnConference experience:

City Garden Montessori extended its “radical hospitality” to a group of educational leaders from across the nation for an “Unconference” lead by Mira Debs, the organizer of Montessori for Social Justice. Our first evening included open conversation, introductions, and a campus tour by Christie Huck, Executive Director of City Garden Montessori School. It is worth a trip to St. Louis just to feel the openness and embrace of this school community! We were all encouraged to list topics of interest on the wall that would then become our agenda for the following day. Discussions included parent education, diversity of student and staff population, advocacy work, teacher training, state assessments, and implementing authentic Montessori in a public setting.

The majority of participants were teachers, directors and administrators from public Montessori schools from across the nation.  Also in attendance were parents, board members and film makers. The discussions reflected the tremendous collective wisdom and experience of the participants.

As a member of Lumin Education, a public school in Dallas that serves children and their families from pregnancy to age 9, I face the unique demands of public Montessori, and rarely do I encounter groups of leaders who face similar challenges, or experience similar success with children. This event was the exception! The second day we broke out into discussions with an open invitation to enter and leave conversations at will. This format provided for a fluidity and a spontaneity of dialogue and an exchange of ideas that really opened my eyes to the magnitude of the work ahead for public Montessorians and the ever growing need for space for conversations like the ones at the UnConference.

Each day, as a teacher or administrator, presents a flurry of activity that requires a level of thoughtfulness and focus on our mission that necessitates full engagement in the children and families we serve. This weekend presented an opportunity to reflect on impact and importance of the work of public Montessori school in a national context. A public Montessori school exists in a larger system, bigger than that of only education. We participate in the realms of social justice, racial justice, community engagement, as our work supports the self-actualization of all members of our school community through creating and sustaining carefully prepared environments.

As we create environments that transform the educational experience of our children and their families our communities are also transformed. Discussions at the unconference included the effect that public Montessori schools, particularly in urban areas, have on their community. Nationally, we focus on the test results of the children and spend little time looking at the greater effects on the families and communities. How can we know the long lasting impacts of a school? But it is clear to me after the unconference that great public Montessori changes the lives of children, the lives of parents and transforms the community.

After my two days in St. Louis at the unconference I have a deep appreciation for all the work and care that my colleagues are doing in their own communities. The daily impact of each teacher, parent, board member or administrator expands the possibilities for each and every child. As I flew back to Dallas I reflected on each individual at the unconference is an island of brilliance, compassion, dedication and wisdom in their respective communities. I am energized by my colleagues and inspired by the possibilities when we make the time to connect like we did this weekend.

 

 

In Search of Diversity

Kacee Weaver of Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden Utah offers this reflection from the recent Public Montessori UnConference.

The recent UnConference held at City Garden Montessori Charter School in St. Louis, MO was a weekend spent reimagining public education through the Montessori philosophy and the foundation of inclusion for diverse learners. Twenty-five educators with unbridled passion, incredible life experiences and a love of learning shared how they purposely seek to diversify their schools and communities through Montessori’s original method of inclusion.

I have been inspired by these brilliant men and women who choose to teach in the urban areas of large cities like Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis with their high poverty rates, visible racism and low academic performance. My school, Maria Montessori Academy, is situated in a small suburban town in Utah, and our biggest complaint as teachers is not enough prep time and the dread of standardized testing.

Which child hasn’t eaten a decent meal in a week or whose parent was recently put in jail isn’t something we typically have to think about. Yet these educators from Oglesby, Lumin, City Garden and others actively seek ways to expand their student populations with both ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged students. Their desire to better their neighborhoods through parent education, service projects and community building is worthy of notice and replication.

The discussions that ensued regarding social justice through Montessori education began a paradigm shift that I hope will find its way to our entire public school community. At Maria Montessori Academy our population of diverse learners (those identified with special needs and serviced with an IEP) is much higher than the surrounding district schools. Occasionally we see this as hurdle to overcome or a “less than perfect” learning environment.

