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Montessori Children's House (MCH)

25 Lake Street
San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 922-9235


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Montessori

From the Director:

We are a traditional Montessori program with certified Montessori teachers and a Montessori certified director. We believe that children have a powerful and innate ability to learn. Highly motivated to learn children need only a stimulating and responsive learning environment that supports their learning needs.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

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

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Montessori Materials
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
  • Experiments
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Montessori Bels
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
Physical activity more

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  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sensory/Motor Integration equipment in the classrooms Equipment in the classroom
Other subjects taught Park Play and Field Trips: The children take daily afternoon trips by bus to Presidio parks and playgrounds as well as go on field trips, which form an important adjunct to MCH's rich curriculum in cultural subjects. Typical trips include the California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Symphony, and the De Young Museum. Extracted from Montessori Children's House's website.

From the Director:

"MCH's classrooms are structured with custom-designed materials arranged in five curriculum areas. During the daily Montessori Period, each child selects activities from these areas. Our unhurried classrooms ensure maximum exploration and independent learning. Practical Life Activities: Through activities that cultivate gross motor and hand-eye coordination, a child gains a sense of order and independence. Sensorial Activities: Designed to sharpen the child's five senses, these activities enhance the children's understanding of the world around them. Cultural Subjects: This diverse curriculum sows the seeds of interest in geography, zoology, botany, music, and art. The classroom environment is rich with keys to the exploration of nature and human societies. Language Activities: The joy of learning language permeates the Montessori classroom. Activities culminate in letter formation and phonetic recognition. Mathematics Activities: By working with specialized materials, the child develops an understanding of geometric forms, the decimal system and basic arithmetic. During daily activity periods, each child freely selects materials from any of these five areas. By carefully observing each child, the teacher determines an individual's needs, then suggests specific Montessori materials to aid each child's growth. Constantly alert to the developmental nuances of each child, the teacher adjusts the classroom environment accordingly. Pre-Kindergarten Advanced Montessori Program: This afternoon program is tailored to the skill levels of older children. Advanced activities span the range of subjects in the Montessori curriculum and are designed to prepare children to continue their quality education after leaving MCH. Structured differently from the morning program, a specific day is designated for work on a specific subject, e.g., Monday for Mathematics, Tuesday for Language." Extracted from Montessori Children's House's website.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The Montessori curriculum can be tailored to meet the needs of individual children. Montessori children are specifically trained to observe individual children's needs and modify the curriculum to meet each child's specific needs. We pride ourselves in our ability to fit the curriculum around each child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"At MCH, we believe each child possesses a unique personality and learning style. Our skilled teachers respect the intrinsic value in each child and foster a love of learning that will last a lifetime. Based on the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, we create individualized learning environments that draw out the inherent talent and spontaneous desire to learn in every child. We make education engaging, substantive, and fun. Our students are proudly independent, while at the same time part of an interdependent community of learners ready to make their own unique contribution to our ever-evolving world. To fulfill our mission, the staff, parents, and Trustees follow these guiding principles: Recognize the value of a traditional preschool Montessori education that supports both the academic and social development of the child, while embracing the creative contributions made by our highly trained and motivated teachers. Promote 'Education for Peace' by creating an environment in which children experience and learn about the interconnectedness of life and the rich diversity of the world's cultures. Create a place where children learn to cherish their own heritage and to value that of others. Attract families who value Montessori education and who will actively contribute to the school's mission and goals by volunteering their time, skills, and resources. Build a diverse parent body that reflects San Francisco's rich urban environment. To this end, the school is dedicated to providing needs-based tuition scholarships. Promote family education by offering parents classes on Montessori philosophy and curriculum, contemporary education and parenting classes. Support our staff to continue their professional development and by helping them define short-and long-term career goals, providing tuition reimbursement programs and offering salary incentives to help achieve their goals. Cultivate a climate of mutual respect, collaborative effort, and critical inquiry that encourages all of MCH's constituents to preserve and enrich the school's unique educational community." Extracted from Montessori Children's House's website.

A Typical Day

Preschool Morning Program: 8:00am - 11:30am A dedicated three-hour period for mixed ages 3 through 5 allows each child to select activities from the five curriculum areas.
Extended Preschool Program: 8:00am - 1:30pm Preschool children ready for a longer day follow the Morning Program with Lunch and Park Play at a neighborhood park.
Pre-Kindergarten Program: 4 year olds; 8:00am - 3:00pm
Pre-K children follow the Preschool Program until 1:30pm, rest and then begin the one-hour Pre-K program of advanced Montessori activities appropriate for this age group.
Extended Day Program: 3pm - 5:30pm
A nurturing, restful program of play-based activities for children who stay for a longer day.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We provide several education workshops a year to help parents understand the Montessori curriculum, learning environment, educational goals and how we work with children. Formal parent teacher conferences are provided several times a year where we discuss children's progress towards developmental goals. Weekly teacher office hours provide opportunities for more spontaneous conferences and teachers are always available upon request to meet with parents.

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
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

New families and children are given buddy families before the start of school so that informal play dates can be set up. This gives them a familiar face when they start school. A week of our summer program is dedicated for new students. Children and families are invited to visit the school and attend various school wide functions before the start of school. Parents are given information at a workshop on how to prepare for the start of school and separation.
During the first several weeks of school additional staff are added to the staff to help with any separation.