9:00am - 11:30am - Mindful Montessori Work Time
11:30am - 12:00pm - Circle/ StoryTime/
12:00pm - 12:30pm - Enrichment*
12:30pm - 1:00pm -Lunchtime & Pick-up
Schedule of Our Day
Enrichment for 2021 school year will be: Art, French, Music, Movement and Cultural Studies
“THE PREPARED ENVIRONMENT”
“The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience 'work.' Such Experience is not just play . . . it is work he must do in order to grow up." ~ Maria Montessori
Our preschool environment is designed to engage children in an inviting, charming, and inspirational way. It consists of an open-floor plan with an indoor and outdoor space filled with materials that Montessori educators call “jobs.” These jobs are presented in a clean and orderly manner in order to foster independence and focus.
Montessori Educators call this environment “The Prepared Environment.” The teachers prepare the environment so that the materials and activities are so inviting that children almost can’t help but want to explore, thus becoming self-driven.
In other educational settings, the job of the teacher is to teach and be the source of information. In the Montessori classroom, the job of the teacher is to maintain the environment inspiring and inviting so that, the environment itself, is the source of information.
“The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.” ~ Maria Montessori
The way in which the environment is prepared, encourages the children to explore so that they become more curious, resourceful, and learn a systematic way to figure things out.
The Practical Life section of the Montessori preschool classroom offers exercises and tasks that provide children the opportunity to master everyday "adult" activities, such as pouring, transferring, buttoning, sweeping, to name a few. Practicing conventional activities like these helps children gain independence and self-confidence, as well as develop fine motor skills, focus and concentration, personal pride, self-esteem, grace and courtesy.Through the Practical Life exercises, children experience firsthand the joy and satisfaction that comes from performing authentic, meaningful work, and they begin to see themselves as important contributors to the world around them. Through purposeful and fulfilling work, the Practical Life exercises prepare the child to manipulate the world through his/her hands.
The Sensorial curriculum is what we consider the heart of our classroom. Sensorial materials help train and refine the senses to absorb the world around us.The senses are a child's window to the world. It helps them become more aware of their surroundings and take in more information so that they can feel and enjoy all the small details that life has to offer.
Some of the brilliant materials developed by Dr. Montessori that we use are: the Color Tablets for matching and grading colors, the Pink Tower and Brown Stairs to learn spatial discrimination, the Tactile Tablets to refine the sense of touch, and the Smelling Bottles to refine the sense of smell, to name a few.
The Language section of the classroom prepares the child for both verbal and written communication. We have ample materials to aid in expanding vocabulary and categorization skills, which are the first steps in preparing children to communicate effectively and precisely. Linguistic categories, like rhyming, storytelling, opposites, and vocabulary forming nomenclature, are a few of our preliminary language exercises. We also have a wide range of reading and writing preparedness materials: the pink, blue, and green boxes used to explore phonetic reading and writing as well as Sight Words and nomenclature to help train the photographic absorption of language. The language materials help plant seeds for hands-on understanding of language mechanics while training the brain to file and categorize the information we absorb through our senses.
based on Dr. Montessori’s concept of “Cosmic Education,” which teaches the interconnectedness of all things. The Cultural curriculum provides the framework to explore our place within the universe, the earth, our continent, our country, state, city, community, then self. Then we are able to understand our role within the universe in order to care for it. Furthermore, self-awareness translates to awareness of others. We focus on self-care so that children can understand their own emotions and then can connect to others’ emotional experiences. Additionally, we learn details about other cultures, so that children are able to recognize that our differences are what make us the same. While we have different ways of expressing ourselves, we all have the same needs (to communicate, to celebrate, to mourn, to eat, for example.) It is through knowledge and instilling curiosity that we set the foundation for kind, respectful and meaningful contributors to the world. As Dr. Montessori said herself: “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankindAt Greenleaf Mindful Montessori Preschool, Cultural Studies, is our communal heart beat!
Montessori math is designed to help children comprehend the fundamentals of our number system on a deep level. Like other aspects of the Montessori experience, mathematical elements are presented to the children in a visual and tactile manner. Children learn to recognize and understand numerals and quantities as practical elements; through materials like the Number Rods and Spindle Boxes. They are allowed to experience and feel comfortable with these concrete materials before learning about more abstract math problems. The Decimal System is introduced through the beautiful golden beads and is used to explore the abstract world of mathematics through a concrete experience.