However, I’ve been reminded of Parker Palmer’s words in The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life when he said that we are at our best when “we invite diversity into our community not because it is politically correct but because diverse viewpoints are demanded by the manifold mysteries of great things.” Embracing, supporting and celebrating our unique populations of diversity is truly the most basic Montessori practice. I am so privileged to be a part of this group of professionals, and I’d like to urge all of you not only to invite diversity into your communities but also to actively seek it and celebrate it.

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Reporting from the First Annual Public Montessori UnConference

Last month, June 20 – 21 to be exact, marked the first annual Public Montessori UnConference which drew 25 participants from around the country. Inspired by Daniel Petter-Lipstein of Montessori Madmen and Mira Debs of Montessori for Social Justice (see the link on our home page), the event was graciously hosted by City Garden Montessori Charter in St. Louis, and sponsored by the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector.

The agenda and topics were created in real-time by all who attended and the impromptu sessions ranged from “Creating a Teacher Pipeline” “Radical Behavior the Montessori Way” to “Making an Impact on Policy” and everything in between.

It was a powerful gathering of powerful minds and spirits. A few participants volunteered to write posts for our blog and these posts follow.

Mark your calendars–next year’s conference is already scheduled for June 26 – 27 at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT!

Bad News and Good News: Toxic Stress and Mitigating its Lasting Effects

Upstream investment” — the policy term used to describe the economic benefits of, among other things, early learning — continues to garner attention in both the popular press and research communities.

A new study out of the University of Wisconsin documents the lasting impacts of early stress, particularly chronic stress, on the brains of very young children. Turns out that chronic stressors like neglect and trauma, both of which are associated with poverty, produce changes in both brain structure and behavior. In the brain, that means a smaller amygdala and hippocampus, two brain structures that influence memory and emotion.  And when these areas are damaged, that often translates to significant learning and behavior challenges. Things like self-regluation, concentration, and general well-being diminish as the brain goes into a kind of permanent “fight or flight” mode.

A child experiencing toxic stress, particularly the kind that comes with poverty, brings a host of challenges into the classroom. In addition to language delays, which are often exacerbated by not being spoken to, children experiencing toxic stress tend to be more depressed than other children, and have trouble managing anger, following directions, completing tasks, and sitting still.  In other words, these children become “troublemakers,” which causes still more stress — for their teachers, their peers, their parents, and most of of all, for them.  This vicious cycle, in which school becomes a daily struggle, can begin as early as pre-school and by kindergarten is often well established.  Bad news indeed.

Meanwhile the Atlantic released a lengthy analysis of how effective parenting can help break that cycle. Again the hippocampus was involved.

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Not surprisingly, the figure to the left confirms smaller Hippocampus size in children with high levels of depression.  But this study also shows a relationship between childhood depression and parenting.  Here referred to as “maternal support,” children with lots of positive interactions with their mothers were able to combat the effects of toxic stress on their brains.  That’s the good news.

Of course, none of this is particularly surprising to anyone who spends a lot of time with very young children and their parents.  The Following the Family project is, in fact, focused on how four visionary 0-6 programs operate not just for children, but for the entire family.

What we’ve learned is that the “two-generation” approach is core to all four exemplary programs. Lumin Education and Crossway Montessori Communities begin with an intense focus on parents. Lumin’s Bachman Lakes Community School is, in fact, a Parent Education program that revolves almost entirely around home visits.  Crossway’s Family Leadership Academy flips the model by providing what Executive Director Kathleen Guinan calls “Montessori boarding school for mothers and their young children.”

Steven Dow and his team at CAPTulsa have invested enormous resources into operationalizing the two-generation approach. So has the Aspen Institute.  Central to all implementations of the two-generation approach is a shift from family involvement to family engagement.  Engagement is more intense, more cohesive, more comprehensive. It aims, in part, to make education a family affair.

The difference between these efforts and what’s going on at Lumin, Crossway, Cornerstone and Family Star is Montessori.  More specifically, in keeping with Montessori learning theory, the entire enterprise is focused on developmental learning. That is, core Montessori concepts of order, concentration, respect, and independence are put into practice for all members of the community. And, not surprisingly, the impact of focusing on  these key ideas in a systematic and consistent manner is just as profound for parents as it is for children.

