School is closed for the day, consistent with LWSD, but our Clubroom is available from 10AM to 3PM.
Parents of current students, please check your email for more information.
School is closed for the day, consistent with LWSD, but our Clubroom is available from 10AM to 3PM.
Parents of current students, please check your email for more information.
Learning to think is not the same thing as learning to memorize. Thinking requires infinitely more effort and involves much more brain activity than reciting something back. Thinking involves inquiry, innovation, creativity, analysis, synthesis, problem solving, persistence, self-confidence, self-motivation, independence and even courage. That is why the emphasis in a Montessori classroom is on children learning rather than teachers teaching. We strive to foster independence and joyful discovery that naturally leads to greater learning and retention.
The world is changing in such a way that more than ever the children of today will need to be able to think for themselves. Rote learning will simply not prepare children for the complexity and fast paced change that tomorrow is sure to bring. We need them to be able to think for themselves.
The entire structure of the Montessori system from the curriculum, to the way the classroom is set up, to the specific ways in which the teacher interacts with children, is designed to prompt and encourage children to think for themselves, to discover, to make mistakes and learn from their own mistakes. The teacher in a Montessori classroom is as much a guide as a teacher, keenly observing each child’s interests, and abilities and prepared and ready to introduce the next series of lessons when a child shows he or she is ready to move onto the next level. Montessori materials are themselves designed to allow a child to recognize when something is not correct, and to correct it themselves.
Within a typical Montessori preschool/kindergarten classroom there well over a hundred different developmentally appropriate learning activities; each one presenting abstract ideas in concrete form. The depth and breadth of the curriculum allows the Montessori teacher to adapt to address the unique needs of the children in his/her class. The Montessori teacher further enhances the environment by bringing in a variety of additional lessons to pique the curiosity of the students in his/her particular class. Learning is individualized so that it fits the pace as well as the interests of each student.
Because there is not a rigid one-size-fits-all lesson plan for each day as there is in a traditional school setting, the Montessori teacher is allowed the freedom to meet the particular needs of his/her students. The emphasis is always on keeping alive the spark of curiosity, supporting and encouraging independence and nurturing each child’s inherent desire to learn. In this way we work every day to support our students on their journey to think for themselves.
You may be interested in reading the following articles and viewing the below TED talk on the topic of independent thinking and preserving and fostering the creativity every child is born with:
Discovering a natural way to learn | Karin Ann | TEDxHongKongED https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVgattQId64
Staying healthy and safe is such a vital part of a child’s development. Below are some resources to help parents connect with information and resources that will help them to keep their child healthy, safe, and ready to learn:
Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Flu/MaterialsandResources#health
Center For Disease Control & Prevention – Flu Vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/family/flu-guide-for-parents-2018.pdf
Nutrition.gov information center for children: https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/life-stages/children
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: http://www.aapd.org/advocacy/dentalhome/
American Dental Association – Find a Dentist: https://findadentist.ada.org
KidsHealth – Finding a Pediatrician: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/find-ped.html
American Academy of Pediatrics Health/Safety Resources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx
Preschool-age Growth & Development Milestones (Physical Skills, Social Skills, Cognitive Skills) – https://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/preschool/pages/default.aspxP
Grade school-age Growth & Development – https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/Pages/default.aspx
Carseat/Booster Seat Safety: http://sammamishmontessori.com/use-the-right-kind-of-car-seat-or-booster-seat-and-use-it-correctly/
Fostering Healthy Family Relationships: https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/healthy-home/7-ways-improve-family-communication/
Thank you for keeping your child home if he/she has:
If you find another resource you believe would be good to share, please suggest it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you! Together we can all stay healthier.
The primary Montessori program is designed as a three-year cycle. Ideally children from 3 – 6 years old stay with the same teacher right through their kindergarten year.
The third year, or Montessori kindergarten year, is when all the learning that has taken place in the previous two years reaches fruition and a child’s knowledge begins to fall into place. Your child will be challenged to reach his/her potential by his/her Montessori teacher who knows your child incredibly well and so can provide precisely what is needed next. Children build upon what they have learned, experience rapid academic and social growth and their skill level dramatically increases when they are given the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge within the Montessori classroom. Third year students are ready to explode into more complex learning and discovery and they delve into a wealth of new and interesting materials. They are guided to take on more and more complex work, begin to learn time management skills and have an increased set of expectations and privileges in the classroom. These older children also reinforce their academic skills by helping another child, a well-documented way to consolidate knowledge.
Your child has been unconsciously looking forward to being one of the “big kids” in the classroom so when he/she is put into a school where the kindergartners are looked down upon as being in the “baby class” his/her cycle of maturing is interrupted. It is especially unfortunate for a child who is a younger sibling at home to miss this opportunity to shine. This year of leadership gives a child immeasurable self-esteem and intellectual confidence.
