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Faculty Spotlight: Courtney Nutter

Coaching and teaching is part of my DNA, or at least that is what my father, a life-long coach and mentor,  always told me.  I come from a long line of educators, so it is not surprising that I find myself teaching Physical Education at MSR.  Another role that I play at MSR is that of Director of Athletics. It is here that I find the greatest joy in working alongside the coaches and motivating our teams to perform to the best of their abilities.  When I see our student-athletes working together with their teammates, coaches, and players from other schools, I feel inspired in my own career. 

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Faculty Spotlight: Melissa Edwards

All of the discoveries of mankind will be known to them and they will improve what has been done and make fresh discoveries. They must make all the improvements in houses, cities, communications, and methods of production that are to be made. The future generation must not only know how to do what we can teach them, they must also go a step further.”
                               - Dr. Maria Montessori, 1946 Lectures

A quick glance at the headlines demonstrates the dynamic role of technology in our world. From social media legislation to AI advances, our society is experiencing constant shifts and resulting philosophical questions. You may wonder how The Montessori School of Raleigh positions themselves and our students to be prepared for this ever changing world.

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MD Sable

As an Early Childhood Aide & Lead After-Care Guide on the Lead Mine Campus, I get to see firsthand the outcomes of a Montessori education. Being an aide, I have the opportunity to work and interact with many students in several different levels and classrooms. Because of this, I get the chance to appreciate the gradual growth, maturity, and real-life learning that only comes from a Montessori setting–the embrace of a child’s independence and desire to learn. As I continue to learn more about Montessori education, I continue to be reminded of the incredible difference MSR’s educational setting has on students, and enjoy the opportunity to “follow the child” as they grow and learn.

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Karen R

In our Early Childhood program at MSR kindness is shown daily through a gentle hug to a friend, a warm smile, kind words, helping a friend on the playground, zipping a younger friend's coat, or helping a friend up when they have fallen. Kindness is best taught when it is modeled with purpose and passion. Encouraging our children at an early age to put kindness into action through their thoughts, words, and actions will make our world a more peaceful place to live.

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Faculty Spotlight: Sam Hirte

The beauty of reading is that it allows you to be transported to different realities and have experiences that you might otherwise not be exposed to. In having the opportunity to teach English to Grades 7-12 students at the Brier Creek Campus, I am in a unique position to push our students to read literature that they otherwise may not be exposed to and increase their understanding of the world and the people around them. ​​​​​​​

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Cathy Bocklage

Some people might think it odd to use the two words "Grace and Courtesy" with the Toddler age group.  Toddlers are at a very "egocentric" stage of development and it often seems that the world revolves around them.  As a parent, teaching manners and social etiquette to a Toddler seems a little daunting or perhaps even impossible.  The good news is it is very possible and the toddlers are even more receptive to social etiquette and manners than you might think.  Dr. Maria Montessori incorporated Grace and Courtesy into her curriculum because she recognized that the young child is going through a sensitive period for order.  This strong sense of order needs to incorporate a social framework so it can be absorbed, and thus the child feels more comfortable in his/her surroundings. When this framework is established, the child is more caring, purposeful, and respectful within the classroom environment.  In fact, Grace and Courtesy are the hallmarks of any Montessori school.

Read More about Teacher Spotlight: Modeling Grace and Courtesy: Can a Toddler learn Social Graces?
Faculty Spotlight: Iryna Shvets

It is well known that Montessori education cultivates a love for reading. Many Montessori students seamlessly progress in learning to read and experience the phenomena which Dr. Montessori described as a spontaneous “explosion into reading.” Even though this process may appear to be natural and easy, there is a significant amount of preparatory work taking place in the classroom on a daily basis. Montessori method applies the right knowledge during the right moment for a child’s learning. As soon as a three-year-old shows an interest in letters and sounds, the journey to reading begins starting with phonological awareness activities or simply "sound games."

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Coach Ben Betts

I have taught for 23 years and understood early in my career the reason why I teach and coach. I have always looked at being an educator as a seed planter. We may not get to witness the tree fully blooming, but we take pride in knowing we helped with establishing the foundation. I believe in building relationships in order to connect with our kids. Kids want to know that you notice they have new shoes or a new haircut. I chose to become part of this school community because it aligns with my teaching philosophy and my belief in Ubuntu, which translates, “I am because we are.” We are a community of respect, care, compassion, love, solidarity, sharing, reconciliation, and reciprocity.

