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Learning Garden Montessori Preschool

4226 South Lucile
Seattle, WA 98118

Phone:
(206) 725-7714

Website:

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Learning Garden is a Montessori school with a traditional academic curriculum centered on nature studies, situated on a city farm. Children play, explore, discover, learn and socialize in a warm, academic environment, building the base for future knowledge. At Learning Garden Montessori School, learning is child-oriented, the children's work is play, the individuality is treasured and respected, and focus and concentration are our main goals. • The curriculum emphasizes the classic academic Montessori activities, like reading, writing, math, as well as the amazing world of science, art and music. • The play yard is set up as a city farm: the children garden, observe bugs and plants, rake leaves, grow vegetables and flowers, and care for the animals. • The school is offering parenting support and education to the enrolled parents, in a desire to nurture the emotional growth of each family. Being situated at the crossroads of Hillman City, Columbia City and Seward Park neighborhoods, the school is a place where the diversity is celebrated and respected. The activities and curriculum are meant to reflect this diversity, teach acceptance and respect, as a Peace curriculum is cornerstone of the Montessori philosophy.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Montessori

From the Director:

Learning Garden Montessori School's hope, goal and mission is: -to inspire love of learning in each child, -enable the child to discover the world, -offer parenting tools to the families, -institute a a wonderful, rich, peaceful environment where respect for the natural world and different people is the driving thought in each activity. Through the curriculum,the environment, and the philosophy, the school’s hope is to plant the seed of becoming a «citizen of the world» in each child, as Maria Montessori envisioned 100 years ago.

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
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 The week at a glance: Circle time: every morning and 11:15. Recess: every day, rain or shine. Sharing : Tuesday and Thursday, Second circle. Science project /lesson: ongoing through the week, with a big project of Wednesdays. We will combine gardening, care of the environment, with environemnt studies, and nature. Cooking : The children and teachers will prepare a food project each week. Cooking is an extension of the Practical Life area of a Montessori classroom. We will aim to grow vegetables, herbs and use them in our cooking. The goal of these long projects are to enable the children understand the whole process of growing a consuming food, honoring the effort and time that goes in providing the food. For example we will bake bread, make carrot salad, or create the traditional Montessori «smelling bottles» using the garden herbs. Gardening: ongoing; we will make flower beds using real tools, plant, watch the plants grow, pick vegetables or fowers, study the life cycles, create books, and matching cards.

From the Director:

The Montessori work time is in essence play. The children learn while playing. For example, learning the geographical landforms ( lakes, island, golf, isthmus, etc) is presented as a water activity: the child has a land form , an island let's say, a pitcher of water, a small boat, a tree, a little fish, a little person with a tent, a bird, etc. Through play, they will discover that the person can row the boat «around» the island, therefore the island is sourounded by water. The activity corelated with the «island» is «lake»: through play, the child discovers that the person rows alongside the banks of the lake, and that the lake is a body of water sourounded by the land. One of the most important skill practiced in the Montessori class is learning concentration and focus. The multitude of sensorial experiences allows the children to imerse themselvs in the act of discovery; They repeat the activity until they master the skill. The work space is defined and respected; while working, children are not interrupted. Their learning process is tresured and fostered.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The materials are presented individually or to the group as a «lesson», using slow beautiful steps, giving time for observation, showing the work from beginning (the act of picking the material from the shelf) to the end of the process ( cleaning up, put it away, make sure it is ready for the next person) . This way children not only practice the academical concepts, but their social interaction and responsibility . There is only one material of each kind in the classroom, and it needs to be treated gently in order to allow all children enjoy it. The concept of respect reaches wide, as it is applied in questions like « why be kind », «why recycle», «why share» etc.
Within the array of these activities, what Montessori teachers call «work time», children assert their independence in choosing materials that fit their personality and age.Circle is a time when the group comes together, greets each other and shares special events.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The daily activity is consistent and orderly , as children thrive in an environment where they know the structure and expectations. Within this structure that ensures safety and peace, children play, explore, discover, learn, socialize. These activities are led by the inner need of learning, dictated by the developmental stage of each child.

A Typical Day

Learning Garden Montessori School’s schedule is organized following the traditional academic method, offering a guided discovery meant to spark the imagination in each child.
According with its philosophy and method, a Montessori school’s schedule needs:
- to be consistent each day
-offer a structured school environment that feed’s the child’s need of order, and consistency
- offer blocks of uninterrupted time of 2-3 hours, to foster concentration and focus.
The children explore and learn, practicing new skills until the inner need of mastering a certain skill is satisfied. The organized and consistent schedule ensures a stress free learning experience. The stress free learning experience is also supported by a relationship of trust between teacher and parent, implicitly between teacher and child.
9am arrival/circle
9:15-11:15 work time
11:15-11:30 circle
11:30-12 recess
12 pick up time
12-1pm lunch and reading time
The school is meant to be a calm, peaceful, beautiful and safe place of exploration and discovery for your child.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

*Communication between teachers and parents are the utmost important base for a good school experience. Through effective and honest communication the adults in the child's life establish a relationship of trust that will extend in all areas of your child's education.
* The peaceful child starts with simple things, like setting the environment, establishing limits and a structure, understanding the developmental stages, or ways of talking and listening to the child.
Learning Garden Montessori School is offering the parenting support , advice and education to each enrolled family to practice these concepts at home

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

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

Separation

Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school

Handling Separation: From the Director

The school is offering an orientation to all new students before the beginning of the school year. This way the students have a concrete image of their new school setting.
During the years I recommended telling the children : “I visited the school and talked with the teacher about what children do during the day. I asked her questions about how children wash hands, eat snack, how they do circle time, how they read books and how they play outside. I like that the school has bunny and chickens, and children can observe the bugs in the garden! I like that you will do gardening at this school. I asked many questions and I choose this school for you, I know you will learn a lot here and you will be safe. “
By doing this, you will institute a feeling of trust in your child in her/his new school.
Establish a short “Good Bye “ routine with your child. “Three hugs and three kisses” for example, and respect it every day. It is important to keep this routine especially if your child has separation anxiety. By doing this you help your child build trust with her new environment. The teacher will call you if your child is inconsolable after an hour, but experience show that after few minutes, the interesting environment and the teacher’s tenderness win over the anxiety. Please know that separation anxiety can last a day or a month, but following this procedure, you give your child the chance to master her new environment in the shortest time possible.