A key advantage of staying at our school is that your child’s teacher already knows your child very well so no time is lost at the beginning of the year trying to assess him/her. Be sure to speak to your child’s teacher about kindergarten during conferences. The gift of this third year can never be taken away and it sets up a child for future academic and social success.
As you plan for your child’s future schooling we encourage you to view a video from American Montessori Society. We hope this video will provide more information about the benefits of having your child stay in a Montessori classroom for his or her pivotal kindergarten year.
Children may be enrolled for kindergarten if they are 5 years old by August 31 (prior to the upcoming school year). Kindergarten students may attend five full days or five half days at Sammamish Montessori School.
In her analysis of Montessori education, University of Virginia Professor, Angeline S. Lillard, Ph.D. notes eight fundamental ideas central to Montessori education that in her words, help provide students with superior educational outcomes:
More information about Montessori education:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQl-7Lmm4hE (Superwoman was already here)
We wish to give special congratulations to the seven Sammamish Montessori School alumni, now high school seniors, who have been named as semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Alexia N. Friedman (Nikola Tesla STEM High School)
Sahas Goli (Redmond High School)
Meera M. Hoar (Redmond High School)
Shreya Kedia (Redmond High School)
Haeli N. Knox (Redmond High School)
Melissa Lin (Redmond High School)
Hamsa Shankar (Nikola Tesla STEM High School)
These seven of the 32 Lake Washington School District students named as National Merit Semifinalists are all former Sammamish Montessori School students. We are so proud of our alumni students and excited to see their future academic achievements and success in life.
According to the Seattle Times, approximately 16,000 semifinalists across the nation had the highest scores on the PSAT taken by 1.6 million juniors this past year. Roughly 90 percent fo those students will be named finalists in February. To qualify, each student must submit an application that includes academic transcripts, an essay, and a letter of recommendation. About half of the finalists are awarded Merit Scholarships, which in total are worth about $31 million.
Click here for more information about the National Merit Scholars program and all semifinalists in Washington State.
Seeking a confident, friendly and organized teacher, teacher’s assistant, or intern who is able to collaborate effectively with colleagues, loves children and is able to multitask. Excellent verbal and written communication skills a must.
Daily schedule M-F 2:30PM to 6PM, or as mutually agreed.
Beautiful school and campus. Classrooms are well organized and fully equipped with teaching materials and supplies. Our school has a small gym/multipurpose room, library, multiple spacious playground areas and offers foreign language and music led by specialist teachers.
Supportive administration and professional, approachable staff. Competitive salary determined according to experience and education. Janitorial service provided nightly.
Established in 1977. Family owned and operated.
Conveniently located near the end of 520 in Redmond close to the Microsoft Campus.
Please send cover letter and resume to Janet Villella, Director.
Amit has just started school and his parents watch their little boy endearingly as he attacks real-life chores with serious determination. They are so proud to see him carefully spooning dried beans from one dish to another and concentrating hard to pick up the beans he has spilled. However, Emma’s parents watching their five year old following the steps to sew on a button are impatient to see some “real work” being carried out like reading, math or spelling. Even the best-informed Montessori parent may wonder whether the practical life activities may be using up time better spent on academic pursuits. Of course, Emma’s day is not spent solely on practical life activities but this is the area of focus to her parents.
We need to understand why these practical life exercises are so important in the primary Montessori classroom (ages 3-6) and how they relate to the child’s overall development. We should realize that mastery of the task itself is not the primary goal of these exercises.
These activities lead a child to make intelligent choices and become physically and then mentally independent and responsible. The child learns to concentrate, control muscles, move and act with care, focus, analyze logical steps and complete a cycle of activity. This is the foundation for mental and physical work in all other areas, not just in early childhood but also throughout life.
Children follow a sequence of prescribed directions, which include choosing the work on the shelf, finding a space at a table, following steps to complete the task, cleaning up and replacing the work exactly where it belongs on the shelf so it is ready for the next person. It is the small muscle coordination, motor sequencing, inner discipline leading to good social skills and work habits and ultimately self-esteem, which are so important and directly prepare for and support development in math, reading and writing.
Every child instinctively strives to grow and develop skills to the limit of his/her ability. A child’s love of the routines found in practical life activities, stems from a strong biological need to gain coordination. That need is especially strong between the ages of three and six years. At this age, the mind still runs faster than the abilities of the body. An older child may remember the steps needed to thread the needle, knot the thread, choose the button and piece of fabric and sew the button from front to back and then back to front without going around the edge of the button, but this knowledge may not yet match his/her developing physical ability. In this carefully prepared and stimulating environment children can respond to their inner need to work on a wide variety of skills until their physical abilities can keep up with their hands. Children are developing eye-hand coordination, upper body strength, balance and spatial perception. It is no coincidence that these are the basic prerequisites to successfully learn to read and write.
