What is the history of Montessori Private Academy?

Montessori Private Academy (MPA) has been in existence as a not-for-profit corporation since 1983. The school is governed by a board of directors composed of parents, members from the Rockford community, a teacher representative and the Executive Director. Board meetings are held monthly. All parents are welcome to attend these meetings. The school was formerly called Montessori Learning Center from 1983 to 2003.  We built our present building in 2009,  and our current student enrollment is 191.

The school is a full member of the American Montessori Society.

How do I know that my child is learning all that he/she should? How are children assessed?

Although letter grades are not given, constant assessment is an inherent component of the Montessori classroom. The Montessori teacher has been trained to be a careful observer. The teacher keeps records on each child, which is essential in providing an overall picture of the child’s development. Progress and conference reports are scheduled with parents throughout the year. Our parent-friendly environment provides many opportunities for parent-teacher discussions.

Is standardized testing part of the assessment process?

MPA Elementary and Middle School students and parents have the opportunity to take part in a standardized testing process if they wish. MPA arranges with outside testing agencies to provide these services. Elementary and Middle School students (grades 1-9) have weekly tests and quizzes on a wide range of subject areas. All student produced work is kept and made available for parent review.

In Early Childhood, if each child is working at his or her own pace, how does socialization take place? Is learning only done individually?

The children are provided with many learning opportunities throughout the day:

  • Individual Presentations are made to a single child when he or she is ready to learn a new skill.
  • Small Group Presentations are made when several children are ready for a new lesson or a new activity is introduced into a classroom.
  • Line Time is an important part of each day in which the class is together for a lesson, song, educational visitor or other activity. Socialization takes place around the learning materials, where children of different ages and abilities can interact.
  • Free Play during indoor and outdoor recess is an important part of the day. Offered twice daily, once from 8:30 - 9:00 AM, and again from 12:00 to 12:40 PM, it is a time for children to explore their social world while continuing to refine their gross motor skills. When the weather is nice, teachers make it a priority to use our spacious outdoor environment for learning, play and skill building.

What types of enrichment activities are MPA students involved in?

Children participate in Art, Music and Physical Education several times each week. Spanish is offered two times per week for full-time early childhood, elementary and middle school students, and once per week for half-day students. Field trips and community service projects are integrated into the curriculum at all levels.

After school, many MPA families take advantage of community sponsored sports programs, through the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, etc.  MPA parents coach an array of sports including volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, swimming, and softball. The school also sponsors Boy Scouting and Girl Scouts, and encourages participation in children's choirs and theater groups. Also offered after school are Art Club and Chess Club.

What happens when my child leaves Montessori Private Academy to enter a traditional High School environment?

At MPA we find that the many skills presented and mastered by the students who have completed Elementary and Middle School have prepared them well after leaving High School...

  1. MPA students are confident, self-directed and deeply interested in learning.
  2. MPA students work intensively in organizing their time and their work. And because they are not graded, they focus on the quality of the work as opposed to the result, which ironically leads to greater mastery.
  3. MPA students leave with the skills necessary to make them successful wherever they go. For example, MPA students at the middle school level have competed in statewide algebra competitions and placed perfect scores, both as a team and as individuals.

How is discipline handled at MPA?

Central to Maria Montessori’s philosophy was the observation of what normal age-appropriate behavior is for each age group. Hence, the Montessori environment is actually designed to keep situations leading to misbehavior to a minimum. When needed, teachers and assistants can provide positive redirection within the classroom setting. Occasionally, a child may be asked to leave the room to refocus, and then join in again when ready. In those rare instances when persistent behavior difficulties impact learning, parents are asked to work in partnership with the school to insure clear communication and a positive outcome.