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We foster a strong sense of community here at Kalispell Montessori Elementary! Our goal is for all of our students to grow as happy, independent contributors to society. Maria Montessori said, “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”
1) When you join our community, you learn that you and your child have become part of the Parent-Teacher-Child partnership. Every part has to be active for a child to be successful. We want to communicate and actively support one-another to facilitate the best experience for your child. A child's understanding the he or she is the most important piece, as the active learner who is ready to dive into learning opportunities, bring forth questions and concerns, and to reflect and continuously grow is something that sets apart a Montessori education from others.
2) Every student is a vital part of their school community-one important piece of the puzzle. Students learn to expect the best work of themselves so that they can personally grow and be a strong individual. They also learn to support one another and recognize that differences in others contribute to the strength of the group. They learn about empathy and what it means to be a good friend and a leader. Students partake in practical life exercises such caring for the school environment (daily clean up jobs), preparing a portion of a group cooking project, or sharing affirmations or concerns at a town meeting. Students are with their teachers for three-year cycles, which also strengthens their bonds with teachers and solidifies their understanding of their roles in the multi-age classroom.
3) Our students participate in community service activities throughout the school year and over their 6 year Montessori experience. Our students serve as community helpers in multi-aged pre-school/K classes over at Woodland Montessori. Our 3rd-6th graders also serve meals to older citizens in the community through the Meals on Wheels program. Our 1st-3rd graders take a yearly field trip to the Flathead County Food Bank to learn about this local organization and participate in service hours while visiting. As a school community we have gathered donations to various organizations such as the HEART Locker, Samaritan House, the Abbie Shelter, and Flathead Youth Homes.
4) You have probably heard of that familiar phrase, "It takes a village..." Our families participate in 18 hours or more of community service each school year. In other words, we work together as a community to support the growth of our students and to keep our mission alive each year. You are investing in us, we are investing in you and we are all here for the children- our future!
Montessori philosophy embraces a child-centered approach to education that is very different from traditional models. Teachers carefully consider each student's individual needs and developmental readiness. The tool of observation is used to follow the child and meet every individual's academic, social, emotional and physical needs. Basically, the Montessori method calls us to nurture "the whole child."
We provide a stimulating, age-appropriate work environment that naturally draws children to learning. Students are provided with a predictable routine and are given clear expectations, but are seen as capable young people who are called to take responsibility of their own educations. Our students choose what order they will do their required works during the uninterrupted work cycle and often check their own work before it is checked by a teacher. By empowering students to make choices, they are able to take pride in their accomplishments and feel a sense of ownership . Students are also able to explore their own interests and learn how to utilize a variety of resources, so their learning experiences are richer and long-lasting. Consequently our students love school and become life-long learners.
Our classrooms are multi-leveled. Older, more experienced students guide and mentor younger students socially and academically. This fosters a greater sense of responsibility and confidence. They participate in group activities both in school and in the wider community. Consequently, our students display unparalleled leadership qualities.
The third and sixth year are seen as the most crucial and final years, since each are the last of a three-year cycle and are considered "leadership" years.
The sixth year is a culmination of all of the past years of a student's Montessori career. They lead our school through bigger decisions and fulfill special tasks at events, receive key roles in school-wide performances, participate in special lessons around mathematics and learning about the human body and write a large senior thesis paper following a year-long project based solely on an inquiry they have chosen to research. Basically, it's an experience that could be considered your student's "grand finale" year here at Montessori.