Mission & Philosophy
MMS is committed to inspiring a life-long passion for learning in every student.
Founded in 1966, MMS is an independent preschool that blends Montessori philosophy with current Early Childhood practices to incite young minds as they make connections from the concrete to the abstract. Through our philosophies, children are encouraged to learn from each other and to pursue knowledge through their own ideas and inclinations.
A vibrant faculty, formally trained, is the backbone of the MMS education. Respect for each child guides our teachers, making them flexible and responsive. From the safety of the positive environment, MMS students take risks and achieve independence. The MMS staff is also committed to drawing on the many resources in our community, reflecting its diversity and honoring the school’s ethic of inclusion.
A parent cooperative, MMS recognizes and values an active partnership between home and school, parent and teacher. Additionally, within the community, our parents make it a priority to get to know and value each other, investing themselves in the institution and modeling for the children. Parent-Staff communication is welcome, and parents are highly motivated to participate in fundraising events, social events, and other opportunities to connect and “give back.”
The themes of connection and community are further manifested in the world of MMS by the role of Alumni. Our many two and even three-generation Morningside families offer testament to the powerful foundation the school provides. The respectful, personal teaching style makes Morningside memorable and vital for our graduates.
The Morningside approach to early childhood education is based primarily on principles developed in the early part of this century by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and early childhood educator:
Morningside also blends non-Montessori elements of early childhood education. We diverge from a strict Montessori approach as a product of thoughtful reading and conversation as a staff. As a result of this reflection, we extend Montessori lessons with recent information about children’s development. For example, while we use the moveable alphabet to help children learn to spell, we also employ shared reading techniques, engaging all students in connecting pictures and words to support individual word identification. We read stories that are chosen by students because that helps children be authentically invested in the story telling process. Our materials reflect a blended approach to supporting children in their path of learning. Blocks of all sorts and fantasy-play materials allow for children to ‘play out’ their worlds. Our daily routine reflects A Montesssori approach and a more modern early childhood approach. A strict Montessori school might only present work to individual children or small groups of children. While we use this method, we also bring the whole group of children together once per day for stories, singing or games as well as for the introduction of new materials. Supplemental to our Morning 5 Day Program, in the afternoons, we have the Explorers Class. This is a special extended-day program for four- and five-year olds from the West and South classrooms. This class features enriched activities expressly designed for older children.
Classes also take field trips, attend performances and explore the neighborhood – touring the firehouse, uncovering shapes embedded in the design of the buildings in our neighborhood, measuring trees or observing the seasons change in Riverside Park. We also have in-house trips that include musical presentations, interactions with animals and storybook based performances.
All our programs have a music class and a movement class every week. Our Three Day Program has Yoga every week as well. We rotate some specials in the 5 Day Morning and Afternoon Programs. We have a 10 week cycle of Yoga in the winter and an 8 week cycle of soccer classes in Riverside Park in the Spring. Throughout the year, when we cannot use our rooftop playground, we set up an indoor obstacle course in a large multi-purpose room in our building.