Take a look at this video of Lumin’s engagement strategy or this Cornerstone parent’s take-away.

 

Montessori, Dallas and Social Justice

We’re in Dallas this week for the American Montessori Society’s annual conference. Somewhere close to 3000 Montessorians have converged on the city. Over the next several days we’ll be posting about our experiences here, including thoughts on some of the keynote speeches, sessions related to research, public Montessori, and programs for very young children and their families.

Today was largely devoted to visiting local schools, and among the more popular destinations was Lumin Education (formerly known as East Dallas Community Schools). We took a group of folks from City Garden Montessori in St. Louis and Elm City Montessori, in New Haven to see all three campuses, including the Bachman Lakes Community, which focuses on parent education and home visits in the city’s most economically vulnerable neighborhood.

Blending Montessori pedagogy and the Parents as Teachers curriculum, 34 bilingual parent educators spend their days taking Montessori into the homes of families with children between the ages of 0 and 5. We’ve asked program leader Charo Alarcon to share some of the key insights she and her team have learned over the past six years, so look for a post soon.

Which brings us to Montessori for Social Justice, an on-line community administered by Mira Debs (one of the founders of Elm City Montessori and a doctoral student at Yale, who is working with NCMPS on a variety of projects). Mira launched this group last summer and hopes it will help connect practitioners interested in learning more about programs like Lumin. If you’re here, you’re probably one of those people, so we hope you’ll consider joining.

Montessori: “Hands-On” with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD; wiki), “a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading” with 175,000 members in 100 countries, membership $29 to $189, is a pretty big deal. (Note to Montessorians: this is what an international educational organization looks like. It’s all about scale.)

So it’s great news that their monthly member newsletter, Education Update, has an articleabout Montessori education by ASCD Managing Editor Sarah McKibben, with extensive quotes from NCMPS’ own Jackie Cossentino. The article is behind a paywall, but I saw a copy and I can tell you a little about it. I’m afraid I have to be bit critical, which is a shame, as it’s not a bad piece and we’re always happy for the exposure. But it’s important to get things right.

There article gets some things mostly right, and a few things exactly right, but it also represents the general vagueness the education world has about Montessori. McKibben mentions student choice, which is good, and Cossentino gets in some early licks with the importance of the prepared environment. Children’s House areas are referred to as “stations,” which isn’t quite right, but it’s language conventional early childhood educators understand.

Montessori materials are described, and described well. But let’s remember: not just any “intentionally inviting,” “self-correcting,” and “multifaceted” objects are Montessori materials! There’s a deeply consistent, experimentally described set of materials that are designed with those characteristics in mind, to be sure. But you really have to say, it’s not really Montessori unless Montessori developed it.

The description of “the teacher as guide” is good, and guide Nancy Rawn of the Annie Fisher Montessori School gets a word in about developmental needs. The nature of the child’s work is less well-understood, as young children are being “tasked with wiping down tables” in order to “instill good habits.” Not much suggestion that children might want to wipe down tables for their own purposes, or of Montessori’s observational work which led to including practical life activities. Then again, it’s a short article.

When the article moves on to Montessori elementary, things get a little more vague, talking about “project-based learning.” Montessori elementary students take on projects, certainly, but there’s a lot more to it than that. A follow-up article about how the elementary really works, covering cosmic education, the great lessons, and work journals, would be a welcome addition. 90-minute blocks and projects with teacher-set parameters don’t really do justice to the elementary work. Is it possible to consider that children might develop their own standards of age-appropriateness and academic rigor, and that they might go much farther than what the adult might impose?

The article closers with ways teachers can “be more Montessori”: they might not be able to provide uninterrupted work time, but they can at least strive to be more project-based and hands-on (even if that means no more than having protractors and rulers available). Cossentino scores a few more points in the last few paragraphs as well, suggesting that teachers ask students questions, learn to listen and observe, and rethink the adult’s role in the classroom.

