“The beauty of Montessori education is that it takes into consideration the whole child,” said Keystone founder Vicki Shea. “The physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of children are nurtured with their academic development and each child is respected as an individual with unique abilities.”
Montessori education is based on the teachings of Maria Montessori. From her observations of the natural development of children, she believed that a child’s independence, self-esteem and love of learning could flourish with guidance from a properly trained teacher.
Keystone has a class for two-year olds, primary classes for 3-6 year olds, junior and senior elementary classes for 6-12 year olds, and a middle school. There are also parent/infant classes. One hallmark of Montessori education is grouping together children of different ages. “The mixed age classrooms allow students of all ages to benefit from each other,” says Katie Shea, current Director of Keystone. “The younger children have older peers to model themselves after. The older students develop compassion and patience working with younger students.”
Children learn by working with specially designed ‘materials’ in an age-appropriate, developmentally designed environment that stimulates the senses and encourages exploration. The children are busy, each doing something either individually or in small groups. In one primary classroom a three-year old is mopping the floor, and a five-year old is counting with a bead chain. In the elementary classroom a student is researching snakes and nearby, a group of students is analyzing the grammar of a sentence with the teacher. “Maria Montessori developed materials, classrooms, and a curriculum that lights the fire of lifelong learning in students” says Shea.
Keystone is proud of its consistently high academic achievement and on helping children become well-rounded, responsible citizens. Keystone Montessori, 7415 W. North Ave., River Forest, is holding an Open House on Wednesday, June 28, 4:30–6:30pm. You can also call 708-366-1080 to schedule a tour/observation.