How we Montessori…

"The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but to leave it free to develop."  -Maria Montessori

During the first three years of life, the brain absorbs more information than at any other time. The years from three to six are also a time for major growth and development of the brain. Given the opportunity and training, young children are capable of developing many more skills than most people assume.


Since young children learn best by doing and by observing, Little Tree will offer children ample opportunities for hands-on experiences with real-life materials that stimulate many of the senses. We will provide our children with the materials and activities that allow them to develop and enhance skills in the areas of cognitive development, sensory exploration, language and social development, practical life skills and also motor development that is necessary for later academic success. The child’s environment will be thoughtfully prepared with order while at the same time allowing for each child to follow where their interests take them.

Play is viewed as the important work of the child in the Montessori environment. The children’s interests are valued and encouraged by the adults. The definitions of work and play are combined in Montessori practices because a child’s work is not only a necessary and important task to complete but it is also of great interest and importance to the child.

Teachers will serve as important guides in the classroom that take on the role of someone who inspires, demonstrates and facilitates, not lectures or directs. As our children’s interests change and grow so will their environments so we can offer developmentally appropriate and challenging opportunities for learning. Montessori activities focus not on the teacher, but on the child and the materials.

Our Classrooms

The infant program starts at six weeks. The focus is to provide a loving and safe environment as consistent to a child’s own home. In the infant classroom, we use the following materials:

  • Manipulatives: Lessons and toys designed to develop motor skills
  • Sensorial: Utilization of all the senses to promote healthy brain development
  • Language: Building a foundation of communication, skills with words or hand gestures
  • Practical Life: Promoting self-care and independence

The toddler program starts around the age of 18 months and the preschool program starts around 3-years, depending on development. In addition to using the materials listed above, we also introduce the following educational activities in the toddler programs:

  • Science: Monthly theme, coinciding with the season or month as we explore the world
  • Math: Counting, number recognition, geometrics, and fractions
  • Language: Sounds of the alphabet, development of communication skills and the use of descriptive words, including objects in our environment
  • Art: Hands-on creativity to refine motor skills and build imagination

Our preschool program (Madbury location only)  starts around the age of 3 years and extends through PreK. In this mixed-age, Montessori classroom the child’s "Absorbent Mind" is honored, celebrated, and appropriately challenged through the materials we bring in and in the learning centers we have designed. In this age group we will concentrate on the following areas:

  • Sensorial Develop & Music Enrichment: understanding the information received from the environment to discriminate, appreciate and understand the world.
  • Art: using an art easel (vertical drawing/painting), exposure to real artists and inspirational works of art, freedom of total creative expression (we encourage our children to color outside the lines!), use of varied materials such as clay/dough, paints, chalk, colored pencils, scissors, sewing, weaving, sensory elements, etc.
  • Language Arts: learning phonetic sounds, phonetic reading and writing, phonograms and blends, which fosters literacy skills in the later years. Children in this age group will also be exposed to multi-cultural linguistics through regular Spanish lessons at circle time taught by our Head Teacher.
  • Culture: exploring geography (maps & photographs of the world’s different regions), gaining their first sense of history by starting to examine their own timeline from birth to present, dramatic play
  • Science: exploring elements of Botany & Zoology by studying the biological aspects of the environment through hands-on activities to foster an appreciation for the delicate balance of nature
  • Math: use of concrete materials such as number rods, geometric building materials (spatial awareness), counting and sorting lessons where children develop one-to-one correspondence skills, fractions
  • Practical Life: use of materials such as cutting boards, serving utensils, dusters, watering cans, real tableware, and children will regularly take an active role in their environment by helping to wash dishes and assisting in preparing snacks. Children will develop a sense of order, concentration, personal pride, independence, respect for others, fine motor skills, grace and courtesy, confidence and self-esteem.

Outdoor education is just as important as the learning done inside of the classroom. We want to let our children be children, so there are plenty of opportunities to play and learn - inside and outdoors.

We're proud of the programming and environment that we provide at Little Tree. We have an open door policy for enrolled families so they can visit their children at any time during the day, and are welcome to visit. Parent involvement and communication is of high importance to us, we encourage parent communication and feedback through journals, phone calls, and conferences. 

Enrichment Programs - Madbury

Sonatina Music Therapy - Marissa Ruffini visits Little Tree 3-4 times per month to sing, play guitar and to share some new and interesting instruments with us. While listening to her acoustic guitar and beautiful voice the children develop important skills such as listening and responding, following directions, recognizing patterns and so much more.

For more information please visit

Violin Presentations - Melissa Waterhouse is an accomplished violinist and music instructor who shares our love of early education and fostering artistic expression. She visits our school once a month to play violin for the children and share with them her love of music. During her visits the children learn about the violin, how it is used and listen to her perform multicultural songs and also familiar children’s songs as well.

Story Times - Crystal Lisbon, Madbury Children's Librarian, visits our preschool classroom once a month for a special story time! She is a skilled storyteller and we are so appreciative that she volunteers her time to read to our children!

Enrichment Programs - Bozeman

Details coming soon!