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Montessori Community School (MCS) is an independent, non-sectarian school for children ages two through twelve years (toddlers through elementary sixth grade). We are accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS).  MCS is a member of HAIS and the Hawaii Council of Private Schools (HCPS).  In addition, the school is licensed by the Hawaii Department of Human Services (Two Year Old, Preschool, and Elementary After-School Care programs) and the HCPS (Elementary programs).  Montessori Community School will proudly celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2012.

In 2001, MCS was awarded a full six-year term of accreditation by HAIS and was awarded re-accreditation by HAIS in 2006.  MCS was also awarded accreditation in 2006 by the American Montessori Society (AMS), and is the first Montessori school on Oahu to receive AMS accreditation.

We are conveniently located in the residential neighborhood of Makiki, just five minutes from the University of Hawaii and five minutes from downtown Honolulu.

If you are interested in applying to MCS, application forms may be found in the Admissions section. They may be downloaded and mailed to our Admissions Office. The application fee of $50.00 must accompany the completed application form in order to be processed.

Our purpose is to educate children two to twelve years old through a non-sectarian, Montessori program which nurtures a lifelong enthusiasm for learning, encourages a commitment to the community, and fosters a stewardship of the natural world.

As a member of the American Montessori Society, our approach is to design an environment that is attractive, orderly, and arranged with Montessori materials and developmentally-appropriate activities.  Within this prepared environment, the child learns through active engagement with the materials and by making choices. The teacher carefully observes and guides the child in the process of discovery and learning.

Montessori Community School values and seeks to nurture in children:

Development of the spirit by promoting:
* Caring and compassion
* Respect and honesty
* Independence, autonomy, and confidence

* Liberty with limits
* Self-direction, self-discipline, and personal responsibility

* Intrinsic motivation
* Ability to cope with changes
* Curiosity and wonder for life

Academic preparedness by facilitating:
* Use of concrete experiences that lead to abstract thought

* Competency in reading, writing, and mathematics
* Physical development and healthful practices
* Effective communication skills
* Joy in learning
* An understanding of and appreciation for the natural world
* An appreciation of the commonalities and uniqueness of people and cultures
* An understanding of cycles and systems, and the interconnectedness of life
* Imaginative, creative, and critical thinking
* The process of abstract thought
* Goal-setting and problem-solving
* Appreciation of and participation in the arts

Social responsibility by encouraging:
* Care for others and the environment
* Positive contribution to the community
* Peaceful solutions to conflict

Montessori Community School was founded as Katrice Educational School in 1972 on the grounds of the First Christian Church on Liholiho Street in Makiki. Started as a preschool to accommodate the special needs of a child, Patricia Weber, with Down Syndrome, the school grew to include children from around the island with wide-ranging abilities and backgrounds. In 1982 the school name was changed to Montessori Community School to emphasize our vision of an educational experience that involves people and resources in the community as well as the community of children, parents, and teachers. The individual classrooms can be viewed as a model community of growing citizens.

The Elementary program originated with one 6-9 class (grades 1-3) which grew in numbers until the commitment to create a 9-12 class (grades 4-6) was made in 1981. In the fall of 1987, MCS expanded its programs again to meet the increasing demand for quality child care at the toddler ages with our first toddler class, consisting of two-year olds. Our growing programs found a home on our Nehoa Street campus which opened in the spring of 1988.

In 1988 Montessori Community School was proud to have two of its teachers recognized by the Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children (HAEYC) for their outstanding accomplishments and abilities in their respective fields of teaching. Former MCS teacher Yvette Perreira Lewis was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award in the Toddler Division. Jerry Mueller received the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Primary (grades 1-3) level.

In 1989 Susan Siebert, who had served as the Executive Director of MCS for 13 years, moved to the mainland. Patsy Tom, then the Assistant Director, took over in the leadership role as the Head of School.

In 1993 the informal network of parents was formally organized into the Parent Faculty Organization (PFA). MCS celebrated its 35th anniversary during the 2007-2008 school year. In 1999-2000 it began the process for accreditation with the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) and was awarded full accreditation in 2001.  In 2006, MCS was re-accredited by HAIS, and also awarded accreditation by the American Montessori Society (AMS).

Montessori Community School continues its search for its own permanent campus. The consolidation of the campuses in 1999 to the present site on Nehoa Street was a step towards that goal. As the success and recognition of the staff and programs earn more prominence in the community, the staff of MCS feel closer than ever to that goal.

Montessori Community School is a not-for-profit organization as defined under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the school and holds in trust the school’s future. It is also the guardian of the school’s integrity or reputation within the community.

