Where do children go after Children’s House?

Montessori children usually adapt very well to new school situations. They have learned to be independent problem-solvers who make decisions easily and therefore can adapt to new situations with confidence. They work well in groups or by themselves, and have developed good self-images that lead to success in future endeavors.

Our sister school, Berthold Academy for the Gifted and Talented, is an excellent choice to continue your child’s Montessori Education.  Located at 11480 Sunset Hills Road, just down the street from us, Berthold Academy is owned by Rodney Berthold, a Montessori educator in the Reston area for many years. From their website:

“Berthold Academy for the Gifted and Talented is an independent school serving elementary through middle school students.  Our educational philosophy not only is rooted in Montessori but also encompasses modern, progressive pedagogy, philosophy, and psychology.  We create a nurturing environment conducive to learning in which children have the opportunity to construct themselves in today’s society while also building emotional and spiritual relationships.  Students will be free and responsible to search for truth and meaning while respecting the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  Our learner outcomes will reflect academic excellence, creativity, and self confidence.”

We have a reciprocal agreement with our sister school, offering a 5% discount for the first year of attendance to families from Berthold Academy that enroll younger siblings with us, and 5% discount for the first year at Berthold Academy for our students that enroll in their school. 

Feel free to speak to us about Berthold Academy for the Gifted and Talented, or visit their website at http://www.bertholdacademy.com/. 

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Field Trips, Special Events, and Birthdays

We are a busy school community and there is always something to look forward to coming up on the calendar!

Family Events

We love having parents come into our school to enjoy activities and get to know the other parents and children.  The Fall Festival and the Spring Fling bring parents into the classroom to enjoy crafts or take a hike in our extensive woods behind the school, play on the playground, and eat pizza, of course.  Thanksgiving isn’t the same without a feast, complete with turkey and all the trimming, especially pumpkin pie.  We kick off the winter holidays with a musical program by the children singing songs, reciting poems, playing instruments, and dancing to fun holiday music.  One of our favorite events is Parent Day, when parents are invited to school for the morning to receive “lessons” from their children on all their favorite activities.  We share a pot luck meal of delicious foods from around the world.  Parents are welcome to bring their family’s special holiday traditions into the classroom where together we’ll create a learning experience for all. 

Field Trips 

Field trips are a wonderful way to enrich your child’s learning experience.  We schedule three school bus field trips for our kindergarteners each year.  To complement our Earthkeepers program, our first trip is to the Montgomery County Recycling Center.  The children get an in-depth look at the recycling process, the people and machines that do the work, and the large recycling trucks that collect and bring the recyclables to the recycling center.  Our second field trip is to see the play Charlotte’s Web at George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts.  We read the book in the weeks prior to the trip and then enjoy seeing the live performance of the story.  Our third trip is to the National Gallery of Art to see paintings by the artists we have studied all year.  The children are in awe of the beautiful Japanese Footbridge by Monet and the huge cutouts entitled Large Decoration with Masks by Matisse. It is definitely one of the highlights of the year.  Parents are welcome to join all the field trips. 

In-House Presentations

In addition to off-site field trips for Kindergarteners, we schedule in-house activities throughout the year such as puppet shows, Reptiles Alive, The Bat Lady, and a visit from Walker Nature Center.  We plan our in-house activities around our curriculum calendar to compliment what we are already learning in the classroom.  A unit of study on fish and oceans might be supplemented with a visit from Under the Sea, an educational outreach group that brings tanks with sea stars, seahorses, and even a puffer fish into our classroom for a closer look.  And a performance by an African drummer and storyteller is in order when we study the continent of Africa.  

Birthdays  

We love celebrating birthdays at Children’s House.  The birthday child is invited to bring a snack to share with the class on the chosen day and a poster made at home with a picture for each year of life and a few personal touches.  Parents may attend the birthday ceremony we call “Walk around the Sun.” where we share the poster, have the child walk around a wooden sun for as many times as they are old, and we will sing “Happy Birthday.”  We keep the celebration simple but special and the children look forward to their special day all year. 

