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Mary Seat of Wisdom

Our Programs

“A person’s respect for another shows itself best when… he makes himself equal. And this is precisely what the Son of God did when He preferred to come into the world as a child.”

Maria Montessori

Nido Classroom

Parent/Infant Program

0-15 months

The Parent/Infant program is for parents with children 0-15 months of age. It is an introduction to Montessori for you and your baby. You attend once a week for 1.5 hours with your child – your baby gets to explore a safe, beautifully prepared environment while you see the Montessori approach in action. The environment is adjusted to include Montessori materials and activities for crawling, sitting babies, and beginning walkers to meet the needs of these inquisitive little learners.

Toddler 1 & 2 Program

Ages 15 months-36 months

In a beautifully prepared environment, our guides connect children to a learning experience that encourages exploration and purposeful activities. Furniture and learning materials are specifically crafted to suit the developmental needs of this age group, to support the intellectual, sensorial, social and physical development. The Toddler community offers activities to promote independence, concentration, self-confidence, and a positive attitude towards learning. The Toddler Program is an excellent preparation for Primary.

Primary Classroom

Ages 3-6 years
Half-day (8:00-11:30 AM) or Full-day (8 AM-3 PM)

Maria Montessori discovered that the 3-6 year old child develops through using their senses to absorb their environment, language and culture. Our Primary program takes place in a purposefully curated environment for the developmental needs of 3-6 year olds. When children come into their classroom the beauty, order, and accessibility of the materials designed just for them is so engaging that children want to work and learn.  

Our Primary has a Guide and an Assistant who present the materials and set the peaceful tone of the environment. They assist the children in forming a community of love and care for each other as the children learn important social skills. Each child works at his own pace as they develop concentration and formation in five distinct areas. 1) Practical life where children learn to take care of self and the environment, exercises of grace and courtesy, and coordination of physical movement. The 2) sensorial materials help the children in learning to order and classify by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring. 3) Mathematics helps children to understand abstract concepts by working with concrete manipulatives. The 4) language area teaches oral and written language, vocabulary, reading, and grammar. The 5) culture area is rich with works in geography, botany, music, and art.

Our Primary children also spend time weekly in an Atrium where the child’s spiritual development is nurtured through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a method grounded in prayer, Scripture, and the liturgy. All children have access to working in our outdoor classroom and spend time exploring nature and moving in MSW’s beautiful outdoor grounds every day.

Elementary Classroom

Ages 6-9 years
Monday-Friday, 8 AM-3 PM

Once children reach the age of 6, they become interested in the questions of “how” and “why” about everything — from stars and planets to rivers and trees to the cycle of life. Montessori Elementary education encourages these explorations through the Five Great Lessons, stories that encompass the breadth of human knowledge. They move from the creation of the universe to the coming of plant and animal life to the arrival of humans. The beauty of a Catholic Montessori school is that these stories incorporate the best of our scientific and historical knowledge with the truths of our faith, as Dr. Montessori intended. We then focus on the fruits of human innovation: language and mathematics.

Through the years, these lessons are learned with increasing complexity, until the student is not only able to pass them on to younger students, but also move into more abstract thinking and self-initiated projects. This development can occur at the child’s own pace because of the multi-age setting. Older students are guided through the intricacy of research and group projects laying a framework for collaboration and intellectual pursuit that will serve them throughout their lives.

Enrichment & Community Programs

Enrichment Classes

Ages 6-12 years

MSW offers afternoon enrichment classes. During the 2022-23 school year we offer Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level 2 and 3, Catholic Art Appreciation and projects and Music Appreciation and Experience classes. Students 9-12 years old from our local community are welcome to enroll.

Parent Education Series

Recognizing that parents are a child’s primary educators, MSW is committed to offering parents and members of the broader Steubenville community the chance to hear from wise and experienced Montessorians and CGS catechists. Lectures and Q&A sessions are held at venues throughout Steubenville during the school year.

“Young children have a natural ability to enjoy their relationship with God in a very deep way.”

Montessori FAQ

What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?

For children six and under, Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to them as a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them 1:1 by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.

Above age six children learn to do independent research, arrange field trips to gather information, interview specialists, create group presentation, dramas, art exhibits, musical productions, science projects, and so forth. There is no limit to what they create in this kind of intelligently guided freedom. There are no text books or adult-directed group lessons or daily schedule. There is great respect for the choices of the children, but they easily keep up with or surpass what they would be doing in a more traditional setting. There is no wasted time and children enjoy their work and study. The children ask each other for lessons and much of the learning comes from sharing and inspiring each other instead of competing with each other.

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Why does Montessori have multi age classrooms?

Multi age classrooms afford us the luxury of adapting the curriculum to the individual child. Each child can work at his or her own pace, while remaining in community with his or her peers. In addition, the multi age format allows all older children to be the leaders of the classroom community even those children who may be shy or quiet.

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Are Montessori schools as academically rigorous as traditional schools?

Yes; Montessori classrooms encourage deep learning of the concepts behind academic skills rather than rote practice of abstract techniques. The success of our students appears in the experiences of our alumni, who compete successfully with traditionally educated students in a variety of high schools and universities.

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Montessori classrooms don’t look like regular classrooms. Where are the rows of desks? Where does the teacher stand?

The different arrangement of a Montessori classroom mirrors the Montessori methods differences from traditional education. Rather than putting the teacher at the focal point of the class, with children dependent on her for information and activity, the classroom shows a literally child-centered approach. Children work at tables or on floor mats where they can spread out their materials, and the teacher circulates about the room, giving lessons or resolving issues as they arise.

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