During most of the day our program is catered to an individual, hands-on experience. In order to have an opportunity to balance individual work with group activities, we have a daily hour allocated to a combination of circle time and enrichment. During this time we may bring up a topic for discussion, we may problem-solve classroom issues, or read a story, thus offering opportunities to interact as a group. Additionally, as part of a shared experience and group activity, a specialty teacher joins daily for half hour enrichment classes. These include a rotation of: foreign languages, art, music, yoga, drama, movement, to name a few. We also offer a supplemental Spanish language track.
Furthermore, through our enrichment program we call upon not just the child’s individual creativity, but the inspiration and fulfillment in the process of collective creativity.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have” ~ Maya Angelou
The Gift of the Outdoor Classroom
Our garden has been created as part of our flowing environment. Our Science curriculum is based on natural science as we study what we can see: our garden, cycles of life, parts of animals, and animal classification, for example.
Our outdoor environment helps us explore freely with all of our senses and experience an interactive natural environment.
We have several areas of development, like:
The Nature Center: designed for exploring and caring for our garden.
The Flower Cutting Garden: Children can interact with the flowers, grow them, cut them, dry them, press flowers to feel first-hand our connectivity with nature.
The Art Center: An area designed for endless possibilities to explore art, artists, mediums, styles, and personal creativity with Process Based invitations and experiments.
Sensory Tables and a Sandbox: Self regulation areas that provide opportunities for open-ended play and socialization. Also great for sensory integration.
The A-MAZE-ing Mindful Maze: a magical loop of discovery as children walk the maze, care for the maze, discover the objects in the maze and incorporate the maze in walks for self-care and discovery.
The outdoor classroom is a world of connection to nature and to self.
Ready to join the Greenleaf Family?
If you love what we are about, apply now to save your spot!
Frequently Asked Questions
We have a community of like-minded parents who are looking for an engaging, loving, warm, safe, and attentive environment for their children. Our community activities are purposeful and involve the children in all its facets. Here are some questions parents have asked us before:
What age must my child be to start? 2.5 years old for the school program. 2.5 is also our recommendation for the online program.
Does my child have to be potty trained to start? No. Per Montessori principles, we follow the cues and needs of each individual child. We help you through potty training, we do not want this to be stressful.
How do you handle the transition into your school, do parents come to school with the kids in the beginning until they are used to it? We treat this transition with as much trust, care, and mindfulness as we treat everything else in our school. Before your child begins, it is ideal if they participate in the Parent and Me program when it is available. They can also do our online 12-week program from home., This way, by the time they are of age to start, they can walk into the space independently. Since, we have built a child-led environment, it is important that they find ownership of it right away. So no, we do not have parents in the classroom while our new students transition. We follow an individual approach and as such we build a transition schedule for each child/family. This could mean that we either slowly work up to a full day, or do a quick drop-off with confidence. It all depends on your child and your comfort level.
How do you handle discipline? The simple answer to a more complex theme is, individually. We have a non-punitive, non shaming policy around discipline (or as we would rather call it, regulation.) We love the “Whole Brain Child” (Book by Daniel J. Siegal and Tina Payne Bryson) and borrowing their phrase, we “Connect and Redirect.” When there is an emotional dis-regulation (in other words, the child is “acting out”) we look for the reason behind the behavior. We believe that all feelings are valid and when a child is having a “Big Feeling,” we 1) Connect to the child and acknowledge this feeling, 2) Help the child regulate by redirecting 3) We address is rationally. Often we will read at circle time a book that may parallel the situation that this child went through earlier in order to address the issue without shaming.
Is it true that Montessori is very rigid? No, Montessori lends to a very organized environment with clear boundaries. Our activities are meant for free exploration but are presented very simply to help the child have freedom within limits.
Is is true that in Montessori schools children can do whatever they want ? There is a beautiful freedom that happens in a Montessori school. By principle, the program is based on free choice of purposeful activity. If a child is being destructive or disconnected, the teacher gently helps the child re-direct.
Is Greenleaf Academic or Play Based? We are both! We believe that work is play and play is work. We call our toys “materials” and our activities, “jobs.” We offer extensive academic (learning) opportunities, as Dr. Montessori teaches us that the 3-6 year old experiences one of the most absorbent periods in child development. We expose children to Math, Language, Science, Cultural Studies, so that the child can exercise their growing brain through their interaction of the materials. We work on expanding skill sets such as attention span, focus, and motor control. We have an extensive array of materials that exercise the senses, as well as sensory tables, a sandbox, a dirt pit, and gardening. We work on Care of Self and Care of Others as a very important “jobs” and have lots of Open-ended materials for social interactions and problem solving skills. We strive for a balance between open play/exploration and more structured activity.