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

The Virtues Project™

When you visit Children’s House Montessori School of Reston you’ll notice something that you won’t see at every school. Our children are respectful, kind, courteous, helpful, and thoughtful to one another and to the teachers. We often have parents come to observe and notice how peacefully the children all work together during the work cycle, what good manners they have during lunch time, how cooperatively they play together during outdoor recess, and how respectfully they treat the teachers. We believe that in addition to having wonderful families as part of our community, The Virtues Project™ and the intentional teaching of virtues to the children has made a significant difference in our classrooms.

Several years ago, we invited Dara Feldman to come in and share the Virtues Project™ with us. This initiative includes the “practice of virtues in everyday life” in hopes of “sparking a global revolution of kindness, justice, and integrity.” We thoroughly enjoyed working with Ms. Feldman and decided to implement the program in our school because we have seen first hand how “the Virtues Project™ empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring, and high performing learning communities…”

We use Virtue Cards that include one word, one virtue for the day. The card lists the definitions, examples, and affirmations for the word. We start by reading them aloud first thing in the morning and we read it again during circle time to teach the children the vocabulary of virtues. We also use the words in everyday interactions to teach the children to use the words with one another. We host family education nights on the topic of the Virtues Project to help our families to understand and integrate the language and use of virtues in their own homes. Finally, we find ways to integrate the themes into our curriculum as well.

We invite you use the virtues in your daily interactions and let us know what a difference it makes! Download your free copy of our mini guide, Virtues 101: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the Virtues at CHMS to get started!

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Our Gardening Program

Gardening with preschool to kindergarten-aged children can be a relaxing and enjoyable learning experience for all. At CHMS we have fall and spring gardening time broken down into one simple task each week so that it is fun and even our youngest helpers feel successful.  The children take pride in caring for the plants and animals living in our garden.

We incorporate our gardening program into our weekly Specials rotation. Once a week, the gardens are tended to in a variety of ways:

CLEANING/PRUNING:  Clean out the garden and do any required trimming. Trimmings are added to the compost bin.

PLANTING:  We include plant seedlings, vegetables, and herbs.  Child-sized gardening tools are provided to each child to promote independence and reduce accidents. 

MULCHING:  Prepping the gardens for winter and summer requires lots of mulch! The children love “putting the plants to bed” in the fall and making sure they stay well-hydrated in the spring.

WATER: We use small watering cans or beakers to help the children learn to control where they are pouring, keeping the water around the base of the plants rather than pouring it on top of the plants or flowers.  The children can water the plants while they are outside for playtime as well.  We fill a large bucket with water and the children know that they can use the beakers to transport water around the garden to the areas that need it.

FEEDING:  While working in the garden each week, we encourage responsibility by having the children to help take care of their habitat garden by rinsing out the water bowls, hummingbird feeders, and cleaning the bird food containers. We fill the feeders with fresh seed and enjoy watching a variety of visiting birds from our classroom windows as a result!

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Our Montessori Kindergarten Program

Unlike traditional public or private kindergarten programs, our Montessori curriculum is always tailored to each child’s needs. No child is held back in a reading or math group that may not fit their specific needs. He learns at his own pace, and with careful guidance from the teacher, will achieve at a level consistent with his capabilities.

Language and math are at the core of our kindergarten curriculum.  In language, the children progress through learning short vowels in the early years with us, and focus on long vowels and phonograms in kindergarten, leading to weekly reading of stories to volunteer parents. They participate in a writing class on a daily basis, learning how to form the letters and numbers correctly and taking mini “spelling tests.” Creative writing is related to our studies in science and geography and the three field trips we take each year. Math lessons include learning the numbers to 100, understanding the decimal system and performing the four mathematical operations with manipulatives, and lessons on time, money, measurement, temperature, and the calendar.   

