MCDC Montessori School For Preschool & Kindergarten

Experience an enlightening, private stroll through our Montessori schoolhouse and gardens and see why we are the “Hidden Gem of San Diego”

Montessori School for Preschool & Kindergarten Education For Our Children Of San Diego & Poway Since 1978

We at Montessori Child Development Center believe as Dr. Maria Montessori did that:

Given the right Montessori educational environment, young children could learn almost anything.

It is important that a Montessori school provide all the proven tools and methods developed by Dr. Montessori and perfected for the modern world as we do at MCDC.

Children will thrive in a complete Montessori school true to the Montessori Method, not just a few tools here and there.

These Montessori learning materials must be in constant use by the children.

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Our classrooms are designed to promote independence, self-direction, and self-discipline.

Teachers allow children to create extensive knowledge of their world through exploration and observation, following their interests at their own pace with the guidance of the adult.

Highly qualified Montessori teachers observe and offer direction and support while children build their emotional, social, cognitive, and creative abilities.

The results are children who are engaged and interested in learning, and eager to advance.

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Montessori Child Development Center in Poway serves preschool and kindergarten children in the San Diego communities near Ramona, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Escondido, 4S Ranch, Sabre Springs, and many others.
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The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.
Maria Montessori

Call (858) 748-1727 To Schedule Your Private Tour

Marijane Schafer is the Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Executive Director At MCDC

Marijane Schafer

Founder & Executive Director Of San Diego's Montessori Child Development Center (MCDC) in Poway

I believe young children thrive in a Montessori preschool & kindergarten educational environment where they are treated like the unique individuals they are and are guided by teachers who love children and understand their needs.

At MCDC, children experience a deep sense of security and are motivated to learn by the warm, home-like setting that we have created for them. Situated in a large house re-designed for school use, surrounded by trees, vegetable and flower gardens, selected farm animals, and a big, grassy play area, learning at our Montessori school extends beyond the classroom to the gifts of the natural world.

I opened Montessori Child Development Center in 1978 to provide parents in our community with a quality Montessori learning alternative for their children. We have remained intentionally small to maintain a close relationship with each child and their family. As ever, the staff and I are committed to giving every child an opportunity to discover and develop to their potential.

Thank you for your interest in our Montessori school; I hope that you and your child can visit our school soon. Please wander through this website and then come by and see for yourself how children here learn to become happy, healthy, life-long learners and capable individuals.

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Hear What our Montessori Parents Are Saying…

A++++.  MCDC has been an amazing experience…My son is innately curious and the hands-on style that the preschool Montessori educational system provides has catered to his style.  During his kindergarten year, he was doing presentations, reading books, excelling in math, and even giving a speech during his graduation.  It's amazing to see a 5yr old get in front of 50+ plus people and give a 4-5 minute speech.

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Sam A. – Dad

MCDC is by far the best Montessori preschool in San Diego. It was home for our two children and we are so glad it was. It truly enhanced their desire, drive and joy to learn. MCDC is a very special place that customizes the learning to the child, thus empowering each student to enhance their joy for learning, problem solving and their education. As our children have moved on in their education we continue to see the results of such a strong foundation that was laid out by MCDC and its staff. Thank you so much for all your love, dedication and commitment to creating lifelong joyful learners.

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Cathy & Aurelio Ramos
Cathy & Aurelio Ramos – Mom & Dad

The Kindergarten year at Montessori Child Development Center has really see my twins flourish and grow as individuals. The responsibilities of teaching others, organizing events and being the guiding lights held up as example to the younger children has definitely matured and benefitted them. The growth in their self-confidence has been quite considerable… If you are wondering if Preschool & Kindergarten years at MCDC are worth it, the answer is ABSOLUTELY!

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Beth
Beth P – Mom

FAQ

Some of our most common questions.

What is Unique in the Montessori School Classroom and MCDC?

Our environment is in a converted home and exudes a secure homey atmosphere with Montessori learning materials. The outdoors is like a small farm, with goats, chickens and gardens directly adjacent to the natural playground. 

The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world.  Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully into the Montessori classroom.  To the young child, the world is unmanageable–it is too big, too complex, and too confusing.  

By careful selection of materials by the teacher, an environment is set up which allows the child a place to explore life on a level she can understand.  The materials and exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration.  

This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at her own pace, from simple to more complex activities.  Through this process, her natural curiosity is satisfied, and she begins to experience the joy of discovering the world around her.   

Why do we only offer a 5-day program at Our Montessori School?

The Montessori philosophy promotes consistency and order. Children need a consistent and orderly routine, which in turn gives them a sense of predictability and security. In addition, consecutive days facilitate the teacher's need to follow through or follow up on an individual child's progress in a particular area or lesson.