All in all it’s not a bad treatment, and certainly positive. You can’t help thinking that if teachers want to “be more Montessori,” they could take a training course, and that the article might have addressed the foundation of Montessori’s work, the Montessori landscape in the U.S. and around the world, and the training available. But for that, there’s always The Montessori Observer.

Note: McKibben has a follow-up piece on the publicly available ASCD blog, In Service, where she interviews Cossentino further about the effect of student autonomy in high-poverty schools. It’s great exposure for Montessori in low-income populations as well as research linking choice and student engagement:

Studies have also shown that teachers’ orientations that are supportive of autonomy contribute to the development of intrinsic motivation in students—and controlling orientations deter intrinsic motivation

So that’s good…

Welcoming David Ayer of The Montessori Observer

David Ayer ImageWe’re delighted that Dave Ayer from the The Montessori Observer has joined the conversation here at Following the Family. The Observer covers issues of interest involving the entire Montessori movement, and it’s one of our go-to blog spots. From time to time he’s agreed to add his voice to our discussions of Montessori research and advocacy. See below for his first entry.

Bettelheim, the Montessori Research Agenda, and the Census

Cross-posted from The Montessori Observer:

A piece on the Huffington Post in January, “Doing Pre-Kindergarten Right”, by a (sort of) non-Montessorian, Dr. Ruth Bettelheim, points out that

Preschool children think and function differently than school-age children, which is why primary school typically begins at age 6 or 7 everywhere in the world.

She calls for educational experiences to maximize young children’s potential, going on to say:

This maximization requires different educational methods than those developed for older children. Fortunately, several methods have been developed during the past century to enhance learning for young children. Most prominently, Dr. Montessori developed her method by investigating which approaches could best educate the severely impoverished slum children of early 20th century Rome.

The Montessori Method systematically teaches independent problem solving, starting at age 18 months, using hands-on learning and the native interests of preschoolers. She demonstrated that, given adequate food, regular health checkups, and the right full-day program, virtually all of even the most deprived children could learn to an equal or higher standard than their more privileged, traditionally educated peers.

That sounds good!  She continues,

Other methods, such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Dewey, Abecedarian, and Bank Street, also address the unique needs of this age group. Unfortunately, sufficiently rigorous, longitudinal trials of these approaches have not yet been undertaken to determine which ones best serve the developmental needs of very young children.

Emphasis added.  So, what is necessary for “sufficiently rigorous longitudinal trials”?  How about a broad-based, comprehensive data set covering Montessori schools in the U.S.?  Such as the 2013-2014 USA Montessori Census, 1049 schools and growing, perhaps?  (You see how everything is interconnected…)

Biographical note: Dr. Bettelheim, a pyschotherapist, executive coach, writer, and lecturer, has written about Montessori before: Time For Schools to Stop Damaging Children.  Dr. Bettelheim is also the daughter of now-controversial child psychologist and writer Bruno Bettelheim (1903-1990) and his second wife Gertrude, who was a Montessori teacher in Vienna in the 1930s.  In fact, Gertrude apparently worked at the Montessori school started by Bettelheim with his first wife, Gina Alstadt Bettelheim Weinmann.  (Per The Creation of Doctor B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim and Suicide And the Holocaust)

Credit where due note: The piece came out in January, and I’m not sure how I missed it, but fortunately the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, the Montessori Madmen, Montessori Northwest (the AMI training center in Portland, Oregon), Montessori Partners Serving all Children (a project of the Montessori Center of Minnesota ,  the AMI training center in in St. Paul, Minnesota), and a number of Montessori schools were all over it.

Comments are Closed: Thanks for Speaking Up

The final count of commenters on the DOE’s homeroom blog was 480.  Nearly 10% (46) of these were submitted by Montessorians requesting that the new competition make room for more Montessori for more families.  We are delighted to see such a response to the call to action — which came from many sources.

In case you’re interested, here is what we posted yesterday afternoon:

The National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS) shares a vision with previous posters of high quality, fully implemented Montessori education as a viable and accessible means of early childhood education for all children. 