Art appreciation is one of the favorite subjects in the kindergarten year. We explore periods of art history and specific artists throughout history through stories, games, and creative expression using a variety of media. For example, the children love painting the large “Japanese Footbridge” by Claude Monet, creating self portraits as did Vincent van Gogh, or painting a huge flower in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe. The year ends with a trip to the National Gallery of Art to enjoy the artists we have studied.  Click here to read more about our Kindergarten Art Program.

Our Kindergarten Art Program

One of the highlights of the kindergarten year here at CHMS is studying some of the great artists of the world.  The children truly love learning about art history and artists throughout the year. We have an entire hallway dedicated to their masterpieces, take a field trip to the National Gallery of Art to see the paintings first hand, and at the end of the year the children host a Kindergarten Art Show for parents to view their children’s accomplishments. It’s during the Art Show that parents realize just how much time and effort their children put into their art work…

We use a series of books called Getting to Know the Worlds Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia. Each book is about an individual artist, with details of their lives, pictures of his or her most famous works, and a few cartoons sprinkled throughout to add a little kid-humor. The children love these stories and learn so much about the artists in a fun way. We supplement these stories with others we have discovered over the years like The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein about the first artists, The King of Color about Henri Matisse, Suzette and the Puppy about Mary Cassatt, and Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail. We also share with the children a portfolio of post cards of the artists’ work to further tell the story of the artists. 

We begin the year learning about the first artists, cave painters, and functional art, anything that serves a purpose and has been decorated, such as vases or bowls.  We experiment with cave art by drawing animals “on the walls” and functional art by decorating tiles and frames.  We then begin our study of the lives and works of famous artists – some of whom are Johannes Vermeer (Golden Age), Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt (Impressionism), Vincent Van Gogh (Post-Impressionism), and Pablo Picasso (Cubism). We spend a month on each artist learning about their style of art and what makes them unique. We usually have three or four art projects where we try our hand at the artist’s unique style. The children gain a true appreciation for art throughout their kindergarten year, and we have as much fun with the studies as they do.  

Wrapping up the year, our field trip to The National Gallery of Art brings the artists alive. The children recognize and know the stories about many of the pieces that they see.  We plan activities around pieces that are currently on display and learn more about these paintings during our time there.  Monet is a regular favorite and seeing “The Japanese Footbridge” is always a highlight for the children. It is such a joy watching them so engaged and learning to love the world of art.

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Cultural Curriculum

There is so much to learn about our world! At Children’s House our cultural curriculum areas allow us to explore different countries and cultures, learn about a variety of animals, experiment with different art mediums, and make the world a more peaceful place.

Geography: Our geography studies begin with learning about the land, air, and water that covers our globe.  We then move on to study the World’s seven continents with globes and puzzle maps, cultural items from the continents, and opportunities for tasting foods, dancing to music, and enjoying folk tales. We try to understand the similarities and the differences in the way plants, animals, and people adapt to the ecosystem in which they live.

Science: Through observations, experimentation, and research, we explore the worlds of physical and natural science. Starting with the basics, we explore the concepts of living and non-living, plants and animals.  Then, in zoology we study the five types of vertebrate animals and the invertebrate world’s insects and arachnids. In botany we learn about trees, seeds, and flowers through gardening activities and observations on our playground. Our location at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is an accredited Backyard Wildlife Habitat as certified by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s a perfect place for walks by the stream and exploring nature.

Nature Studies: Maria Montessori said that “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” Reflecting her philosophy, our science and nature studies give the children a deep appreciation for our earth and everything in it. Our children’s garden, part of a setting certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Schoolyard Habitat, helps the children understand the cycles of life of plants and animals. From bulb or seed to flower, children plant and maintain the garden in both summer and winter. Food and water are put out for birds, chipmunks, and butterflies. Food scraps at lunchtime go into the compost bin and become soil for the garden. Worms found in all parts of the playground are carefully placed in the garden soil. Weekly nature walks in the surrounding woods provide an opportunity to see deer and hawks in their natural setting and to monitor the flow of the stream. We even have a bug catcher in the classrooms so insects that wander into our classroom can be safely returned to the outdoors. Through real contact with living things in nature, the children learn to share their world and live in harmony with all living creatures.