In short, consecutive and consistent daily attendance will allow your child to progress and benefit more from the learning opportunities that are presented there, as well as provide them with a sense of security and predictability.

Why does Montessori Child Development Center offer Playdates?

This program is unique to our Montessori School. At MCDC we have noticed that both children and parents would like to have a little more experience with us as they become a part of our Montessori community. Therefore, after the first tour of our homey farm environment we invite parents to bring their child for a complimentary playdate during our outdoor time. This gives the parent a chance to meet the teachers and observe student interactions and the child a chance to meet new friends. 

Once your child is enrolled, you may opt for one or two more playdates if need be, so you little one is comfortable and ready on the first day of school. Then parents and child have an orientation with their teacher at which time we can practice exiting the car and other important procedures for familiarity.

Why enroll children at three years old into a Montessori School?

Dr. Montessori identified four “planes of development,” with each stage having its own developmental characteristics and developmental challenges. The Early Childhood Montessori environment for children age three to six is designed to work with the “absorbent mind,” “sensitive periods,” and the tendencies of children at this stage of their development.

Most educators and psychologists agree that the single most important period in the development of a person’s intelligence occurs between birth and age five.  A child’s mind is absorbent, and his curiosity is at a peak during these early years.  When properly nourished and stimulated, the child’s mind forms patterns of learning which serve him  throughout his life.   A Montessori school provides one of the most effective environments in which to guide a child through these critical years.

Learning that takes place during these years comes spontaneously without effort, leading children to enter first grade with a clear, grasp of many abstract concepts. Montessori helps children to become self-motivated, self-disciplined, and to retain the sense of curiosity that so many children lose along the way in traditional classrooms. They tend to act with care and respect toward their environment and each other. They can work at their own pace and ability. The three-year Montessori experience nurtures a joy of learning that prepares them for further challenges.

How Can I Help My Child Get Ready For the First Day of School at MCDC?

At MCDC we start routine from the first day. Your child will be escorted from the car by one of the teachers. Be very matter of fact.

As you enter the driveway say your good byes, “Have a great day, I love you!” Keep your voice confident and encouraging.

Say things only once. Your child will pick up on your sureness and be secure.

Support the teacher and let her help a reluctant child. “You are fine. Go with ____, I will see you after school.”

If you have any questions talk to your child’s teacher at orientation.

Who was Maria Montessori?

Dr. Maria Montessori in the early twentieth century, was Italy’s first woman physician, and this background led her to approaching education not as a philosopher or educator, but as a scientist.  Through careful observation of children, she developed unique materials in a child-centered environment and revolutionized educational thought by stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education, and learning through the use of the senses and movement. See more…

What is Unique in the Montessori Classroom and MCDC?
Our environment is in a converted home and exudes a secure homey atmosphere with Montessori learning materials. The outdoors is like a small farm, with goats, chickens and gardens directly adjacent to the natural playground. 

The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world.  Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully into the Montessori classroom.  To the young child, the world is unmanageable–it is too big, too complex, and too confusing.  

By careful selection of materials by the teacher, an environment is set up which allows the child a place to explore life on a level she can understand.  The materials and exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration.  

This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at her own pace, from simple to more complex activities.  Through this process, her natural curiosity is satisfied, and she begins to experience the joy of discovering the world around her.   
Materials and curricula center around practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, geography, history, science, art, music, drama, and perceptual motor development.

Participating in the process of gardening from soil preparation to picking the “fruits” of their labor evokes so many of the character qualities that culminates in social-emotional maturity including: responsibility, cooperation, diligence, patience, caring, creativity, determination, and being thorough.

How can parents be involved In Their Child's montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Education?

We hope that all parents will become involved through observations, conferences, family event i.e. Ice Cream Social, parent evenings, donating and serving a Parent Catered Lunch, room parents, etc. 

The more parents participate and follow through at home, the better their child will settle in.  When parents follow through at home, the child benefits even more because she has a consistent environment in which to grow and develop as a secure, well-adjusted human being.

How is a Montessori program different from other preschool programs?

In most preschools, the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher.  In a Montessori program, the children work at their own pace, independently learning concepts from multi-sensory materials designed for self-correction and physical exploration.

What is the Montessori Method of education?

The Montessori Method of education is basically a unique approach to learning.  Rather than “teaching” the child concepts, the environment is designed in such a way to expose her to materials and experiences through which she develops intellectual, as well as physical and psychological abilities.  The prepared environment takes full advantage of the self-motivation and unique ability of the young child to develop her own capabilities–all with little or no adult intervention.