The Board selects the Head of School and delegates the administration of the school to the Head of School. In collaboration with the Head of School, the Board establishes the school’s long-range plans, mission, and general policies. The Board manages the school’s assets and ensures there are sufficient resources to support the school’s programs. Finally, the Board organizes and manages itself to fulfill its duties to the school. Members of the school community may recommend prospective candidates to the Board’s Committee on Trustees. The Board elects its own members.

Montessori Community School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school administered programs.

Maria Montessori was born in Italy on August 31, 1870. She was born to a well-respected family and was expected to grow up to fulfill the traditional role of the Italian woman. Instead she pursued an advanced degree at the University of Rome and became the first woman physician to graduate in Italy. Her interests drew her to work with children, initially those who were disadvantaged and had special needs.

As a scientist, Montessori's decisions about working with children were made by observing them first. She was not trained as an educator and thus her decisions were based upon watching what children did and what they were attracted to. Through her observations and trial and error, she developed what became known as the Montessori Method of education. It was a radical departure in Montessori's own time. She did not place children in restricting environments, but instead designed the environment to reflect the children. Tables and chairs were child-sized and materials were placed on low shelves to be readily accessible to the students. In addition, many of the skills were designed to teach children how to become more independent and do things for themselves.

Montessori continued throughout her life to work for the betterment of the lives of children, founding training centers for teachers and dispersing this philosophy of education throughout the world. Having survived two world wars, her focus in her later years became centered around educating children to promote the principles of peace. Her legacy has been the establishment of Montessori schools around the world, which promote the cause of the child as a citizen of the world.

Montessori education is a philosophy and method of education for children from birth through age 18. It is based upon principles developed by Dr. Maria Montessori throughout her life.

The method is the development of materials, educational techniques, and observations which support the natural development of children. The teacher in a Montessori classroom serves less as an "instructor” and more as a guide and facilitator. Children are encouraged to "learn how to learn,” thus gaining independence and self-confidence. Because the method is based upon developmentally appropriate activities, the child often learns through the process of education-by-doing.

The Montessori school is designed to accommodate various stages of development in children which occur in roughly 3-year cycles. Because the child goes through these various stages, Montessori classrooms are organized into 3-year age groupings. This allows a greater flexibility in meeting each child's individual needs and permits the child to develop with fewer social transitions. The environment becomes the "teacher,” with the child as the initiator of his/her own education. The teacher then becomes the link between the environment and the child.

Birth to 3 Years of Age -
The child is absorbing directly from the environment, almost as a sponge. It is during this phase that many language and motor skills are acquired without formal instruction.

3 to 6 Years of Age - The child reaches a different stage in which repetition and manipulation of the environment are critical to the development of concentration, coordination, independence, and a sense of order. The child learns skills for everyday living by sorting, grading, classifying — all of which lead to the development of writing, reading, and a mathematical mind.

6 to 9 Years of Age - When the child reaches the next phase of development, the imagination of the child is the key to learning. At this age there is an increasing awareness of the world and an interest in its wonders. The classroom can now excite the child by using this increased imagination to explore the universe. During this phase the child is presented with "the big picture,” an overview of the interrelatedness of things. The curriculum works from the large concept to the more specific. Concepts are introduced through hands-on materials which encourage and engage the child and assist in an understanding of concepts before they are committed to memory.

9 to 12 Years of Age - As the child enters the next phase, the world is an ever-expanding place. The horizons of the imagination increase and concepts may be presented and abstracted with fewer manipulative materials. The students' hands-on activities broaden in scope and include practical application outside the classroom. Projects become more involved and diverse in nature.

The Montessori approach to education was re-introduced in the United States around 1960. By today's estimates, there are at least 4,800 Montessori schools in the country, serving some 400,000 children from infancy through secondary levels, in both public and private settings.

Special training is required to become a Montessori teacher. Montessori teacher education is available in almost 100 institutions located throughout the U.S. and an additional number in other countries of the world, in both special-purpose institutions and college/university settings. Here in Hawaii, Chaminade University offers a Montessori Teacher Training program. An organization formed in 1991, the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), offers an accreditation process for Montessori teacher preparation courses and is supported by nine Montessori professional organizations and a group of independent training programs.

(The sections on Maria Montessori and Montessori Education are courtesy of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education; 17583 Oak Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708-4549; (714)968-0107.)

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Montessori Community School
1239 Nehoa Street   |   Honolulu, HI 96822-3071
Telephone (808) 522-0244   |   Fax (808) 522-0250

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