Carefully Prepared Environments
Each LePort Montessori School has its own unique character, yet all LePort Montessori Schools have a consistent feel. All of our schools provide the same high standards of education and care but are housed in distinctly diverse types of school buildings – ones that represent the unique setting and the feel of their local neighborhood. Our schools include a small Montessori elementary campus in a former mayoral home (Carlsbad), a large two-building school in an office park (Irvine), two schools in former restaurant spaces (Irvine), a school in a historically protected building that served many previous purposes, from a pharmaceutical factory in the 1930’s to a law school (San Francisco), a former movie theater (Brooklyn) and even a previous church (Los Angeles).
Our classrooms are bright, spacious places tailored to each program we offer. Infant rooms have built-in kitchens so teachers can prepare baby food, and nap rooms so babies can sleep each on their own schedule. Toddler rooms are intimate environments, laid out so each child is constantly in sight, and feature convenient in-room toilets to make toilet learning a pleasant experience. Primary rooms are large spaces, to accommodate the wide range of materials necessary to run a strong Montessori preschool program. Our elementary spaces often include many extras, such as a kitchen, a library area or a dedicated science, art or music area.
Children aren’t just bodies in motion. They are spiritual beings who absorb the world they live in to form their inner being. Children are beautiful and filled with wonder. They should be surrounded by beauty that matches theirs. Yet too often, preschool classrooms are cluttered places, filled with cheap materials in bright, distracting primary colors. Our classrooms, in contrast, are simple environments, almost Zen-like in their setting. Child-sized wooden furniture defines child-sized spaces. Wooden shelves display beautiful objects that call for the children to handle them. Surrounding children with authentic beauty, including things that may be fragile, sends a message to our students: We value you. We believe you are worthy of living in a beautiful, serene setting. You are a responsible person, capable of handling precious things.
Playtime is amazing! We believe in offering children the opportunity to get outside each day, several times if they participate in our extended day programs. Our playgrounds and outside environments entice children to gross motor activity. Many of our schools feature natural playgrounds: grassy areas with natural grass where possible, hills with built-in climbing walls and slides, logs to balance on, tunnels to crawl through. Many of our schools have gardening areas—either right outside of the classroom, so children can work on their garden throughout the day, or in special areas where groups of children can visit and garden. Some schools, especially in colder climates, also have large indoor gross motor areas and naturally lit gardening spaces.
“There must, however, be provision for the child to have contact with Nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony, and the beauty in Nature; and also to master the natural laws which are the basis of all sciences and arts, so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates.”
—Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood.
Beautiful schools only stay beautiful if they are properly maintained. At LePort, we pride ourselves in investing in the regular upkeep of our facilities—from little things like daily cleaning by a professional cleaner so the classrooms sparkle and smell fresh each morning, to bigger things like updating landscaping, adding equipment, and even reconfiguring classroom layouts that no longer meet our needs. For example, one summer we completely reconfigured our Westpark Campus in Irvine—to add new toilets to each room, to enlarge classrooms to make more space for more learning materials and for children to move about, and to relocate walls to bring natural light into classrooms that previously had no outside windows.
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