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Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School23 hours ago
“When a grownup thinks of work, he thinks of doing something as a means to an end — spending his days in an office for the sake of a salary — but a child’s work is based on doing things for their own sake”. Maria Montessori
Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School2 days ago
“It is surprising to notice that even from the earliest age, man finds the greatest satisfaction in feeling independent. The exalting feeling of being sufficient to oneself comes as a revelation.”
Maria Montessori
Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School3 days ago
By: Jesse McCarthy

Many of us have a tendency to try to push manners onto children: “Tell her sorry now.” “Give your friend a hug.” “Say thank you to that man.”

But children don’t need directives to do good, they need modeling of what “the right thing to do” actually looks like in practice.

If, in our own lives as adults, we say sorry when we’re wrong, hug friends when they’re hurting, give thanks to those who deserve it, then we’ll find that children mirror our caring and thoughtful behavior.

As Dr. Maria Montessori once said:

“The essential thing is that [the child] should know how to perform these actions of courtesy when his little heart prompts him to do so.” Maria Montessori, “Her Life and Work.”

The best way to instill genuine goodness is to be a shining example of it ourselves — an authentic individual whom a child can look up to and eventually emulate in his or her own unique and loving way.
Come visit us at to learn more.
Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School4 days ago
7 ways Montessori is different from traditional schools:
By: Lisa D'Aromando

When people hear the term "Montessori" they usually have a specific idea of what that term means in reference to an academic learning environment, but how does a Montessori education actually differ from that of traditional public and private schools?

1. Student-Directed Learning

Under the guidance of teachers and with classrooms designed to promote curiosity, children at Montessori schools are encouraged to be self-motivating. The idea is that through challenging students to investigate what interests them, they will be more engaged and excited to learn.

Kevin McLean, head of middle and upper schools at the Montessori School of Raleigh, described this student-directed concept of teaching:

"We provide just enough info, tools and skills that allow students to work through the materials at their own pace, and through that process come to a better understanding of that material," he said.

2. Multi-Age Classrooms

In traditional schools, children are typically grouped with others their same age. In Montessori schools, children are placed into multi-age classrooms, typically in three-year age groups.

"There is a lot of research about peer-to-peer learning. You tap into huge potential when you allow that. Most schools aren't designed that way," said Jeannie Norris, interim head of school at the Montessori School of Raleigh.

With this multi-age classroom, students are taught from an early age the skills needed for role modeling, helping others and being accessible. Every third year, the cycle begins again as students first gain wisdom from the older students in the classroom before becoming role models themselves in their third year.

3. Hands-On Learning

Children at Montessori schools are given an active role in their education with hands-on lessons conceived to help them discover information on their own. This physical learning style is more active than traditional lecture-style learning where children listen and memorize information.

4. Integrated Subjects

The Montessori curriculum focuses on integrating diverse concepts across subject matter as children progress in grades. The goal is for students to learn skills through repetition but within different contexts to understand how several subjects are connected.

5. Project-Based

"Projects give students the opportunity to think beyond the textbook," McLean said.

By introducing information in a lesson, then following it up with a demonstration of that information in the form of a project, students actively use what they learn and apply it.

Projects are integrated into subjects as well as into larger efforts.

"Passion Projects" in English class at the Montessori School of Raleigh, for example, are opportunities for students to discover what they are passionate about through exploring types of employment, first in research and then in a visit to see what that specific career would look like.

Students also explore community service with year-long projects to figure out how they want to make a difference.

6. School/Classroom Design

Montessori classrooms are deliberately designed for each developmental level to provide students with age-appropriate choices in how they want to learn and explore.

If students want to work in groups, there are areas for that; if students want to work alone, they can find solitude. Each subject matter is organized into its own clearly-defined space and put together to encourage students to use materials to learn a certain lesson.

7. Real World Collaboration

"We don't just pack their brains and see how much they can memorize," Norris said. "We prepare them to be self-directed and have the skill set to communicate and collaborate to get the job done."

Will Kelly, a former student of the Montessori School of Raleigh, explained this concept in an example from his sixth-grade class trip to New York City.