Research has shown that the high standards of Montessori education produce exceptional outcomes for children and families. Yet, the core elements of authentic Montessori—mixed age groupings, extended periods of uninterrupted work, specially trained teachers and entrance by age 3—often run counter to established preschool practices.

Here we outline what we see as key policy issues in facilitating Montessori’s reach to publicly funded programs. Some of these would be helpful to any strong program; others are specifically targeted for Montessori classrooms.

We ask that the RFP include the following design elements as Competitive Priorities in order to not only include, but encourage Montessori as the country moves forward with this most important work:

  • An uninterrupted early childhood continuum  Support integration of 0-3 and PreK/K programs so that families, caregivers and schools can benefit from consistency in relationships and approach. Whether these programs are run out of one government department or through a partnership, we urge that the communications, processes and regulations across the age spans be seamless. Currently, public Montessori programs in most locations struggle to implement a full 3 – 6 year old program because funding, regulations and oversight departments are different for the younger and older of this age group. Steps taken to smooth this gap will support and encourage the development of full continuum child and family-centered programs.
  • Braided funding streams Give preference to proposals that 1) creatively mix private and public dollars and 2) articulate processes for institutions dealing with multiple departments and funding streams. To achieve financially viable, fully integrated programs, we ask that regulations allow programs to draw on a mix of means-based tuition and public dollars. In this way, programs will be able to integrate rather than segregate students across socio-economic lines. Braided funding streams also includes facilitating access to public funding that spans across what are now imposed breaks between programs run out of the DOE and out of HHS.
  • Mixed-age classrooms Assure that no regulations preclude mixed-age groupings and that all regulations are flexible enough to allow for if not encourage mixed-age groupings across the early childhood/K continuum. These regulations might include areas such as teacher certification, student:teacher ratio, classroom size or instructional program.
  • Teacher qualifications Recognize accredited Montessori teacher training for 3 – 6 year olds as meeting most, if not all, the requirements for professionals working with this age group. Montessori teacher training is a rigorous program blending child development, classroom practice and Montessori theory. MACTE accredited Montessori training programs are already recognized by the DOE, and this recognition should be extended to preschool and programs run out of HHS. 
  • Program evaluation and accountability Allow for program evaluation tools that are appropriate for assessing the quality of the unique Montessori setting
    • Student:Teacher ratio—flexibility in student:teacher ratio that takes into account the unique role of the teacher, environment and mixed-age classroom and allows for a larger student:teacher ratio (of up to 28:2 in a 3 – 6 year old classroom) than in conventional settings.
    • Classroom environment—environment assessment tools that are either designed specifically for Montessori classrooms or are flexible enough to recognize that some of the supplies, materials and activities one might look for in a conventional setting are not appropriate in a Montessori setting and vice-versa. For example, a Montessori classroom provides a language rich environment through the materials rather than word walls and nurtures creativity through open-ended work rather than dress-up corners.
    • Formative assessment – attention to teacher observation and detailed tracking of student progress.
    • Outcomes – attention to observable behaviors such as student engagement, independence and focus and developmentally appropriate measurable outcomes at the end of the 3-year cycle.

One approach to paving the way for inclusion and expansion of Montessori education would be to create guidelines flexible enough to encompass the above. Another would be to recognize fully implemented Montessori as a high quality preschool program that would include all of the points above. 

While we recognize that the current funding proposal strictly addresses high quality preschool for 4 year olds, it is our deepest hope that the regulations and practices that come out of it support rather than preclude an ultimate vision for a continuum of uninterrupted, highest quality, family and child education for ages 0 – 6 and beyond. Every child should have access to highest quality care and education in a racially, ethnically and socio-economically diverse setting without families needing to renegotiate applications, resources, settings, schedules or systems as their children grow.

High quality Montessori education provides the foundation that children need to move forward in school, society and life. We appreciate your attention to the above considerations in crafting regulations that open the door and facilitate bringing this carefully honed, effective and loved method to all families.