What is Montessori?

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is an educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in many cultures throughout the world.

It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional & cognitive.


How does Montessori differ from a traditional school?

There is a small but growing body of well-designed research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools. These suggest that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers.

In one study, for example, children who had attended Montessori schools at the preschool and elementary levels earned higher scores in high school on standardized math and science tests. Another study found that the essays of 12-year-old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structures than those produced by the non-Montessori group.

The research also shows Montessori students to have greater social and behavioral skills. They demonstrate a greater sense of fairness and justice, for example, and are more likely to choose positive responses for dealing with social dilemmas.


What sets MSO apart from other private schools?

We serve children from infancy through 8th grade. We teach to the “whole child’ - academic, physical, social, emotional and cognitive.

We follow a structured Montessori curriculum which allows students to fully grasp a concept before moving on to the next.

Each of our head teachers are highly trained Montessori educators. Students also have specialists throughout the week who teach P.E., Science, Art, Music, Drama, Garden, Sign Language, Spanish, Council (which teaches age-appropriate social skills) and Yoga.

Our Middle School students participate in the Montessori Model United Nations program and get to travel to the UN in New York in April.

MSO is community-based. We focus on serving students and families in the Ojai Valley, Ventura, Carpinteria, and surrounding communities.

MSO provides professional, trustworthy before & after school care for all ages.

We offer rolling admissions, meaning that your child can join our school when it is the right time for your family.

Students graduate from MSO with an ingrained appreciation for the process of learning, which lasts a lifetime.


Can my child enroll in MSO at any grade level, even if they’ve never had a Montessori education?

Yes! Because we individualize each student’s education, we work closely with each child when they enter our school, observing what they already know and familiarizing them with the Montessori materials. Peers in each classroom provide an extra layer of support and encouragement.


Can Montessori School of Ojai accommodate gifted children? What about children with other special learning needs?

An advantage of the Montessori approach—including multi-age classrooms with students of varying abilities and interests—is that it allows each child to work at their own pace. Students whose strengths and interests propel them to higher levels of learning can find intellectual challenge without being separated from their peers. The same is true for students who may need extra guidance and support: each can progress through the curriculum at their own comfortable pace, without feeling pressure to "catch up."

From a Montessori perspective, every child is considered gifted, each in their own way. Every child has their own unique strengths—it is all a matter of degree.


How many students are typically in a Montessori School of Ojai (MSO) class?

MSO values the lessons of community. Montessori School of Ojai classes range in size from 8-24 depending on the child’s age. All members of the community benefit from this set-up: older students are proud to act as role models; younger ones feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead. Classes for infants & toddlers are smaller, with typically 15 or fewer children.


Does my child have to have to be vaccinated to attend MSO?

Yes. California State law requires all children enrolled in state schools (both public and private) to have certain doctor-recommended immunizations, or receive them when they enroll.


Does my child need to be potty trained?

No. MSO Teachers & Teaching Assistants are fully trained to change diapers & help in the potty-training process. We have restrooms on both sides of campus that the teachers & assistants help the students visit throughout the day plus training potties and diaper-changing tables in the classrooms.


Does MSO offer Child Care?

Yes. Families appreciate the fact that the child care program is flexible and located on-site for easy before and after school care. The hours are from 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.and is available for all MSO students, ranging from infants through 8th grade. For more information, please visit our Child Care page.


Does the Middle School offer the  MMUN (Montessori Model United Nations) program?

Yes! This is a unique experience based on a program which combines the scholarship and global citizenry of Model United Nations with the pedagogical insights of Maria Montessori. At the conferences in New York, students assume the role of either an ambassador or a Press Corps reporter. Because the committees and their relevant topics are taken directly from the United Nations’ agenda, the students become deeply engaged in critical and contemporary world issues.


How does MSO prepare Middle School students for High School?

The thought of high school for some students can be intimidating so MSO strives to fully prepare our students for their future and make the transition to high school an exciting experience. In addition to their daily individualized instruction and specialists we also help facilitate internships at local businesses.

The Middle School faculty also provide an individualized high school prep program for each student, ensuring that they are ready for their next big step.


Where do students go after graduating from MSO?

MSO graduates go to different high schools including public, private & independent studies.

Staff at the Montessori School of Ojai are knowledgeable regarding State of California standards for educational achievement at each grade level and work with each child to be at or above grade level.