What is the purpose of the Montessori Method?

A Montessori classroom is a specially designed and equipped environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater person within. 

As Dr. Montessori said, “The child is the father of the man.”  (The Secret of Childhood, Maria Montessori, p. 36, 194). 

The purpose of the method is the development of the child’s inner self, and from this, love of life and learning expand continuously.

How do children interact within A Montessori environment?

As the children develop their sense of pride in their “work,”a feeling of confidence, well-being, and joy begins to manifest itself in the child. A “new child” is born. A classroom of Montessori children is a joy to watch.

There seems to be a spirit of respect, love and cooperation among the children. A feeling of community pervades the classroom.

What is the role of the Montessori teacher?

In a Montessori classroom there is no front of the room and no teacher’s desk as a focal point of attention because the stimulation for learning comes from the total environment. 

Dr. Montessori always referred to the teacher as a “directress, or director,” and her role differs considerably from that of a traditional teacher.  She is, first of all, a very keen observer of the individual interests and needs of each child, and her daily work proceeds from her observations rather than from a prepared curriculum. 

The Directress works with each child individually, allowing her to choose from many activities within her range of ability.  The teacher stands back while a child is working, and allows her the satisfaction of her own discovery.

Why do the children “work”?

The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He works, however, not as an adult for profit or completion of a job, but for the sake of the activity itself.

It is this activity which accomplishes for him his most important goal: the development of himself–his mental, physical and psychological powers. His play is his work, and his work is his play.

With all of the freedom In A Montessori Classroom, isn’t there confusion?

The concept of freedom in the classroom is a freedom within limits.

A child is free to move about the classroom at will, to talk with other children, to work with any equipment whose purpose he understands, and to ask the teacher for presentations of new material, so long as he does not disturb others.

Actually, children who have the freedom to follow their interests, are generally happily and busily involved in their work.

When is the best time for a child to begin Montessori Education?

Nature has given children special forms of mental powers which aid in their self-construction. The first of these powers is the “absorbent mind,” the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and civilization without effort or fatigue. This mental approach is indiscriminate, incorporating both good and bad, and begins at birth.

Children also experience sensitive periods in their development. During these periods, they seek certain stimuli with immense intensity, to the exclusion of others. These are transitory periods in which they develop specific mental functions, such as movement, language, order, refinement of the senses and social awareness. They occur universally at approximately the same age in all children. If a child’s need for specific stimuli is not met during the sensitive period, he loses the opportunity for optimal development.

What he can learn almost effortlessly at this critical time will take effort on his part later. Dr. Montessori devised special materials to aid children in each sensitive period. Between the ages of 2 and 3, a special sense of order, concentration, coordination, and independence emerges. This time is ideal to begin a child’s training in Montessori, as she is at the perfect period to build a strong foundation for future learning.

How do Montessori children adjust to public schools?

Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very flexible and adjust quite easily to a public school situation.

They are generally better students and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-discipline, independence and positive attitude toward learning.

What about socialization and group work Within A Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Classroom?

Socialization is very much a part of a Montessori classroom. In the classroom you will notice children interacting continuously: younger children inspired to do more advanced work by observing and learning from older ones, and older children learning through teaching and helping younger ones.

Daily the class gathers to sing and read stories, and lessons in grace and courtesy, an important component to building the classroom community, are often given in small or large groups. A Montessori classroom has often been described as a “natural social setting,” with children free to interact with one another.

For whom is the Montessori method designed?

The Montessori method is an approach to learning, and as such, has no distinction of class or intelligence. It has been used successfully with children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18, in all parts of the world, from all socioeconomic levels representing the average, gifted, special needs, emotionally disturbed and physically handicapped child. It is not associated with any particular religious persuasion.

Does Montessori employ current research and theory in educational methods?

Montessori is not a closed or static system of education. While there are certain materials and methods that have been proven effective through many years of use, Montessori is as much an attitude about education and children, as it is a specific method.

We, at MCDC, are always aware of the current trends and how they affect young children. We maintain traditional values in our environment for the security of the child, and are always prepared to assist children in negotiating the confusing world around them.

Proudly serving :

San Diego, CA
Poway, CA
Scripps Ranch, CA
Ramona, CA
Rancho Bernardo, CA
Miramar, CA
Rancho Penasquitos, CA
Carmel Mountain, CA
4S Ranch, CA
Fernbrook, CA
Black Mountain Ranch, CA
Del Mar, CA
La Jolla, CA
Santee, CA
Torrey Pines, CA
Midway, CA
Del Dios, CA
Solana Beach, CA
Kearny Mesa, CA
Encinitas, CA

And many more of our Greater San Diego Communities!