Advertiser Three Tree Montessori School invites parents and kids to their Open House Saturday, November 13th from 10am – Noon. Three Tree Montessori School is located in Burien at 220 SW 160th, near Sylvester Middle School.
Come view the beautiful classrooms, gardens and playgrounds, meet the teachers, and learn about Montessori programs for children ages one through twelve.
Have you driven down SW 160th Street and wondered what was going on behind those whimsical columns? That warm ochre and brick colored building is the home of Three Tree Montessori School, a rich and vibrant community that supports the fundamentally unique education principals of Maria Montessori. Montessori is a time-tested, science based approach to education, designed to nurture the whole child.
It can be tough to navigate school choices for your child. Why choose Montessori? Because Montessori emphasizes hands-on learning, children are able to achieve mastery more quickly and easily, and multi-sensory, self-guided learning is the optimal way to support brain development. So, what makes Three Tree Montessori School an authentic Montessori environment? TTMS is committed to the original ideas of the Montessori process through following the principals supported by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). AMI was founded by Dr. Montessori herself in 1929 and is dedicated to preserving the integrity of Maria Montessori’s method, teacher training, and curriculum.
Each teacher at Three Tree Montessori School is accredited by AMI. AMI-trained teachers ensure that the school is focused on the individual child’s potential, giving the child hands-on experiences that nurture the love of learning. The Montessori Method emphasizes collaboration, self-expression, and self-motivation in a beautifully prepared learning environment that fosters respect, peace and joy.
To give you an idea of what the Three Tree Montessori School is like, here’s a slideshow of photos:
Almost every Thursday morning of the school year, Three Tree Montessori School welcomes interested parents and the community to schedule a time to observe in the classroom environment.
We recently spent time viewing Three Tree’s students at work. It wasn’t like any classroom we knew of, being products of public school, but it was fascinating and worth explaining to our readers who are interested in public school alternatives.
I was paired with an anxious mother from West Seattle who needed to watch her 1-1/2 year old son in his first week in class (he was doing much better than Mom!).
Montessori divides classes by the age and needs of the individual child, not by school year timelines. The Toddler Program includes children aged 1 (and walking) to 3. There are two toddler classes with 12 students in each class guided by a Montessori-trained teacher and an assistant. Students may stay half day or full day.
The Toddler environment is charming to see; with toddler- sized furniture, tools and instruments, made primarily of natural and beautiful materials. The room is conceived as an extension of the home and is designed to meet the needs of the child, fostering independence, motor coordination and language acquisition. This is where young children experience their first structured contact with other children. We observed tea parties, biscuit-baking and sweeping all performed with age-appropriate tools.
Next we were off to the Primary Program for ages 3 to 6. We observed one of three primary classes. There is a teacher, an assistant, and a support staff. One of the basic tenets of Montessori theory is the multi-age classroom. Here students learn practical life, sensorial, cultural, math, language activities and of course, outdoor play. The materials, here too, are beautiful and hands-on. Kinesthetic learning is a basic building block in this world. There isn’t a desk in sight; instead there are chairs, bookshelves, and tables that are sized appropriately. Many of the children were using floor mats, studying math and geography working in groups or individually, with the older students mentoring the younger. We noted how quiet it was as they were engaged at their own pace.
Finally we were welcomed into the Elementary classroom for ages 6-12. Yes, welcomed. Two girls (class greeters) welcomed us and offered tea. Students were working in small groups. Elementary children are noted for their questioning minds and their imaginations. The ability to reason is at its greatest capacity in the child of this age. The elementary classroom is designed to be the stepping-off point into the universe. The study of language includes writing, reading and oral expression. Math includes arithmetic, geometry and algebra (and we’re talking little kids learning this stuff!). Once again, all this learning is done on the floor or at tables.
After our tours of the classrooms were complete, we toured the gardens. Outdoor education is as important as indoor education at Three Tree Montessori School. Each age group has a spacious garden area planted just outside the classroom. We see tidying, watering, and harvesting. Elementary Students tend to their own garden, but Friday mornings are set aside for Marra Farm, a non-profit urban community farm promoting sustainable agriculture and education that donates tons of fresh produce to local residents.
Service to the community is clearly an important aspect of the curriculum. Over the years, the children of Elementary have raised money for a Montessori school in Kenya, organized food drives for Northwest Harvest, participated in gift drives for the non-profit organization Baby Boutique, and held a clothing drive for a local family who lost all their belongings in a fire. The Montessori tradition is to guide each child in constructing themselves as a full human being. Even the very youngest children here are subtly taught the importance of their contributions to themselves and society.
Our visit opened our eyes to the many possibilities for education in our neighborhood. Go and check out Three Tree Montessori School at their Open House on November 13th. You may find yourself somewhat nostalgic for strict rows of desks and old-fashioned spelling B’s, but you will be truly delighted by what you do find.
For more information about Three Tree Montessori School, please contact the school office at (206) 242-5100, or visit their website.