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Faculty Spotlight: Amaris Wright-Bey

I grew up going through the public school system and I knew that if I wanted to be a classroom teacher I was going to need something different. When I found Montessori it seemed like the most obvious way to teach. When I started at MSR I was amazed seeing the toddlers pick out a work, complete it, and then return it to a shelf, having their needs for independence met, while also getting the support and assistance expected of the age group. While I enjoyed working with the toddlers, I also learned that I wanted to work with children with more complex ideas. 

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Teacher Spotlight: Diana Rodriguez

“A different language is a different vision of life.” - Federico Fellini

To be able to communicate, to understand other people's points of view, to learn and enrich yourself from different cultures, and to embrace and admire the diversity that surrounds us and connects us as humanity–those are some of the elements that motivate me to teach one of the world's languages, Spanish.

In the Spanish classroom, music, arts, play, and technology are integrated to provide students with learning experiences that support their Spanish language development. Students have the opportunity to listen to styles of music from Ibero-America, as well as music that is sung in Spanish. Spanish songs are also learned and performed at our school’s events. Art activities allow our students to express their creativity while learning about an array of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. Students are exposed to stories, legends, and different ways of life, among so much more. For example, crafts like Guatemala's “worry dolls,” which we’ve made in class, can be a great resource at home! These little dolls can be used for mindfulness and helping children process their emotions and feelings.

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Mary Frances Miller Spotlight: Feeding Littles

What age do we introduce foods? Do we offer vegetables or fruit first? How should it be served? There are so many thoughts and opinions on when and where to begin the solid foods journey with your baby. Last year, I decided to use my MSR employee professional development allowance to take the Feeding Littles Infant Course to deepen my knowledge on infant nutrition. This course was created by Megan McNamee and Judy Delaware to provide families with guidelines and techniques to make the best nutrition decisions for their children. Megan is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist while Judy is an Occupational and Feeding Specialist. As a team, they share their education and experience through courses, products, and blogging. 

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Faculty Spotlight: Dave Ratledge

As the Upper School Science and Math Lead Guide and self proclaimed “scientific teacher of science” at the Brier Creek Campus, I currently teach Honors Chemistry, IB Biology, and Theory of Knowledge classes to Grades 10 - 12 students. 

After checking in with my students in Advisory, my day starts with the Grade 11 IB Biology class. In 2022, MSR made a curricular change that shifted biology to Grade 11 so that Grade 12 IB students are offered chemistry and physics in their final year. Students are on an accelerated schedule and students are doing a wonderful job of handling the work....

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SummerScape Logo Summer 2021

Summerscape 2023, The Montesorri School of Raleigh's summer camps program, launched on Monday, June 12. Offering programming for children 15 months through sixth grade, SummerScape offers something for everyone!

In keeping with Montessori practice, the weekly camps are designed to offer hands-on experiences that encourage exploration and discovery and help campers grow as independent and engaged learners.

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MMUN NYC March 2023

Allowing students to explore deeply and find new meaning in their world through hands-on and real-world learning experiences such as the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) are hallmarks of the MSR experience and reflect Maria Montessori’s belief that by freeing a child’s potential you will “transform them into the world.” In March of 2023, eight Upper Elementary students from The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) participated in the 2023 MMUN Conference in New York City as part of an international delegation of students. The conference was the culmination of almost a year’s worth of concentrated preparation by the students who met after school once a week beginning in September 2022. 

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Science Fair

In the  Upper Elementary (UE) classrooms at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), a scientific approach is taken when asking life’s “big” questions like, “What does osmosis look like to a gummy bear?” or “What type of hay do goats find most delicious?” Through hard work, planning and experimentation, MSR’s fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students discover the answers to these important inquiries and share what they have learned during the annual Upper Elementary Science Fair.

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Intersession Spring 2023

The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) is fortunate to be part of the greater Raleigh-Durham community and able to take advantage of the wealth of educational, technological, medical, cultural, and other resources available here and which provide valuable real-life learning opportunities. MSR’s Middle School Intersession program, a signature program designed to introduce students to new experiences, places, people, and ideas, connects students with Triangle-area organizations, destinations, and experts in a variety of disciplines allowing students to take a deep dive into areas of interest outside the typical academic program.

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World Politics Class US Fall 2022

Recent evaluation finds MSR offers an IB and Montessori experience that is “purposely designed to have maximum impact on students.”

