Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Month 8 School of the Day: HAVEN MONTESSORI SCHOOL

-Ross Altenbaugh

True story: I MOVED to Flagstaff so I could send my kids to Haven Montessori. *Full disclosure my sister (and co-founder of 48 Months!) is the Executive Director at this adorable little mountain school in Northern Arizona. So I am definitely biased but this is all still true! 

Haven is this amazing place where children (from six weeks to sixth grade) can truly learn to be respectful, thoughtful, and intentional little human beings. The heart of Haven is centered around Dr. Maria Montessori’s method of valuing the whole child including the emotional, physical and social development of the human spirit. My sister won’t love that I am about to curse on her blog, but this is my post so who cares (am I right?): HOLY SHIT THIS SCHOOL CARES ABOUT MY BABY’S HUMAN SPIRIT. 

Cue the waterworks. 

On the first day that we took our 15 month-old Abraham, my oldest and only at the time, to school I was very nervous. Ms. Beth (aka the Toddler Whisperer) was standing and greeting each friend as they came in the classroom. All of the kids were changing into their indoor slippers and beginning a “challenging work” in the classroom. What do I mean by a challenging work you ask? You know - typical stuff all babies do at 12 months. Things like flower arrangement, washing a table, washing dishes, or squeegeeing a window. Was Haven creating the next generations of Flagstaff’s janitor population? No! The classroom had been strategically designed to encourage the children to CHOOSE works that interested them as people. Each of those enjoyable “works” helped these little people improve things like their motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and fostered peer learning. Simply fascinating. 

And even though I didn’t think Abraham was big enough to do those things on his own or do anything independently really (after all he was a baby in my eyes), he proved me wrong. He fit right in to the classroom community and it was not but a few days that my child was sitting with friends in his own chair eating lunch unassisted. 

You see, that is what Haven does. They consistently create an environment for your child to amaze you. And that just keeps happening as both of my children grow at Haven. They learn from the older kids while helping teach the younger children. After all, isn’t that how it is supposed to be? 

All I know is that our current political situation would look very different if our President had been able to learn at a place like Haven Montessori.

For more information about Haven Montessori, please visit www.havenmontessori.org!

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