Here are some of our most common questions. If you don't find your answer here, please reach out to us directly and we would love to assist you in any way we can.
There are many lovely Montessori schools in our area for toddlers up through kindergarten, however Dr. Montessori’s vision for education goes up through age 15 and beyond. In other parts of the US (and world) Montessori elementary, middle and high schools help children bear beautiful academic fruit from the seeds that get planted in Montessori pre-schools.
In the elementary Montessori environment, we provide opportunities to make connections, develop confidence, work at their own pace, and ask questions. You won’t find a line of desks, but instead a variety of workspaces located throughout the classroom. This fosters each child’s need, at times, to work alongside, or perhaps collaborate with a buddy and then, at other times, find a quiet space to work independently. Elementary school should be a safe place where we first and foremost wonder and marvel together at God’s goodness. From that foundation, learning how to respectfully navigate social situations moves all else forward. Rigorous academic inquiry is fun once children become part of a vibrant, loving community.
Maria Montessori insisted that all learning requires involvement of the mind, the body and the spirit. She conceived her educational method as the best way to honor and nurture children in the Christian faith. In the past 60 years, however, as the culture has secularized, so have Montessori training programs and schools. Today, in New Jersey, most Montessori schools today espouse a broadly humanistic ethos as their spiritual basis. Other faith-based Montessori schools exist around New Jersey, however, Vine Montessori prioritizes the Christian spiritual and moral development of children.
We believe children learn best when they are afforded ‘freedom within limits.’ We prepare a lovely and inviting environment with which children engage after their lessons. Students come to see that their needs can be balanced with those of the community as they take turns, go about their work of learning, care for one another, and do so with grace and courtesy. Montessori children get practice making good choices because they have agency. This all occurs under the watchful eye of Montessori-trained guides who intervene when necessary, but refrain from (as Dr. Montessori enjoined) doing for a child what they can do for themselves.
It is helpful if your child has benefitted from a Montessori environment, but certainly not essential. Children coming with Montessori experience, be it preschool or homeschooling, tend to be hungry learners and self-controlled, and jump into the elementary curriculum with gusto. Other children often come to appreciate our empowering approach and before long and wish they had joined us sooner. Modern neuroscience has resoundingly affirmed what Dr. Montessori concluded over a hundred years ago: that participating in any Montessori learning at any age is beneficial and prepares students for much more than standardized tests. It equips them for life.
Our maxim is to observe first and always, “Follow the child.” The Montessori elementary mixed-age classroom offers opportunities while softening the typical pressure found in standards-based, curricula-driven environments. It is not unusual to have a child working outside of grade-level expectations but feel encouraged and supported wherever they are. I’ve worked with six-year-olds struggling to read and write, and with a sixth grader who voraciously devoured algebra and trigonometry. It is truly our joy & privilege to come alongside each child and encourage them to keep moving forward. Many children blossom and grow at astonishing rates when they feel part of a community excited about learning.