As an official IB World School for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) undergoes regular evaluations both internally and with the IB organization to confirm and support the school’s commitment to and delivery of the IB Diploma Programme to MSR students in grades 11 and 12. IB representatives visited MSR’s Brier Creek Campus in March as a part of one of these evaluations, and recently shared their findings with students in a community meeting and with school leadership.

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Peter Pan Studios Plus March 2023

Peter Pan, Wendy, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell—all familiar characters from J.M Barrie’s novel Peter and Wendy. The story of Peter Pan has had many iterations over the years, and this spring, The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), staged a new adaptation of this story entitled Peter Pan; or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up.

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Asian American Alliance Conference March 2023 at Cary Academy

On Wednesday, March 8, four students and one faculty member from The Montessori School of Raleigh's Upper School attended the Asian American Alliance conference for Asian-identifying students, faculty, and staff at Cary Academy. The conference, inspired by the work of the Asian Educators Alliance (AsEA), and designed and hosted by Cary Academy, had a theme of "Building Bridges Across Communities."

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The Montessori Method

I am often asked by fellow educators who are unfamiliar with the Montessori Method of education,“Why Montessori?” I am delighted whenever I am asked this question because it allows me to share an in-depth explanation as to why I believe the Montessori Method is an amazing option for today’s modern child.

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Alumni Day Jan 2023

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, nine MSR alumni participated in Alumni Day at the Brier Creek Campus. The alumni represented all three of MSR’s high school graduating classes: 2020, 2021, 2022. As part of the day, Middle and Upper School students attended an alumni panel discussion, during which the visiting alumni shared college and life experiences since graduating from MSR.

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LE2 Parrandas Dec 2022

This holiday season, the Interdisciplinary team at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), offered a special cultural experience for students on the school's Lead Mine Campus. MSR Spanish teachers had their elementary students, explore Caribbean holiday traditions. As part of that study, students learned about "las parrandas," a Puerto Rican musical tradition that takes place during the Christmas season.

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Broadening the mind and spirit: real-world experiences

Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.      —Maria Montessori

In keeping with Dr. Montessori’s method of teaching and learning, students at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) enjoy hands-on, real-world learning experiences, like field trips and special guests in the classroom, designed to deepen their understanding at every level of their development.

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Heroes as inspiration: Mystery History and Parade of Heroes at MSR

As elementary-age children are looking to find their place in society, they look up to adults and older students to inspire them.  At this stage of development, it is important to ignite curiosity about the world and the child’s place in it by telling stories of heroes and heroines from history, current events, and literature.  When a child hears or reads a story about someone who has shown courage, imagination, ingenuity, or persistence, it inspires the child. Dr. Montessori called this fascination with heroes and heroines, “Hero Worship.”

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First Great Lesson Origins of the Universe LE4 Sept 2022

Elementary-age children are naturally fascinated by the interrelationships of things, ideas, and people. That is why The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) employs the Five Great Lessons developed by Dr. Maria Montessori to set the stage for intellectual, spiritual, and psychological development. Central to the curriculum for students in grades one through three (Lower Elementary), the Great Lessons form a framework for academic studies established through epic stories about:

  • the origins of the Universe
  • the inception of life on Earth
  • the development of human life, culture, and accomplishments
  • the history of language
  • the history of numbers
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Admin Building LMC

Each year faculty and staff nominate a fellow employee to offer the Inspiramus at the start of the next new school year. The Inspiramus is designed to provide inspiration and encouragement as the school community prepares to welcome back MSR's students and families. This year's Inspiramus was delivered by Babe Clawson, Lower Elementary Directress (LE4). In her own words...

Hi, for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Babe Clawson and I want to welcome everyone to the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year here at The Montessori School of Raleigh. This marks the beginning of my thirtieth year at MSR, so to say I love this school is an understatement.

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SummerScape FY23

Time flies when you’re having fun and at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) that’s certainly true this summer as campers enjoyed exploring, discovering, and learning during SummerScape 2022. Educators know that it is important for children to take time off from their regular school-year studies to engage in different kinds of  activities and learning experiences. SummerScape at MSR provides ample opportunities for children ages 15 months through grade 6 to do just that.

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Practical Life Dishwashing

Montessori materials are hands-on learning tools designed to provide children with opportunities to learn through repetition and practice. In a MSR classroom, students are given lessons with these materials which focus on one skill at a time. Materials are intentionally designed to support independent learning and problem-solving. The use of materials grows in complexity as students continue to learn and develop from concrete to abstract learning.