Can Parents Volunteer? During COVID-19 times, no; but normally, we highly encourage parents to volunteer. While you have to be trained in Montessori to handle working with the materials and managing the classroom flow, we have ample volunteering opportunities, that are not within Mindful Montessori Work time. We have many community events that need parent volunteers. We have projects during which parents can get involved. We encourage parents to share their special talents with us within our enrichment program. Finally we have a cultural curriculum, in which parents are an intricate part of.
What are your fees?
For the preschool, we charge 12-installments of $1,600 or $19,000 for the year. For the Online Program $600 for the 12-week Intro to Montessori. Parent and Me Program we charge $240 per month (currently closed due to COVID-19) For one-on-one Consulting
We love Miss Vanessa SO much!! She is amazing in so many ways. My son had a hard time transitioning to a school where he didn't know any of the kids or teachers. Miss Vanessa is such a Mama Bear. She'd hold him and hug him and sit and work with him every day until he was comfortable enough to come out of his shell. I felt good about leaving him each day knowing she was there to comfort him. Now he is a confident boy who talks up a storm and loves school. Miss Vanessa's creative side brings everything the kids do to another level. The school plays she directs and coordinates are so impressive, it takes my breath away every time. Her expertise and talents in art, drama, dance and songwriting makes her even more extra special. We cannot say enough good things!!
Our first impression of Greenleaf made us feel safe, comfortable and excited. We saw how our children became more independent thinkers while playing and also while communicating their thoughts and feelings.The staff is great. They are patient, consistent and kind to our children. We love to witness the respect and regard our children have for them. We usually say how it’s the best school we found for our children. We witnessed our children become more independent and self reliant when we switched them to GLMM.
Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego
Greenleaf is A serene environment setup for little ones with a meaningful attention to detail. I believe my son has an advanced emotional vocabulary and I attribute that to what is reinforced at school. This is a special and ideal preschool for introducing a little one to school.
We are so happy to have found Greenleaf and are grateful to you every day!
After touring the various schools we felt that Greenleaf had a wonderful balance between open play/exploration and more structured activity, which again, we thought would be best for our kids.I remember thinking that the physical environment was so charming and inviting, like a secret garden oasis. I also remember thinking that all the kids seemed so happy and engaged with what they were doing. Our family has been so happy with Greenleaf! The experience has been incredibly rewarding both for our kids and also for us as parents. Moreover, now that we have one child in Kindergarten, we can see how well Greenleaf has prepared our daughter for her future in education.
When I walked into Greenleaf, I was impressed with how many different spaces existed, the outdoor parts of the classroom, and the maze!
Greenleaf is a warm, beautiful community with a pedagogical approach that is extremely rewarding for children. The students are able to explore and engage in the world while also develop themselves socially and emotionally
We looked at quite a few preschools when touring, and many seemed fine, but there was often an element of chaos with no clear approach. When we walked into Greenleaf there was an Immediate feeling of quiet, peaceful and focused attention, but with a bit of fun and magic. It felt special and unique, unlike anything we'd witnessed at other schools. Our daughter is learning so much about her emotions, her body, her breath and her mind. Her attention and awareness have been nurtured. We see evidence of both academic and emotional growth every day. We feel very fortunate to have found such a special place. It felt like the right choice immediately after our tour, and now our experience at Greenleaf has reaffirmed our decision.
GLMM is a wonderful, small Montessori school that puts on incredible shows and does fun units (Worldfest, etc) that Nolan loves. When we first toured Greenleaf, I was impressed with how many different spaces existed, the outdoor parts of the classroom, and the maze! When it comes to Montessori + Mindfulness, Nolan reminds us and himself to breathe and be present. He will put “mindful stickers” on us and himself and uses mindfulness and awareness of his feelings to work through issues. We are very thankful that we found this school!
The Maliska Family
We love Miss Vanessa and all the other teachers at this school. This school provides such a warm and nurturing environment to both children and parents. My girls are growing up to be caring, loving, independent and confident individuals. The educators at this school pay so much attention to the development of each and every child. The art projects, summer/winter shows and the learning curriculum at this school are phenomenal!
“Greenleaf is like a magical place that you have to go see!”