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School Philosophy

Yellowstone Montessori Academy

Yellowstone Montessori Academy provides a special learning environment according to the philosophy, educational methods and materials of Dr. Maria Montessori. The program is for children from the ages of 2.8 to 6.5 years and focuses on promoting and enhancing each child’s fulfillment of their greatest potential.

The school realizes the dream of Constance Dratz to provide the best possible education and environment for the little ones of the Gallatin Valley to develop and thrive. She spent many years researching and experimenting with teaching methods and philosophies to determine which ones are actually successful with most young children. In order to prepare herself properly to teach young children, she spent two years away from her home in Bozeman—one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the other in Columbia, Maryland. In both the Montessori elementary and primary school training programs,Constancelearned that Montessori designed a learning environment which is effective with children from different cultures, due to its basis in the scientific observation of the developmental needs children. The environment is designed to engender the development of personal responsibility, awareness of the needs of others, and the positive use of freedom through constructive activity and choices.

In the years from three to six a child’s purpose and only work is to develop him/herself as a personality and an identity (consciously and unconsciously) within his/her family and culture. In order to accomplish this task, each child has been given what Montessori calls, “The Absorbent Mind”. This is a quality, which only a young child has, to absorb the people, language and culture around him/her in order to create an identity and the ability to function within that culture. To do it optimally may be the most important accomplishment of a lifetime, because everything else in life is predicated upon it. Thus, the school focuses wholly on supporting the child in his/her great effort.

We concern ourselves moment by moment with those things that do matter to small children: sensitivity to their hearts; helping them make friends; being understood; skinned knees and slivers; kindness; missing Mommy; hunger, thirst, tiredness; bugs, birds, butterflies and worms; learning to read and count; dandelions and plants; our Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, the fish tank; their comfort, confusion, anger and upset and the training of their minds and manners. We concern ourselves with giving them a calm, structured, clean, beautiful, comfortable environment where they can be at peace and learn to concentrate. And, to that end we want to provide everything that is beautiful, uplifting, healthy, peaceful, positive and hopeful in food, dress, materials, words, books, music, behaviors and attitudes.

We believe that this innocent stage of development, the very beginning of a person’s life should be sacrosanct, protected, allowed to blossom from within from its innate root without the negative aspects of our culture, as much as possible. We also believe that children should NOT be burdened with the political persuasions, environmental concerns or problems of adults because they worry and are powerless to make changes. Therefore, we do not bring our personal political, environmental or other adult concerns into the classroom.

Yellowstone Montessori does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, ethnic or national origin in its admissions or other educational policies. The school’s policy is to promote a diverse community of children, parents and teachers who come from a variety of races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs. At various times since the school’s founding in 2007 students from France, Germany, Poland, Mexico and Kuwait have joined our classroom.