A Unique Partnership
Children’s Kiva Montessori School (Kiva) is a partnership between the Children’s House (Preschool and Kindergarten) and the Charter Elementary/Middle School, and is modeled after a number of successful Colorado Montessori Charter Schools operating in partnership with a tuition-based preschool. Together, our schools provide a continuous educational option for children ages 3-14. We use Montessori methods to create an environment that promotes academic excellence, the development of the whole child, and cultivates responsibility, initiative and independence. This partnership aligns the programming and mission of both schools, though for legal purposes they remain separate entities. The Children’s House maintains autonomy and is solely responsible for providing teaching instruction, staff, compensation and programming for its students including provisions for tuition assistance. Each program is governed by a separate all-volunteer Board of Directors. Our boards, administrators, staff and parents work together to create a unified program for ages 3-14 while meeting the distinctive goals, objectives, and requirements of their individual programs.
Children’s House, formerly referred to as Children’s Kiva Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten, is home to our early childhood program and serves students ages 3-6. Charter Kindergarten students remain housed at the Children’s House location in order to honor Montessori’s multi-age classroom and planes of development approach. This program has been in operation since 1987 and is currently located at 1204 East Empire Street in Cortez, CO.
The Children’s House uses Colorado Shines Quality Rating Improvement System to measure the quality of child care programs on a 1-5-diamond scale. Children’s House was currently holds a three diamond rating. Children’s House holds memberships to local and national organizations including the Montelores Early Childhood Council (MECC), Colorado Non-Profit Association, Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce, Southwest District of the Colorado Association for the Education of the Young Child (SWNAEYC) and the Colorado Montessori Association.
We house three full-day classrooms, Monday through Thursday, 7:55 am-3:05 pm
The Montessori Philosophy
Montessori education dates back to 1907, when Maria Montessori opened the Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House, in a low-income district of Rome. Her unique philosophy sparked the interest of educators worldwide, and in the following decades Montessori schools opened throughout Europe, in North and South America, and finally, on every continent but Antarctica (1). More than 5,000 schools in the United States, including 300 public schools, and about 7,000 schools worldwide, use the Montessori Method. Montessori education is characterized by multi-age classrooms, a special set of educational materials, student-chosen work in long time blocks, a collaborative environment with older students mentoring younger ones, and individual and small group instruction in academic and social skills.(2)
Dr. Maria Montessori asserted that the most important aim in education is to teach the child how to learn. She believed that the motivations for learning are innate within the child; that human beings are born with the urge to explore and the need to achieve “mastery” of their environment. The Montessori classroom is carefully prepared to train the senses, stimulate curiosity, satisfy the child’s need to know, and to encourage an understanding of the process of developing new skills. Dr. Montessori observed that when children learn in an environment that is intellectually and artistically alive, warm, and encouraging, they would spontaneously ask questions, investigate, create, and explore new ideas. She asserted that learning can and should be a relaxed, comfortable, and a natural process.
Dr. Montessori found that at every age level, students learn in different ways at different rates. Many learn much more effectively from direct hands-on experience than from studying a textbook or listening to a teacher’s explanations, and all students respond to careful coaching with plenty of time to practice and apply new skills and knowledge. Like the rest of us, children tend to learn through trial, error, and discovery.
(1) American Montessori Society
Montessori Curriculum and Classroom
The Montessori curriculum is organized as integrated, multi-disciplinary studies, as opposed to the more “traditional” model in which the curriculum is compartmentalized into separate subjects. This integrated thematic approach ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together into studies of the physical universe, the world of nature, and the human experience. Literature, the arts, history, social issues, civics, economics, mathematics, and science all complement one another in the Montessori curriculum. The physical environment is carefully prepared, orderly, precise, and attractive. It invites learning without being over-stimulating, while allowing the children to experience success that becomes truly meaningful to each child in the classroom.
What Montessori Offers Your Child
Longitudinal studies of Montessori education have found that Montessori students…
• have better academic and social skills than their non-Montessori peers
• are life-long learners
• are more self-disciplined and self-controlled
• have a greater understanding of truth and fairness
• are creative, especially in writing
• are independent and self-directed
• have strong conceptual understandings in mathematics, grammar, and the sciences
• have a deeper understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of humanities and the sciences
• score higher on standardized tests
(Lillard and Else-Quest, 2006)
The Montessori "Work Cycle"
The Montessori Method sets up an environment for children in which they reveal characteristics that do not appear under other circumstances. One of these characteristics is the ability to work for long periods of time in concentrated activity. For this to occur, it is necessary that there be an extended, uninterrupted period of time for work.
• Many children will enter the classroom and choose something relatively simple and stay with it for a short time, almost as if they are re-establishing a feeling of competence.
• Their next activity is generally more difficult and they stay with it longer.
• This is followed by “false fatigue,” a time when many children have put their work away but have not yet selected another activity.
• If the teacher allows the children to take the time they need to experience the restlessness of false fatigue, then the children will soon settle into their most difficult work choice of the cycle and stay with it the longest period of time. During this time their concentration is deepest, and they make the greatest strides in the development of skills and in the acquisition of knowledge.
• As the cycle nears its completion, the children put away their work and they appear to be refreshed and relaxed as they talk with one another and transition into group activities such as “line time”, eating lunch or outside play-time.
Children’s House (Preschool-Kindergarten) School Daily Schedule
Outside time; arriving families report to child’s assigned playground.
Transition-Restore the Environment
Morning friends depart from the front playground
Full day friends have lunch
Outside time; afternoon friends arrive on assigned classroom playground
Afternoon work period
Transition-Restore the Environment
Children depart from their classrooms