Art: The world of art is opened to the children through a comprehensive, process-oriented program. The easel is always available for mixing colors and self-expression. Concepts such as primary, secondary, complementary, cool and warm colors are taught with a variety of media available to the children. Art appreciation is introduced by a simple overview of the history of art, which is then brought to life by the study of individual artists and their work. The children enjoy learning about many famous artists through activities such as painting the famous Japanese Bridge by Monet or creating their own “cutouts” as did Matisse. These lessons culminate in the Kindergarten year with a trip to the National Gallery of Art for a look at “the real thing!” You can read more about our kindergarten art program here.

Peace Education: Our Peace Education program is one of the most important components of our curriculum. We understand that there is peace and goodness in every child, but not all children have the words and actions to give outward expression to their inner peace. We feel it is the responsibility of all the adults in our environment to encourage peaceful thoughts and actions, from the children and from each other. We use a program called The Virtues Project to incorporate intentional peaceful practice into our daily life at school. You can read more about The Virtues Project here.

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Montessori Core Curriculum

The core curriculum of a Montessori classroom consists of practical life, sensorial, math and language. These areas of the classroom have activities for all ages, and lay the foundation for learning throughout the child’s life.

Practical Life – Skills learned in this area of the classroom lay a foundation for the rest of the curriculum. We introduce socialization skills and the work cycle, and practice fine and gross motor skills. The lessons teach responsibility for oneself, others, and the environment. They encourage independence and promote the development of a sense of order. Some examples of these lessons are: spooning and pouring, scrubbing, polishing, sewing, food preparation, and grace and courtesy lessons.

Sensorial – These lessons sharpen the senses through comparing and contrasting activities, such as matching, grading, and sequencing objects.  Together, these activities form the foundation for mathematical, musical and scientific studies. Examples in the Sensorial area are: matching sounds or smells, matching or grading colors, grading by size, and learning plane and solid shapes.

Math – Lessons in this area begin with the very concrete and move to the more abstract. A variety of objects are manipulated to learn basic number concepts; place value is learned through manipulating the golden beads. Some examples are: sandpaper numerals for learning the symbols 1–9, the spindle box for understanding the concept of 0, the teens board and tens board for matching quantity and symbol, and the golden beads for understanding the decimal system and performing mathematical operations.

Language – Our language materials are phonetically based and will help your child develop the skills needed for verbal communication, reading and writing. Examples in this area include games that provide opportunities for speaking, sandpaper letters for learning the sounds of the alphabet, the movable alphabet for constructing words and sentences, many opportunities for reading, and metal insets of design for perfecting the pencil grip.

Additional Curriculum Areas (Geography, Science, Nature Studies, Art, and Peace Education)

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Summer Program

Children’s House offers a camp program for six weeks during the summer.  Daily activities such as cooking, movement, crafts, and outdoor water play are some of the fun things we have scheduled.  Our expansive, shady wooded playground is perfect for exploring nature and enjoying a relaxing summer.  We enjoy popsicles on hot days, cool off with Water Days, and generally just have a whole lot of fun outside!

Camp weeks are offered to our currently enrolled students first and then to new students who are enrolled for the coming school year. At this time, we are not able to accommodate children who are not enrolled in our regular program. 

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.

Aftercare Program

For families that need additional childcare after school hours (8:00am to 3:00pm), we offer an Aftercare Program that runs from 3:00 to 5:30pm. To participate in aftercare, students must be enrolled as a student at CHMS in our Full Day program*.

Aftercare is a Montessori-friendly extension of our school-day program. Children enjoy additional time on our playground, eat a school-provided snack, and participate in different games, crafts, and activities throughout the week. Our program is run by our Montessori teachers and assistants, which allows for continuity and consistency for the children in our care.

For part-day or school-day students who only need occasional aftercare, we can accommodate children on an as-needed basis for a small additional fee. Please talk to Cinthia about your needs when you come for a visit.

*We do not accept students from other school programs at this time.

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 703-481-6678 or use the email form below.