Our Philosophy

Dr. Maria Montessori

Montessori is a time-tested, brain-based system of education that teaches to the whole child. Ongoing research in psychology and neuroscience continues to validate Dr. Montessori’s conclusions about children and learning, and the results are stunning. Based on her extensive observations, Dr. Montessori identified the time from birth to six years as the “Absorbent Mind” period, wherein children learn from their environment by absorbing information like a sponge. Hallmarks of Montessori education are multi-age grouping of children; individualized and small group instruction by teachers called “guides” trained in the Montessori Method; prepared indoor and outdoor work environments; and use of educational and concrete materials designed by Dr. Maria Montessori to teach specific concepts in the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Geography. At Athena, we also incorporate art and art history, gardening, music, foreign language instruction, and physical education for all students.  The carefully crafted, self-correcting materials in the prepared environment are designed to help the child develop concentration, self-direction, independence, and a love of learning. Empowered by choice and given “freedom with discipline”, children tend to thrive in a Montessori environment.  We encourage you to review articles demonstrating successful outcomes of Montessori that can be found on our Parent Resources page.

While we at Athena are committed to honoring the core of Montessori philosophy, curriculum, use of materials, and teacher training, we will also always be curious about what else informs us on how to best educate, stimulate, inspire, and nurture the minds of the young child.  We believe that if Dr. Maria Montessori were alive today she would continue to develop and evolve her program and curriculum based on current observations and modern research, especially in the areas of neuropsychology, gender studies, sports education, sensory-integration processing, motor planning, and emotional intelligence. We believe that Montessori would approve, encourage, and celebrate our thinking outside the box in search of best practices for serving the child, as long as our focus continues to “follow the child”.

We understand that it is essential to work closely with parents to best support the children in the community. We offer training, workshops, and resources for our parent community and make ourselves available for questions, conferences, meetings, and observations. We know that the more educated our parents are about what we are doing in the classroom, our approach, our language, our redirection techniques, and our insights into the children, the more successful we will be in reaching our goals for the children—socially, emotionally, and academically. We encourage you to stay tuned to our Parent Resources page as we update it regularly with articles, book recommendations, and resources for counseling, occupational therapy and parent coaching.