How did Ridgeline Montessori get started?
Ridgeline Montessori is an Oregon charter school approved by the Eugene School Board on June 21, 2000. The parents and teachers who created Ridgeline Montessori worked for a year to secure start-up funding and a charter to operate the school. We are committed to the Montessori philosophy because of the positive learning experiences our children have had in Montessori schools as three- to six-year-olds.
How many students attend Ridgeline?
Our charter includes an enrollment cap of 253 students. In fall 2016, student enrollment is about 250.
Why is the role of a parent in the Montessori classroom so different from
the role of a parent in a more traditional classroom?
The children in a Montessori classroom actively create their learning environment. The teacher provides the physical and behavioral structure, and acts as a guide. Ideally all adults should strive to make the smallest impact possible. Please enter the classroom only if you are an expected guest (parent volunteer or scheduled observer) and, when you do, remember to keep your voice low and your presence understated.
Whom do I call if my child will be late or absent?
Please call the office at 541-681-9662 before the start of the school day whenever your child will be late or absent. You may leave a message in
the general school mailbox if you reach the answering machine. The
Office Manager will call your home and business phone numbers, as well as emergency
numbers, if you do not let the school know that your child will be absent or
late. Students arriving after the start of school must check-in at the
office before going to their classroom.
Can Ridgeline students take the school bus to school?
Ridgeline Montessori, similar to the alternative schools in Eugene, does not
have school bus service. Parents must provide transportation to school
for their children. Fortunately, being located near major bus lines affords easy access to Ridgeline Montessori by foot,
car, bike, or LTD bus. Also, the school has been quite successful in
encouraging carpools. There currently are carpool opportunities
available from many different sections of the city.
Do you offer childcare before and after school?
Assorted area childcare providers, including the Y, University of Oregon programs, Eugene Sudbury School after-care, and Rainbow Garden, transport our students to their site for after-school care.
Why must all visitors (including parents) check in at the office before
entering other areas of the building?
The safety of our students requires us to know who is
entering our school. All visitors must check in at the office, even if
only for a minute. When taking a student out early, the student must be
checked out at the office.
What should I do if I have questions about anything that is happening in
To ensure that accurate information is being
communicated, Ridgeline's policy is to bring any questions or issues to the
student's teacher first. Our teachers are incredible problem solvers. If more assistance is needed, you or the teacher may then choose to seek
further assistance through the office.
Is Montessori right for my child?
Underlying the Montessori curriculum is a fundamental belief that each child
has an instinctive and spontaneous desire to learn, and that self-motivation
is the only true impulse to learning. In the Montessori classroom,
individual responsibility for behavior, along with respect for people and
property, accompanies the freedom that students enjoy. In collaboration with
observant teachers, who assist with goal setting and ensure steady
achievement, children move themselves toward learning. They learn at their
own pace and pursue materials and topics that are of interest to them.
To be successful, entering students must be able to learn to make choices,
cooperate with peers, develop and maintain a sense of order, demonstrate
self-discipline, function independently, and participate noncompetitively
in a classroom community. They must also find intrinsic satisfaction
in work well done instead of seeking extrinsic rewards or pats on the back. Students with diverse learning styles—including primarily auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners—will find many stimulating and appropriate activities at Ridgeline. Students who are highly distractible may find our environment too
stimulating for their learning needs.
What makes Montessori different?
Pedagogy and teaching materials are the most compelling difference between
Ridgeline Montessori and other schools. Although the basic academic
content of the curriculum is the same, the following elements are key to a
Montessori Materials: Carefully designed materials are at the heart of a
Montessori classroom. Each material embodies a particular concept or skill
but addresses many levels of understanding, beginning with the concrete and
moving to the abstract. Many materials are self-correcting and provide
students with feedback, thus reinforcing autonomy, confidence, and
self-motivation. Used in the non-competitive Montessori classroom, the
materials allow each child to develop at his or her individual rate. Extensive written materials in each area of the classroom support the
Montessori emphasis on research using reference books and both primary and
secondary sources. In the elementary classroom, students study
Zoology, Botany, History, Geography, Chemistry and Cultural Studies. Concepts are introduced with a key experience lesson from the teacher. Learning is reinforced as students work with sequenced materials and record
their activities in written form.
Prepared Environment: Dr. Montessori created what she called the
“prepared environment,” designed to encourage self-directed learning.
The classroom is arranged in learning areas, with clusters of student-sized
tables and open areas for floor work. Shelves of materials pertaining
to a particular area of study surround each learning area. The
materials are arranged systematically and in developmental sequence. Students are free to move about the classroom choosing resources and working
individually or in small groups as they pursue their work plan.
Teachers and Their Roles: Montessori teachers are rarely the
center of attention in the classroom. Instead, the teacher is one source of
information among many and the focus during work times is on each student
working at his or her challenge level. The teachers prepare the environment,
observe the children carefully to determine skill levels and readiness,
offer appropriate activities, and facilitate the process of “learning how to
learn.” Montessori teachers also actively model appropriate, respectful
behavior and positive conflict resolution.
Individual Learning Contracts: Elementary
students work according to individual learning contracts (ILCs) that they
develop with their teachers and update periodically to reflect progress and
standardized test results. These contracts set forth how the student will
complete the curriculum requirements. Students and teachers track work
weekly to ensure they are fulfilling their ILC. Individual students
progress at their own rates and level of learning.
Long Continuous Work Periods: Whole-class instruction time is minimal;
the school day is structured to allow students to spend long blocks of time
on work that they choose within the framework of their contract. This
schedule enables students to explore a topic or material thoroughly and to
carry it through to completion.
Interdisciplinary Approach: Subjects are not taught in isolation;
they are related thematically to each other. Students are taught to
use reading, writing, and math as tools for the pursuit of knowledge and
skills. This approach motivates students to master the basic skills and use
them in understanding material in the content areas.
Multi-age Classrooms: Students are grouped in
multi-age clusters spanning three years in the elementary program.
Multi-age classrooms serve to: maximize curriculum options available to
students; encourage cooperation and minimize competition; provide
opportunities for indirect learning for younger students; foster
self-confidence in students who serve as role models; and provide for
long-term teacher/student relationships.
Enhanced Curriculum: Using the services of a Montessori
consulting firm, we have correlated the Montessori Scope and Sequence with
the Oregon Curriculum Goals to ensure full coverage of both curricula. The Montessori elementary curriculum strongly emphasizes math and language,
then uses them to study other subjects including anthropology, astronomy,
biology, chemistry, economics, geography, geology, government, history,
philosophy, physics, political science, and sociology, referred to as the
Cultural Curriculum. Art, music, and physical education are part of
the integrated Montessori prepared environment as well as being subjects
that are taught in their own right. Technology is a tool that supports
all other curriculum areas.