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Educational Philosophy

Centennial Montessori School was formed with the sole purpose of creating an exemplary program dedicated to assist the individual child in their quest to reach their full potential. As part of this mission, we trust in the child's innate desire to become more than he currently is and we see our role as providing a loving guide to help that child follow his natural inclinations and engage in an environment specifically tailored to his passionate quest to understand his world.

The most important aspect of our program is our faculty because it is through our teachers, their nurturing relationships, and a true understanding of the child that each child is able to have the confidence to reach out to the environment. Observation is a cornerstone of our program because it is only when an adult truly knows a child that he can create a bridge between the child and the world she wants to know. Our teaching environment also provides a microcosm of the world. The child grows up exposed to the major world languages and the customs, celebrations, music and art unique to each. In this way we quite concretely offer the children the world.

Curriculum and Environment
We truly believe that in her natural state, the small child's most passionate desire is to understand the world and it is therefore our responsibility to present the world in a way that the young person feels empowered and excited by the process of discovery. To that end, our program is founded on the AMI Montessori philosophy and we supplement this with an opportunity to gain exposure to the major world languages through a bilingual program (Spanish/English or Mandarin/English). We also see our role as a partnership between family, community and the child. Further, a healthy child is one who feels grounded in his family, school, and community. We work towards this connection through our community participation model, parent nights, conferences, and open communication with families.

Montessori Philosophy

The Montessori philosophy was developed by the first female Italian physician, Dr. Maria Montessori through scientific observation of children from many countries and every socioeconomic class. Her method has been supported by psychologists, educators, and cognitive researchers throughout the last 100 years and her understanding of the developing child has formed a foundation for the work of many developmental scientists including: Jean Piaget, Anna Freud, Erik Erickson, and T. Berry Brazelton.

Though many are impressed with the academic preparation of children leaving a Montessori primary class, the true effect of a Montessori education is much more basic. For the last 100 years, the Montessori method has proven successful in developing the whole child and works not to simply transmit knowledge, but to follow the child in his passionate desire to become more than he is. Montessori children become lifelong learners who are truly excited by every facet of the world. In a Montessori school, the individual is honored and respected. By supporting the child's natural unfolding of self through the prepared environment and respectful direction, the teacher assists life itself thereby promotes peace and the true potential of man.

World Language Exposure

At Centennial, we believe that the benefits to learning a second language are much more powerful than simply being able to communicate. Research has shown us that learning a second language before five years old greatly develops the child's cognitive potential. Further, the bilingual program creates children who are respectful of cultural differences and at the same time cognizant of the unity of man. In a sense, they have grown up in a second culture and are thus able to generalize this understanding to the larger community of man.

We incorporate language into the classroom by using two teachers (in addition to our Montessori teacher) who only speak the target language (one speaks Mandarin and one speaks Spanish) in the morning program. This exposes the child to the language and culture and forms a basis for comprehension. We also offer an afternoon immersion program where daily activities (i.e. cooking, gardening, and art) are conducted in Mandarin or Spanish. For those parents wishing to gain speaking, writing and reading fluency for their children, we offer afternoon tutoring and small group instruction.

We have selected Mandarin and Spanish because along with English, the vast majority of the Earth's inhabitants speak one of these languages. In addition, Mandarin is a tonal language and Spanish is a romance language. Thus major linguistic varieties of language form are represented and form a foundation for later study. Finally, these three languages are present on five of the seven continents which allows us to quite literally bring the world to the classroom.

Community Participation Model

We believe that peace begins in the individual and is founded in that first contact of the centered individual with his immediate community. We strive to create whole individuals who accept as part of the normal course of their life the responsibility for caring for others. At Centennial, we promote this vision in the classroom through the mixed age group which fosters a true sense of community and many opportunities to help. We then extend that service to others into the local community with a program that every child has the opportunity to participate in planning and carrying out. In the future we hope to extend this program internationally to create a children-helping-children model of world involvement through partnerships with other Montessori schools around the world.

For more information on our Academic Philosophy, please click here.

Centennial Montessori School is committed to providing an environment free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and disrespectful or other similar conduct based on, but not limited to, race, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions), color, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver's license issued under Vehicle Code section 12801.9), ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, sexual orientation, military and veteran status or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law or ordinance or regulation. It also prohibits discrimination, harassment, disrespectful or unprofessional conduct based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. In addition, Centennial Montessori School prohibits retaliation against individuals who raise complaints of discrimination or harassment or who participate in investigations. If you (as a student, family member or staff member) believe you have been harassed or discriminated against (by a staff member, community member or student), immediately contact the Head of School at 650-340-1230 or kristi@centennialmontessori.org.

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