The practical life exercises have precise and orderly movements and are divided into steps, which are completed in a certain sequence that follow a logical progression (essential skills for understanding mathematical concepts). The concentration and inner discipline required to carry out multi-step procedures on their own help to prepare children for all of the complex academic materials they will encounter as they progress through the Montessori curriculum.
One of the greatest driving forces in the maturation of young children is the overwhelming desire to be independent. “I can do it by myself” is a phrase we hear over and over again. These practical life exercises reinforce this sense of self-sufficiency. Children discover they can exert control over their environment and such control carries with it certain responsibilities. What a thrill they feel when they have mastered a useful activity. They feel privileged as they gain the skills to progress to more and more complex tasks as they feel it implies respect for their skill and good judgment.
We can be sure that children of all ages, having experienced a continuous flow of small successes as they accomplish the exercises of practical life, will not only have the skills in place to continue with even more complex tasks, but will be happier, more confident and well-rounded individuals. They will be ready to progress through their school life with pride and the self-esteem to accept challenges, both practical and academic, with optimism and self-confidence.
If you are interested in learning more about Montessori education, you may wish to check out one or more of the following books:
You may also wish to peruse the following websites that contain a wealth of information about Montessori education:
We have found the following books on brain research and learning to be excellent resources for parents and educators alike:
Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was the first woman physician/surgeon in Italy. She also had a degree in biological anthropology which honed her powers of meticulous observation, and formed the basis of her system of education. She was not trained as a teacher, although she did take some education classes so that she could observe the schools of the time. This freed her up to study how children learn, in a detached and rational manner. Her talent was to see children as they really are, not as adults think they are or ought to be.
Her first job was the director of a residential institute for developmentally delayed children who, because of superstition and shame in those days, were ostracized from their families. Believing that these children might be capable of some learning, she developed diagnostic and teaching materials based on the work of Itard and Sequin (researchers and educators) and continued to observe and experiment. Many of these children were eventually able to pass the state exams. Montessori remarked, “If these children are able to do so well, then typical children must surely be capable of achieving so much more.”
In January 1907 Montessori was asked to supervise fifty 3 to 7 year olds who were running wild in the slums of San Lorenzo, a district of Rome. She was given an room in a tenement building and one unqualified teacher. She provided the children with some toys and her diagnostic materials (the basic sensorial materials) to give them more to play with. In time the children discarded the toys and go the diagnostic materials out of the cupboard on their own. Over time more sensorial materials were added, using what was at hand (the color tablets are based on cards of colored embroidery thread). Montessori taught them life skills, even how to blow their own noses. They were excited to learn and progressed by leaps and bounds, even learning to read and write. Montessori introduced child-sized tables and chairs, which were unknown at that time. This whole phenomenon of children working at their own pace, using materials selected for their abilities and designed to stimulate independent exploration was new. To see children’s natural curiosity satisfied and begin to experience the joy of discovering the world about them sparked worldwide interest.
Montessori noted that many children were frustrated by lack of proper stimulation and inadequate opportunities to achieve. She observed that children can have long attention spans when not interrupted. They become happier and more self-controlled after a period of time in the orderly environment she had created, working with their hands and making their own discoveries. Here they were introduced to challenging tasks that not only absorbed their energies, but also resulted in a sense of achievement.
This led Montessori to develop the planned system of education that bears her name. Many Montessori schools were established during her lifetime and today there are thousands of private Montessori schools in the United States, hundreds of Montessori public school classrooms and countless Montessori schools operating throughout the world.
Through keen observation, Montessori found that children have sensitive periods, a window when they are tuned in to certain stimuli. These intense periods, when a child can learn instinctively, happen in the early years when the brain is forming itself. They Montessori system is based on the unique cycle of learning that takes advantage of these sensitive periods.
About the Article’s Author: Joan Starling, Founder, Sammamish Montessori School serving preschool, kindergarten and elementary students in Redmond WA. Joan established The Sammamish Montessori School in 1977. She began her long career in Montessori education more than four decades ago training under two Montessori teachers who were themselves trained directly by Dr. Maria Montessori. One of them, a wise and practical woman, Margaret Homfray, when young in the late 1930s, accompanied Dr. Montessori on trips to translate her lectures on her speaking tours. Joan has been a pioneer of Montessori education in the greater Seattle area, establishing one of the oldest Montessori schools on Seattle’s Eastside and now one of the largest Montessori schools in the state. Joan’s two daughters and husband now share the running of the school (Janet Villella is now the school’s director) and are supported by a wonderful group of exceptionally talented, well educated and experienced teachers, assistants and supporting staff from all over the world.