Tree of Life Montessori offers half and full day programs for children ages 2.5-6. We meet in the light-filled bottom level of a house in inner Southeast Portland. Our mornings, lead by AMI certified Montessori guide Ariel Cohn, follow the traditional Montessori 3-hour work cycle, in which children engage in an uninterrupted flow of individual activities chosen freely, small group games and gatherings, and individual presentations with the lead guide. Each child follows their own path, based on their skills, needs, and interests, through the Montessori curriculum.
We encourage artistic exploration through rotating shelves of art materials, and the children have access to the outdoors on our fenced, covered patio throughout the day. There we have individual as well as group activites for the outdoors including seed sprouting, plant care, and caring for our worm bin, as well as an easel for painting, chalk for drawing, and a hammering stump!
Our afternoon program, which begins after a lengthy period of work and play in our full outdoor environment, is lead by art teacher Catie Hannigan. Children are offered a variety of art exploratory activities with many materials.
We also have a large vegetable garden in the front yard for hands-on experiences throughout the year!
At Tree of Life Montessori we cultivate Jewish values, Middot, through learning to live with one another peacefully and learning how to care for our classroom and our Earth. The Montessori Method offers many opportunities to practice Middot! For example:
Kavod - Showing respect for one another's words and work
Tikkun Olam - Taking care of and healing the Earth - we compost, wash and reuse towels to dry our hands, and connect with the earth by growing food and taking time to notice and appreciate the natural world.
Shmirat HaGuf - Taking care of our bodies by washing hands and learning to blow our noses and toilet independently
Gemilut Hasadim - Acts of loving kindness come naturally in a peaceful Montessori classroom, children helping one another and welcoming each other with joy
We also share chagim (holidays) with special celebrations and enjoy Kiddush before lunch every Friday. We often bake challah on friday mornings to eat with our lunch.
Children arrive by 8:45. As they enter the classroom, they often greet one another, choose work, or spend some time deciding how to start their day.
8:30-11:30 - 3 hour work cycle - individual and group activities based on the needs and energy of the children.
11:30- 12:15 - Lunch - children may go outside to play as they finish eating.
12:00-1:00 - Outdoor play in our sandbox, play structures, gardens, etc.
1:00-1:30 - Rest/transition, children who nap sleep until they wake.
1:30 - 3:30 - Art/exploratory - a variety of projects based in art, science, and children's literature!
3:30-5:00 - Aftercare - lots of time outside followed by calm indoor activities and extra snack as needed.