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Montessori Family School

1850 Scenic Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

(510) 848-2322


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The MFS Early Childhood Education Program nurtures young children's quest for independence. They learn to control themselves physically and refine their gross and fine motor abilities. Cognitively, they have the opportunity to explore a broad range of Montessori materials, including those that provide them with a solid foundation for beginning reading, and learning basic math concepts. They also learn to become part of a community, make enduring friendships, and learn to socialize harmoniously.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Teacher-Led, Montessori

From the Director:

Our Mission: Preparation for Life, Education for Peace, A Community for Children. Preparation for Life: MFS prepares children to thrive. Purposeful activity, multi-age classrooms, adult and peer role models, and an exceptional Montessori curriculum prepare the students to participate meaningfully and skilfully in an ever-changing world. Students leave MFS primed for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in high school, college, and in life. Education for Peace: The classroom is a place of peace at MFS. Children express their innate sense of justice, equality, and goodness within the classroom community. Regular experiences of peaceful conflict resolution, freedom within limits, and social responsibility cultivate a value system our graduates carry out into the greater world to contribute to a more peaceful society. A Community for Children: The Montessori classroom is a loving community within which all members actively support one another while successfully pursuing their own development and interests. This sense of interconnectedness and responsibility is carried by alumni and families into the community at large. MFS is a community of students, teachers, administrators, board members, and parents who are focused on doing that which serves children best.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

The Montessori curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of each child. The program is multi-age and includes materials to address the curricular needs of a broad age range. Children work at their own pace and level. Based on "hands-on" learning, which engages children in multiple ways, our well-equipped classrooms and enriched curriculum are specifically prepared to provide our students with an excellent academic foundation. This foundation fosters a lifelong love of learning, and provides our students with the necessary skills and resources to pursue their interests and passions. Trained to provide an individualized and developmentally appropriate education, our teachers are able to both support and accelerate individual student learning. Each classroom has specific concrete materials, activities, projects and fieldtrips that support student development.

Day in the Life

A Typical Day

Choosing individual activities

Working with another child

Free outdoor play

Group Lunch followed by quiet time (naps for younger children, quiet stories for older children)

Afternoon work time with individual and group activities along with free choice

Children take responsibility for maintaining environment, participating in clean-up and care of classroom pets

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

- Open House

- 2 conferences per year to discuss child's progress

- Occasional phone conversations

- Parent education classes when relevant to current issues

- Newsletters with articles written by staff, parents and contributions from students in each class

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Separation is generally based on the needs of the child - e.g., starting with shorter days or with a parent present to handle transition. A child may be asked to visit a few times before session begins.