The story of Rising Star Montessori
Rising Star Montessori School is a PreK- Grade 5 private school located in Alameda, California. For over 35 years we have provided a high quality educational program for children based on the philosophy and methods developed by Maria Montessori. In addition to our concern for the health and safety of the children, we emphasize a total education program. This program includes a thorough preparation in the basic academic skills, physical abilities, and extensive curriculum in the cultural subjects.
Our academic excellence thrives in a warm, nurturing environment that promotes the self-esteem of each individual child. We advocate global diversity by studying many cultures, embracing and respecting the people in our modern world. We practice this philosophy of “Education of Peace” in our professional and respectful manner with children, parents, and fellow staff.
Science curriculum ties in with cultural studies, as well as the presentation of the five Great Lessons, which center around themes of progress and interdependency. The stories present changes the earth has undergone since its beginning, as well as the ways in which each new animal or plant affects all others.
In our computer lab program the use of the computer is integrated in the core curriculum. The program covers keyboarding, Internet use for research, word processing, and productions of written reports.
Our Spanish program is taught through weekly lessons that build basic Spanish language skills and vocabulary. It is supported by oral, visual and written activities. Children also develop an awareness of Spanish culture.
The Extended Care Program is separate from basic school curriculum and is offered at an additional fee. The program has been designed with developmentally appropriate activities and is adequately staffed for the safety and security of the children.
Rising Star Montessori opened in the fall of 1982 upstairs in the First Baptist Church in Alameda. Ann Rose Gavey and Marion T. Boyd co-founded the school in 1982. After several years of traveling, Marion moved back to her home state of Louisiana. Ann’s husband, Rex M. Higginbotham, joined as co-owner in February 1996.
It grew from two classrooms, kindergarten through fourth grade, to four classrooms, kindergarten through sixth grade. In response to a need for a Montessori Preschool offering extended daycare, Our Children’s Cottage opened in the fall of 1984 at 770 Santa Clara Avenue.
Through the years, we accommodated students from preschool through eighth grade. For several years, the upper grades were at Our Children’s Cottage, now the Cottage is a preschool program for ages 2 years 4 months through 5, offering full and part time classes year round. The High Street Campus opened in September 1986. We currently serve children in Preschool aged 2 years 9 months – 5 years, a full day Kindergarten and Elementary classes for grades 1-5. Our students make successful transitions to local private, parochial, and public schools.
Before elaborating any system of education, we must therefore create a favorable environment that will encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts. All that is needed is to remove the obstacles. And this should be the basis of, and point of departure for, all future education. The first thing to be done, therefore, is to discover the true nature of a child and then assist him in his normal development.Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
Our philosophy is primarily based on the observations and writings of Dr. Maria Montessori, who was an educator, scientist, and the first woman physician in Italy. Starting in 1907, Dr. Montessori designed classroom materials and a distinct learning environment that fosters children’s natural inclination to learn. Today the Montessori approach is practiced in both private and public schools, preparing children to be the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.
The Montessori learning environment differs from traditional school environments in essential ways including:
– Mixed-age groupings that foster peer learning
– Uninterrupted blocks of work time
– Freedom within a structured learning environment
Our curriculum instructs children in language arts, math, the interrelated study of life and physical sciences, history, culture, geography, the arts, and practical life skills. In addition to primarily using the Montessori method and curriculum, we have integrated traditional public and private school curricula that has a track record of successfully preparing our children for their post Rising Star education. Our school also employs current research and theories in child development and educational methods.
Living our values in everything we do…
Maria Montessori said, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.” At Rising Star we focus on the core ingredients that make up peace in a very practical way. The school environment is calm, orderly and attractive. Enter one of our classrooms and you will observe a peaceful learning environment, where members work together as stewards of their classroom community.
We began the school with inclusion in mind. Since opening our doors in 1982, we have been very fortunate to have attracted a very diverse staff and student body. We celebrate the diversity of our staff, families and students through our monthly activities and cultural studies. Our annual Fall Harvest Festival celebrates the range of cultures represented in our school and in California. At the winter season we learn about how different cultures celebrate the winter solstice, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Christmas, Las Pasadas, Santa Lucia, and the secular winter holidays.
At Rising Star, we value each child, family and staff member’s contributions in making our school a vibrant learning community. Each week children take turns between various classroom responsibilities that contribute to the classroom: one week they might be the trash or coat room monitor, the next week they may be the class botanist or zoologist. Upper elementary students often present their school projects to lower elementary students. In addition, every family has an opportunity to participate in our Parent Involvement Program, be it joining the Dad’s Club, volunteering at the annual Harvest Festival, prepping classroom materials or presenting topics in the classroom.