WHAT IS A MICROSCHOOL? A microschool is an independent learning institution. Microschools are the result of rethinking the traditional educational model to better prepare children for the future. They offer students a personalized education and cater to a child’s unique needs and capabilities. Often described as "outsourced homeschooling," they are free from the bureaucracy, standardized tests, and mandatory curriculum that defines today's public school system. Because they are so small, children receive far more individualized attention than they would receive in a traditional school.
WHAT MAKES MONTESSORI UNIQUE? Although Montessori schools are similar in that they follow the same philosophical educational principles, they are all independently owned and operated, making each one unique and special in its own right. The Montessori Method was developed by Maria Montessori (1870-1952). She was an Italian physician, educator, philosopher, and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. She once said, "Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world. Dr. Maria Montessori wanted to help improve education and spread love for learning with others. She wanted to extend learning outside the classroom. She wanted each child to be excited about learning and to take that knowledge and curiosity to higher levels - that is, to become a part of their lives and to continuously without limits!
"Children are respected as unique individuals - different from adults, but not less important or valued as members of the community."
The purpose is to develop the whole child into a rounded human being - no child feels left behind and everyone learns at their own pace. The multi-age classroom grouping allows for modeling leadership, mentoring skills, and socialization between different age groups. In additions to academics, the method fosters virtues such as cooperation, peacefulness, compassion and kindness. Children learn values of respect for nature, caring for and acceptance of others, and becoming a responsible member of society.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MIXED-AGED GROUPING? Montessori utilizes mixed age grouping rather than dividing students into grade levels. There are several benefits to this grouping, the greatest being that students are better able to learn from each other. Older children learn by teaching younger children, and the younger children learn from observing the older children. It’s also beneficial in that students can be challenged better. A younger student who is ready can be included in a lesson that would typically be for “older” children. Alternatively, an older child needing more practice or a refresher on a concept can attend the lesson most appropriate for them.
WHAT CURRICULUM DO YOU USE? Our schoolhouse primarily uses The Good and the Beautiful curriculum for core academic subjects as it beautifully aligns with Gift of Grace's mission, “to teach academics while connecting children to the good and the beautiful in life and in learning."Our program is very hands-on and engaging. All students progress through the curriculum based on mastery of the material, not by grade or age level. Direct instruction in math and language arts is given in a small group or individual basis by the teacher at each student’s instructional level. Social studies, science, and electives are taught in a multi-age format with individualized assignments given at the student’s academic level. All instruction has embedded spiral review to ensure retention over time. The teacher maintains records of each student’s individual progress.
Subjects covered include, but are not limited to:
WHY DO YOU USE THE GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL CURRICULUM? The Good and the Beautiful curriculum has been chosen for a number of reasons:
Non-denominational Christian worldview: allows students from a variety of backgrounds to study together and to find common ground in faith and learning.
Academically rigorous: engages students in a comprehensive, wholesome, and attractive learning journey. Meets and exceeds the standards taught in the public school setting.
Flexibility: affords student-level placement that can meet each child, in each subject, at their individual skill level.
Method: deepens understanding through mastery learning and spiral review. Teaching methods are varied between direct, guided, experiential, and discovery as best suits the learner and subject matter.
Increasing independence: matures student learning as they gain ownership of their education and progress through the levels into increasingly more self-directed learning.
WHAT IS YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE AND SCHOOL CALENDAR? Our schoolhouse is open Monday thru Friday from 9:00am to 3:30pm during the standard school year. Children have the option of attending three or five days per week. Our three-day friends attend Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and our five-day friends attend Monday - Friday. We follow a 10-month instructional calendar. The first day of school is the Tuesday after Labor Day and the last day of school is in mid-June.
Typical Schedule (subject to change, based on student needs/interests)
8:30 - 9:00 AM ~ Arrival
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM ~ Morning Meeting, Work Cycle, and Self-Serve Snack
12:00 - 1:00 PM ~ Outdoor Exploration
1:00 - 2:00 PM ~ Lunch and Read Aloud
2:00 - 3:00 PM ~ Work Cycle and Enrichment Activities
3:00 - 3:30 PM ~ Outdoor Exploration
3:30 PM ~ Dismissal
We will be closed on the following days during the 2022-2023 school year.
October 7 (No School)
November 8 (Voting Day)
November 23 - 25 (Thanksgiving Break)
December 23 - 30 (Christmas Break)
January 2 - 6 (Christmas Break)
March 31 (Spring Break)
April 3 - 7 (Spring Break)
May 29 (Memorial Day)
IS LUNCH PROVIDED BY THE SCHOOL? Gift of Grace Montessori provides a wholesome and healthy morning snack following a weekly themed menu.
Families are responsible for their child's daily lunch and water bottle. The lunch container should include a “cool pack,” as the lunches will not be stored in the classroom refrigerator.
WHAT IS YOUR COMMUNICATION METHOD WITH PARENTS? The majority of the communication coming from the school will be through an easy-to-use mobile app known as Brightwheel. We use Brightwheel for recording and tracking daily events and activities in the classroom. Parents will get private, real-time updates delivered directly to their mobile devices throughout the day, including photos and videos. Upcoming events and important dates at school, including holidays and closings are also recorded in the app.
WHAT ARE YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES? The health and safety of our school community has always been the priority. Gift of Grace holds high standards of safety and cleanliness. Proactively, we have taken steps to prepare for, take precautions against, and implement an action plan designed to minimize risk and maximize wellness at our school. Parents are asked to keep students home if they are exhibiting signs of infection, including respiratory distress, fever above 100.4 or confirmed viral or bacterial contagion. Our school is equipped with a Non-Toxic Air & Surface Decontamination System (Activtek) and our facility is sanitized daily in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Gift of Grace Montessori is prepared for emergency situations. Our schoolhouse is equipped with first-aid supplies. The teacher is trained in CPR and First Aid. Children are instructed on emergency procedures in case of a fire or a tornado while at school, and participate in regular fire drills and learn other rules of safety. Doors to our schoolhouse remain locked during class hours.
In the event of an illness or accident that requires immediate medical treatment, 911 will be contacted. Every effort will be made to contact the parent and other persons listed for emergency contact. If a parent cannot be contacted, Gift of Grace Montessori may authorize emergency treatment including transportation for the child to a hospital reasonably accessible. HOW DO YOU HANDLE DISCIPLINE? The root word of discipline is “disciple,” which means to lead forth. The Montessori approach to discipline is to help children learn they are responsible for what they do and that their actions and choices have consequences. Our schoolhouse believes "discipline" is another aspect of teaching and learning, not punishment. We are consistent with guidelines suggested by Co-Authors of "Teaching with Love and Logic" Jim Fay & David Funk. The Love and Logic process includes control and decision-making using empathy with consequences, and enhancing with the self-concept of children.
We follow these guidelines...
Set realistic expectations
Focus on positive communication techniques to gain children's cooperation
Give alternatives to turn destructive situations into constructive ones
Use natural and logical consequences
Give children alternatives to turn destructive situations into constructive ones
DO YOU GO ON FIELD TRIPS? During the course of the school year, field trips may be taken to local areas of interest in coordination with an area being studied in class or to take advantage of special community events. Parents will be notified in advance of an upcoming trip as well as any associated fees, and will be asked to help with transportation.
Gift of Grace Montessori (within Voyage Church) 6339 Atlantic Avenue Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009