"The students plan the trip and coordinate everything," he said. "We had to do the directions, lead the way, navigate the subway and the city. The teachers were there, but it was a do-it-yourself trip, which made it more meaningful."

Montessori is not a one-size-fits-all learning approach, and many parents and children have reaped the benefits of this non-traditional learning approach. If you want to learn more come visit us at!
Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School5 days ago
Due to popular demand we have added another Open House!!
Saturday, Feb. 8 9:00-11:00am
Crystal Lake Montessori School
Crystal Lake Montessori School5 days ago
Intentional living: Here's how to prepare your home environment to reflect Montessori philosophy:
By: Sara Paqueno

Montessori teachings work best when they are implemented both in school and in the home. However, it is easy to get lost in the conflicting messages that surround us about what is actually best for children.

Cathy Bocklage, Montessori School of Raleigh's toddler directress and a mother of four, believes it is possible to implement Montessori methods in the home while also maintaining your sanity.

"I think there's a lot of pressure on parents, especially, to be perfect," Bocklage said. "And when you combine this pressure with all the beautiful Pinterest moments you see, it can be so easy to go, 'I'm not that.' And I can say that might be the actual first step — going 'I'm not that. But here's what I am. And here are my goals for my child.'"

Here are some easy, non-stressful ways Bocklage suggests to implement the Montessori method at home, so that you can live a simpler, more intentional life while also raising a family.


Look at your life and identify your goals for your family, then observe your child. Everything Montessori does is based on observation.

Perhaps you notice that your toddler is interested in water. This means that they may enjoy washing vegetables for dinner or helping with dishes.

The key is to give children real tasks, not just busy work. Children seek validation; they don't want fake work. They want to actively contribute to the life of the family.

If you make an observation that doesn't work out, don't abandon the task completely, just give it some space. If you assumed your child would enjoy doing dishes and they end up being uninterested, come back to the task later. For now try something a little different, like guiding the toddler to water plants.


We always start with a prepared environment. It's not fair to expect success from a child if we haven't constructed the space in a way that they can be successful independently.

For Montessori method, this means two things: creating spaces that fit your child physically and reducing the number of choices available to them.

Consider the height of things in your home: Can your child reach their shelves? Do they have silverware and dishes that are an appropriate size for them? Are they able to get to items they need, and are they able to put those items away?

For example, consider your child who is getting dressed for the day. The blog Montessori by Mom suggests only showing them clothes that are appropriate for the season and occasion, and avoiding clothes with clasps or buttons until you know your child is up for the challenge. Above all, let them harness this independence and avoid overcorrecting.

"If your child works for 15 minutes at putting on her shirt and it's backwards, let it go," author Kim Edwards writes. "Her sense of pride is worth too much to point out what she did wrong. She may even realize her own mistake and fix it independently."


In the modern world, it can be difficult to unplug and turn off the noise of everyday life. However, creating these moments are important for cultivating a better home environment.

Bocklage recommends finding a time for everyone in the family to read or partake in another quiet activity – adults included.

Bocklage said unplugging fosters in children the capacity to find something engaging for themselves and discourages the need to expect others to entertain them.


Ultimately, the most important aspect of implementing Montessori methods in your home is understanding that it looks different for everyone, and allowing both your family and yourself to make mistakes.

Validate feelings. Bocklage suggests if a child is angry, say, "I see you're angry." But validating feelings does not mean the adult provides whatever the child demands.

An important aspect of working with a child's emotions is allowing them to feel respected through eye contact and a calm voice. Ultimately, it is important to remember that you are raising an independent free-thinker and understanding that not everything is going to be perfect.

"We all have bad days," Bocklage said. "We have great intentions and we honor those intentions, but parents must give themselves the grace to start over everyday and refine the approach … that is also what we allow children to do."

Education starts in the home, and whether your child is a student at a Montessori school or not, Montessori methods have a universal appeal that can apply to everyone — you can pick or choose what you want to implement for your family and your lifestyle.
If you want to learn more come visit us at!

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Crystal Lake Montessori School

3013 S. Country Club Rd

Woodstock, IL 60098

(815) 338-0013