Where learning is a way of life…
In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, nestled amongst the trees, you’ll find children working with concentration and interest, learning through practical, hands-on experience, and growing in confidence and self-discipline. Mountain Laurel Montessori School, founded in 1989 with a single Primary classroom has grown through the years to now include programs from infancy through grade 9.
Walking into any of these classrooms, you’ll find one thing in common: children actively engaged in their learning, choosing work from a carefully prepared environment suited to their developmental needs.
Babies and young children in the Beginnings class manipulate beautiful and handmade toys, leading to coordination of movement and refinement of senses, as parents, teachers and caregivers discuss how to best support their child’s burgeoning independence.
Toddlers calmly engage in practical life activities, learning to dress and undress themselves and gain toilet independence. You’ll see them cleaning their spills with child-sized brooms and mops, and chopping fruits and vegetables for lunch. Beautiful models, puzzles and language cards, as well as the practical work in the classroom promote language acquisition and positive social relationships.
Children ages 3-6 work together in a Primary classroom. The mixed-age group environment fosters developing leadership skills and self-confidence as the older, more experienced students mentor and help the younger ones. At any point in time, you may see an older child “giving a lesson” to a younger child.
The Primary curriculum (practical life, sensorial, language, math and cultural studies/geography) and prepared environment encourage responsibility, accountability, cooperation and critical thinking skills.
In the Elementary classroom, children move about the room freely, working with friends on studies of their choosing. The environment is abuzz with the joy of learning. Individualized and small group lessons enable each child to learn at his or her own pace. Long, uninterrupted work periods allow students time to thoroughly research an area of interest. As with the Primary, Elementary multi-age grouping gives younger children student mentors and older children the opportunity to be compassionate leaders.
The core curriculum includes interactive lessons in botany, zoology, physics, mathematics, language, history and geography and are taught with specialized Montessori materials. Painting, drawing or other art projects are seen daily within any of the subjects. Music can be heard throughout the morning, as small groups of children sing and compose music on various instruments. Physical education is enjoyed on the 5-acre wooded campus.
The rigorous Junior High plan of study is realized through Montessori principles. Academic subjects are holistically woven together with real-world experiences and community service. After in-class lessons, geometry, algebra and science are grasped more deeply as the students design and build structures on campus. History and literature come to life as students become Benjamin Franklin, Malala Yousafzai, or Stephen Hawking through their dramatis personae presentations. Adolescents enjoy the chance to work collaboratively on projects, create a business, raise money, and invest it back into the community through their own microeconomy.
Studies move beyond the classroom as the younger Elementary students have the chance to visit Mount Vernon, Monticello and Montpelier, as Virginia is rightfully named the Cradle of America. Older Elementary students take their studies to Philadelphia, Williamsburg and Chincoteague for several days throughout the year. The Junior High students travel to New York or Chicago, joining Montessori schools from around the globe, to represent other nations with Montessori Model United Nations.
The school also offers a popular weekly-themed Summer Camp program for Toddler, Primary and Elementary-aged children, Before and After Care programs and bus service to and from Marshall, Warrenton and Winchester.
Schedule a tour or find out more at www.mountainlaurelmontessori.com.