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Congratulations Class of 2022

The Montessori School of Raleigh graduated its Class of 2022 during a commencement ceremony on Friday, June 3. The tented event took place on the school’s Brier Creek Campus where the graduates, their families, faculty, staff, and friends gathered to celebrate the many accomplishments of the seven graduating seniors and launch them into the next chapter of their lives.

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Child explores garden

Dr. Maria Montessori believed in the power of the natural world to teach and inspire children and support their growth as thoughtful citizens of the world. As we look ahead to celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2022, we are reminded of the many ways the study of nature informs learning and discovery in the Montessori classroom. The following is excerpted from "Why Connect With Nature" published online by Age of Montessori, highlighting how parents can guide their child's understanding of and appreciation for nature.

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Building a knee in UE Dec 2022

When baking a cake, simply assembling the ingredients does not make a cake; they must be mixed in the proper portions and baked for the appropriate time. The same is true for the “ingredients” of companies and nations. In our complex modern world, simply hiring engineers, financiers, lawyers, etc. will not make a successful company or government; they must all work together to achieve a successful outcome. Even for an individual working with others is a crucial ingredient for success. 

As an engineer, I have seen hundreds of knowledgeable engineers who live in a world of LaPlace Transforms and Bessel Functions but could not work with others to achieve a result. The Montessori philosophy addresses this issue in a way that public education does not.

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Lead4Change logo

What do tigers, coats, and pies have in common? They all provide inspiration for MSR’s Upper School students to “Lead4Change” and make a difference in their community and world.

Beginning this fall, MSR’s 9th and 10th grade students engaged in the Lead4Change program: “a leadership curriculum with a community service framework” with a goal of “empowering students to act, serve, and make BIG things happen” ( It involves students in a series of leadership lessons which culminate in the implementation of a student-led community service project. 

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Black Montessorias Feb 2022

The Montessori approach to education is an inclusive and globally-centered one. As we celebrate Black History Month this February, we would like to recognize the contribution of two of many Black American Montessorians who lived these Montessori values and made significant contributions in their communities: Mae Arlene Gadpaille and Roslyn Davis Williams.

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UE Girls Project Work Dec 2021

Dr. Maria Montessori discovered a child’s "Sensitive Periods" through careful study and observation. These periods are essentially developmental time frames during which the acquisition of specific skills is optimum. Dr. Montessori designed her classrooms in three-year programs or cycles and Montessori teachers are specifically trained to meet their students' needs within the cycle.

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Rising Up Day Classroom LMC

Multi-age classrooms and three-year cycles—these are just two of the things that set a Montessori education apart from other educational models. The value of this Montessori Method lies in the way it allows students to deepen their understanding and grow as independent and engaged learners. For teachers, having the same students for three years means really getting to know student—how they learn best, what are their areas of strength and their areas for growth.

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LE girl with computer

When you think of Montessori education, no doubt hands-on, project learning comes to mind. The use of Montessori materials, like pink towers, puzzle maps, bead chains and moveable alphabets, is a well-known hallmark of the Montessori Method, as is nature and peace education. What many may not realize is that technology is also an important component of a Montessori experience.

At The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), technology is intentionally introduced to students at specific developmental stages.

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Win At Social classroom

The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) is partnering again this year with The Social Institute, a leader in social media education and social-emotional learning. The curriculum, #WinAtSocial, is designed to support families and help students navigate social-emotional health and technology in positive, high-character ways. In alignment with the Montessori approach to educating and preparing the whole child, MSR has implemented the #WinAtSocial curriculum for the past two years as part of the Middle and Upper School advisory experience each month.

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Intersessions Fall 2021 MS

Twice a year, the regular Middle School curriculum pauses for Intersession, a one-week period when students participate in full-immersion, interdisciplinary studies. Through Intersession, students explore an area of interest outside of their typical academic studies and encounter new experiences, places, people, and ideas that spark what often become lifelong passions. Some Intersessions are offered year after year, while others are newly designed each year to meet students’ unique interests.

Read More about Answering the “How?” through Intersession Week
Girl harvests  tomatoes in BCC garden 9-2021

Dr. Maria Montessori once said, "When children come into contact with nature they reveal their strength." At The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), nature education is an integral part of the curriculum at every grade level. Just as Maria Montessori observed children to better understand how they learn, children in the Montessori classroom observe nature to better understand themselves, the world around them, and their place in it. 

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Lifelong learning and parent education at MSR

The Montessori approach to education is designed to instill a love of learning in children which they will carry with them throughout their lives. Keeping curiosity and inquiry alive is central to the "natural learning" espoused by Maria Montessori and practiced at The Montessori School of Raleigh. This notion of lifelong learning is integrated into every grade-level experience at MSR and extends to the adult community through employee professional development and parent education.

