North Star Montessori
Preschool & Kindergarten
However, all Montessori schools are not created equal.
Throughout my 17 years as Director of North Star Montessori, the most frequently asked questions I hear from parents are:
The word Montessori is not trademarked, as it is a method of education that was developed by Maria Montessori over one hundred years ago. Parents may unknowingly select programs at public schools and preschools that use the Montessori name, but do not meet the basic fundamental components of Montessori education that make it successful. Schools labeled Montessori may have Montessori materials displayed on shelves, but do not have Montessori certified teachers in each classroom who know how and when to use them. Without proper guidance, children are overwhelmed with choices and cannot focus on lessons. This leaves them feeling stressed and frustrated, which ultimately impedes their learning.
In addition, schools often label themselves Montessori, but do not follow the correct multi-age classroom groupings. Instead, they separate students by grade, which robs the child of the continuity in their education that is found in an authentic Montessori program. This is because each lesson builds upon the next. True Montessori curriculum includes more advanced lessons with a broader scope than traditional grade level requirements. For example, in our primary classrooms children in their 3rd or “kindergarten” year are already doing 4-digit addition using our hands-on golden bead materials. 4-digit addition is usually not introduced until 2nd grade in non-Montessori programs. North Star kids are excited and confident to take this next step in their learning because of all of their prior work they accomplished prepared them for this more complex lesson. This differs greatly from a child who has no prior experience using Montessori materials and has not developed the concentration, and self- discipline that it takes to work through more complicated lessons independently, yet is thrust into a “so-called Montessori” environment and expected to do well. By not following the fundamental tenets of Montessori education, students and teachers are set up to fail.
The American Montessori Society is an organization that promotes the highest standards of Montessori education and is an invaluable resource to parents who want to find an authentic Montessori program for their child to ensure the best outcomes for their educational success. When I founded North Star Montessori it was based on the belief that the Montessori method embodied all of the things that helped the whole child to reach their potential. I am just as passionate today about Montessori education as I was when I started, and I have had the privilege to be apart of and witness North Star Student’s success. North Star Montessori is a full member of AMS and has achieved the high standards of Montessori education like ensuring the multi-age three year cycle, the Montessori certification of all teachers in a school, and a deep understanding and commitment to the Montessori method and philosophy.
How is North Star Montessori able to achieve high student outcomes when students’ needs are so varied?
Unlike traditional schools, our Montessori primary program is multi- aged and designed for a child to enter in at 3 years of age and continue over a three year period, through what would be the traditional “kindergarten” year. Ideally, each child will have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd year in their same classroom, with the same teacher and classmates. They are able to make choices selecting materials to use and engage in self- directed learning. The materials are on the shelves in sequential order from easiest to more complex and these lessons unfold in a natural progression at the child's pace. Children at North Star learn from each other and naturally work together. They are role models for each other and older students gain leadership skills as they teach younger students. Students benefit from experienced and credentialed Montessori educators who have observed, prepared, and guided them through three years of academic and life lessons to master concepts and skills. Our focus is on where the child is at academically, socially, and emotionally.
Phone: (517) 787-3026 | Hours: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
By Barbara Barnes
NSM Founder & Director
Fall in Love with Outdoor Play
The answer is simple, we follow the child’s development and meet their individual needs based on the Montessori method and philosophy. Traditional classrooms are teacher-centered. The same lesson is given to the class based on age, regardless of if the students are performing above or below grade level. North Star’s curriculum is not solely based on the child’s chronological age, but on the child’s ability, specific needs, and interests.