Overview

I am capable, and innately curious.
Give me the tools, environment and direction to become me.

Marin Montessori School serves children aged 18 months to 15 years. We encourage every child to discover his individual potential so that he can contribute to and thrive in a better world.

Montessori programs occur in three-year increments. These mixed-aged classrooms are rich with developmentally appropriate materials, teaching methods and individualized instruction. Intellectually rigorous, yet reassuringly nurturing, our programs are carefully designed to help each child successfully make the journey from wonder-filled childhood to self-assured, optimistic adulthood.

Environments

At Marin Montessori School, every classroom environment comes alive with a broad set of sensorial materials that can be manipulated in order to teach particular concepts. In contrast to more traditional teaching environments, children do not learn through passive reception of information, they learn by doing. Every child uses educational materials to develop skills of perception, reasoning, judgment, and intellect. Because each child is actively engaged along these many dimensions, she has the opportunity to progress in the way that she learns best.

In addition, abstract concepts are made concrete through physical manipulation of the materials, so that more difficult, intangible ideas are more easily understood. For example, the concept of cubed numbers is readily grasped by our children because they can interact with physical math materials that make the abstract idea tangible.

Opportunities

Our mixed-aged classrooms (generally spanning a three-year period) are extraordinarily rich in developmental opportunities. This structure offers many benefits. Children can progress at their own pace without grade level stigma. Younger children learn from older children and aspire to do what they are doing. In turn, older children further their mastery of subject matter by acting as teachers to younger children. Our mixed-aged classrooms also assist in developing stronger social and emotional skills by creating a society in which all children have input and agree upon the rules that will govern their community.

Teachers

Children at Marin Montessori School benefit from focused, individual and small group instruction offered by highly-skilled teachers. This approach is successful because children in lessons receive more individualized instruction and children who are not receiving a lesson are deeply engaged in independent work. Since older children often teach younger children as a means to master their knowledge, the teaching affect is multiplied. Teachers provide guidance and structure, and intervene when specific help is needed, yet give children ample room to grow on their own. Classrooms are organized to create the energy and sufficient number of choices to naturally motivate children.

Academics

MMS children receive a broad education that exceeds all state requirements. And, in a setting where three-hour work cycles are the norm and no homework is assigned, Montessori children have been shown to out-perform their peers academically, cognitively and morally.

Outcome

Every one of our children possesses a strong mental framework into which he or she can integrate knowledge acquired in high school, college and beyond. MMS children want to discover the world for themselves rather than be told about it. They are creative, independent thinkers who are well prepared to make sound judgments and life-fulfilling choices that are aligned with their inner passions.

Representative high schools attended by MMS graduates.

The Bay School of San Francisco
Berkeley High School
Berkeley Independent Study
The Branson School
Drew School
Idyllwild Arts Academy
Marin Academy
Marin Catholic
Marin School of Arts and Technology
Oxbow School
Phillips Exeter Academy
Rancho Cotate High School
Redwood High School
Saint Mary's College High School
Salesian High School
San Rafael High School
Santa Fe Preparatory School
Sir Francis Drake High School
Tamalpais High School
Tamiscal High School
Terra Linda High School

Representative colleges/universities attended by MMS graduates.

Academy of Art University
Bard College at Simon's Rock
Colorado College
Columbia University
Evergreen State College
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Hampshire College
Harvard University
Lewis & Clark
New York University
Princeton University
Saint Mary's College
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of British Columbia
University of California at Berkeley
University of California at Los Angeles
University of California at San Diego
University of California at Santa Cruz
University of Oregon
Western Washington University
Willamette University

Studies

Two recent studies addressed the academic abilities of Montessori children compared with traditionally educated peers. The first study, conducted by academic psychologists Angeline Lillard (University of Virginia) and Nicole Else-Quest (University of Wisconsin) and published in Science magazine (Sept. 2006), found that Montessori children at age five scored significantly higher on measurements of math, reading and executive functions. Young Montessori children were also more advanced in moral development, demonstrating a greater understanding of justice and fairness. At age 12, Montessori children exhibited greater creativity and use of more complex language skills, responded more positively to social dilemmas and felt a greater sense of community at their school.

A second study published in The American Journal of Education (May 2005) (Rathunde and Csikszentmihalyi) tested the motivation and quality of experience of Montessori and traditional school children of middle school age. Montessori children reported feeling greater energy, passion, motivation and interest in academic activities at school than did their peers at traditional middle schools.

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