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Inspiramus: we are in the business of shaping the future

On  August 16, 2021, on the first day of Employee Prep Week at MSR, Lower Elementary Directress, Laura Sayles, "rallied the troops" with her opening "Inspiramus." In her own words...

My name is Laura Sayles and I am a directress in Lower Elementary, or “LE." For those of you who don’t know yet, LE includes first, second, and third grade. Super fun age range! Fun fact about LE, Maria Montessori actually coined it, “The Age of Accidental Rudeness,” because they are hyper aware of everyone around them, and truly do just speak their minds without a filter.

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Land and Livestock program welcomes chicks

Maria Montessori had a deep respect for the natural world. She believed the outdoor environment was an extension of the indoor classroom as it provides endless opportunities for experiential learning. That’s why at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR), students at all grade levels learn from nature every day through access to outdoor spaces as well as natural elements in their indoor spaces – like plants and small animals. In the Middle and Upper Schools, students engage in a land and livestock program that offers even more opportunities for students to access and learn from the natural world around them.

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MSR students inducted into the National Honor Society

​Congratulations to the newest members of The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) National Honor Society chapter. The eight inductees, which included students from 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, took the oath of membership last night during the virtual National Honor Society International Induction Ceremony. These students are recognized for their scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

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Toddlers watch lizard

When children come in contact with Nature, they reveal their strength.

-   Dr. Maria Montessori

Spring has arrived in Raleigh/Durham and at The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) that means students are deepening their understanding and connection with nature. From Earth Day activities to classroom lessons, students across grade levels are discovering the wonders of the natural world around them. The following are just a few of the ways MSR students are building connections.

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Humanities Night April 2021 Prep

Like all learning at MSR, the Middle School humanities curriculum is designed to guide students in developing subject content mastery, while also allowing students to dive deeply into areas of personal interest. In humanities, that means learning history content, developing research, writing, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, and looking forward to Humanities Night each year.

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Hands in air Hands-on Learning News

As a school dedicated to the Montessori method of educating children, MSR knows the power of hands-on learning. From 15 months to grade 12, MSR students have the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials as part of a process that deepens understanding, strengthens foundational skills, and allows for the transfer of knowledge at every developmental level.

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Toddler Valentines Meals on Wheels 4

Montessori education places a great emphasis on community and encourages children at every age level to understand how they can contribute in meaningful ways to their community and the wider world. This week, the learners in MSR's Toddler program got a hands-on experience with what it means to give to others.

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30 sixth graders planned a trip to New York City - Watch the documentary to see what happened!
Click on the video to watch the world premiere of MSR's New York Odyssey documentary. Follow our 6th years as they navigate the streets of New York and present their research at famous New York locations. Watch as they learn about this amazing city and about themselves! The New York Odyssey trip is an annual event culminating the Upper Elementary experience.
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Celebrating International Peace Day

Peace is taught as an important part of the Montessori curriculum and September 21 was International Peace Day, so our Lower Elementary classes gathered around the peace pole on Ben’s Field to celebrate. Maria Montessori began her teachings around the time of World War II when the world was immersed in violence and acts of aggression. She firmly believed that people should be taught to spread peace from a very young age in hopes that our world would be free from violence one day.

Montessori’s curriculum held the idea that we are all one small piece of a larger world regardless of our ethnicity or background. Starting in Lower Elementary, our students are taught that as humans we all have the same basic needs to survive and we must use peace and kindness to help each other grow every day. Montessori also teaches students that they have the ability to make positive change in the world. Children are often given the misconception that they need to be an adult to improve the world when in reality people are never too young to make a difference in a peaceful manner.

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How Montessori prepares kids for the ivy league and beyond

College should be the time in life when a young person accelerates and experiences the excitement of learning, deciding how they want to have an impact on the world outside of the classroom.

Unfortunately, many teens arrive at college to take their first steps into adulthood exhausted and burned out, weary from years spent trying to achieve what many schools define as success.

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Entrepreneur credits Montessori education for giving him his kickstart

Entrepreneurship is consistently a hot topic, what with consumers clamoring for innovation across all industries.

The excitement over new technologies and the startup culture has extended into the job search for students completing their educations. In fact, 69 percent of students are interested in working for startups; this despite the high risk of failure, the long working hours necessary to drive a new business to success and the often low paychecks associated with early-stage ventures.

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