The primary objective of The Children’s Center is to create an environment in which children acquire the tools of their culture while encouraging their sense of initiative. Each of the adults in the environment acts as a guide, bringing the child into contact with the world in which he or she lives and the tools by which each learns to adapt to this world. The child’s total development, as well as the progress toward self-discipline, are carefully guided by the adults. The mutual respect of student and guide is an important factor in this process.
Children work in a group composed of individuals of various ages, abilities, cultures and economic backgrounds. With the exception of group lessons, children are not divided into age groupings, in the belief that they should have the opportunity to interact with others based upon interests and levels of ability.
Our program is designed to enhance each child’s total development: physical, intellectual, social and emotional. Creativity and flexibility in preparing the environment, and planning daily activities help to insure that each child will progress in a way most suited to his or her individual abilities, interests and readiness.
A play corner within the classroom, the gym and the playground, as well a special activities, provide daily structured and unstructured physical activities.
Intellectual growth is encouraged by providing a wide range of materials easily accessible to the child and many opportunities for discovery in the open classroom as well as in group lessons. The Montessori materials and our approach to intellectual development are described in detail on the enclosed pages.
We find that social skills evolve naturally in a relaxed, conversational atmosphere. Good behavior is modeled by adults and children alike. The thoughtful guidance by adults, and the non-competitive setting encourage children to become increasingly self-disciplined, to be considerate of one another, to be respectful of their surroundings, and to take responsibility for themselves and others as they mature.
To have an emotionally content child requires a combination of many things. A strong, supportive family is certainly the base of this. Having a flexible program that allow for physical activities as needed, intellectual stimulation and a relaxed social atmosphere are important as well. The pleasure of play and the love of work through meaningful activities help children become confident in their own abilities. Even the smallest successes (social, academic or physical) contribute greatly to the healthy emotional state of a child. Encouragement from others and the mutual respect of the child and the adults are important factors in this process. By providing an inviting, stimulation environment, and a staff of supportive, caring teachers, we hope to help each child be emotionally happy and secure.
It is our goal that our children leave us with some very special characteristics: a love of work and play and a genuine joy of learning, friendships that will endure for many years and a natural ability to be a good friend to others, confidence in what they do and enthusiasm for what lies ahead, a good understanding of the lives of other people and an appreciation of the differences. Good basic skills to succeed in future learning situations, loyalty and respect of other, and the patience, willingness and courage to change and adapt as they encounter new situations.
The Children’s Center Montessori School was founded in 1971 by John and Elaine Rademacher. Gretchen Harkins (Director & Teacher), daughter of John & Elaine, has been teaching full-time since 1991 and has been a Director since 2002. Sonja Olson has been teaching full-time with beginning in 2013 and has over 10 years of previous teaching experience. Hannah Longley is a part-time teacher and Children's Center Alumni. She is also our current Language and Music teacher. Gretchen has been trained as a teacher since she was 6 years old and is Montessori certified (NAMC*).
The Pre-school and Kindergarten program are available to children between the ages of thirty-three months and six years of age on a half-day or full-day basis, including extended hours between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. It is a five-day per week program, with the exception of holidays, operating on a school year basis. Our maximum enrollment is 30 children per session, and we must limit enrollment to within a 36-month age span. Minimally there is at least one staff member for ten children. We mandate that children are under our supervision at all times. We are a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, licensed by the State of Minnesota Human Services Department (651-296-3971). The Children’s Center admits children of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students.
*North American Montessori Center