OUR VISION AND MISSION
Heritage Montessori School views early education as a crucial step in fostering a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. We see children as valuable and competent individuals who have a voice. They are innately curious, imaginative, and eager to build relationships. The teachers role is to be a partner, a careful and thoughtful observer, guiding students toward a greater understanding of self-selected topics. By allowing children to make decisions about their learning, we show them learning means experiencing joy, wonder and frustration. We show them they matter, that they have a place in this world. We show them that if they persevere they will succeed. They will do amazing things if we give them the freedom to be themselves.
At Heritage Montessori School our mission is to empower children to confidently embark on an endless quest for knowledge. Our individually tailored, research-based curriculum cultivates intellectual, social, emotional and creative growth. Throughout the process of guided inquiry, children authentically develop a vast array of academic, problem solving, and social skills. We strive to establish a strong foundation upon which children can build lifelong success.
REGGIO EMILIA PHILOSOPHY
“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can
strengthen learning how to learn.”
The foundation of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is the belief that children are intrinsically capable individuals who are self-motivated to guide and construct their own learning.
THE HUNDRED LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN
The most central guiding principle of the Reggio philosophy is the belief that children have at least a hundred ways to express their thinking, discover, and learn. They use these languages: drawing, painting, modeling, imaginative play, sculpting, music, dance, to creatively demonstrate their understanding. These languages, or ways of learning, emphasize hands-on discovery and allow children to use all their senses to make meaning about their world.
THE THIRD TEACHER
Organized and visually stimulating indoor and outdoor environments are crucial aspects of inspiring children to explore and create. A Reggio inspired classroom is filled with natural light and purposeful materials that are ever-evolving. It fosters collaboration, communication and creativity.
COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION
The Reggio approach places a strong emphasis on collaboration. Through a respectful exchange of thoughts, observations, questions, and ideas children, teachers and parents all contribute to the learning process. Children are encouraged to use language to explore, investigate and reflect on their experiences. These daily interactions allow them to develop an understanding of themselves and their world.
To track learning progressions, children’s thoughts, questions and projects are carefully documented through transcripts, photos, and videos. All forms of documentation are used to communicate with parents and display the child’s inquiry process in each subject area.
TEACHER: RESEARCHER & GUIDE
The Reggio Approach is child-led. The role of the teacher is to observe children, listen to their questions and stories, identify their interests and then provide opportunities to explore these interests in more depth. Projects are ever-evolving and lead to new investigations.
"Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potential."
Dr. Montessori, Italy’s first female physician in the early 1900’s, dedicated her life to the scientific study of children, observing how they develop and learn. She discovered that young children have the unique ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, which she called the absorbent mind. They are sensorial explorers, tirelessly interacting with the environment via their senses, teaching themselves rather than being passively “taught” by the teacher. In order to be happy, the children should be allowed to explore and discover.
Our classrooms cultivate an environment where the children are free to exercise their natural drive to work and learn. The child’s inherent love for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous and meaningful hands-on activities under the guidance of a trained teacher. Through their work the children develop concentration, coordination and discipline. In an atmosphere of peace, calm, order and respect, the children progress at their own pace according to their own abilities during these crucial early years of development.
At Heritage Montessori School, children of mixed age (3-6 years old) work together in the same classroom for a period of three years to encourage individual, social and academic development. This mixed age setting allows younger children to learn from their older peers while simultaneously allowing the older students the opportunity to reinforce their knowledge by sharing it with others.
Heritage Montessori School is a place where children discover the joys of learning, develop social and intellectual discipline and lay the foundation for a happy, harmonious and productive life. Each child’s unique personality is encouraged. Each child is respected and appreciated as an important member of our community.
Director / Lead Teacher
Heritage Montessori School the culmination of a dream I have been fostering since I first began working with children more than 18 years ago.
With a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior (University of CA, Irvine) and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction (ASU), I have been working with children in many different settings for over 18 years.
The depth and breadth of my background teaching and working with diverse student populations has allowed me to gain a well-rounded perspective. My experiences have ranged from teaching in a rural setting in New Hampshire, working with underprivileged children in central Phoenix, aiding preschool children with Autism at the Pyramid Autism Center in California, to researching ADHD in California as an undergrad and Australia as a Fulbright Fellow.
It is my belief that the more you know about a student, the better equipped you are to meet their individual needs. I work to integrate the interests, diverse cultures and backgrounds of my students into to the curriculum. Implementing a student-centered, play-based approach, communicating high expectations, and offering many opportunities for choice and cooperative learning ensures the curriculum is accessible to all children. My passion is to light a fire in children, showing them there is wonder all around just waiting to be discovered.
My name is Bri Bowlus and I am a lead teacher at Heritage Montessori.
I have been in early childhood education for 6 years with children ranging from 2 to 6 years old. I have a bachelors from NAU in elementary education with additional certification in early childhood. The world of early learners is my jam- there’s no where else I’d rather be. I believe school for all ages is meant to be magical, playful, and at least a little bit messy!
When I’m not thinking of ways to incorporate sticks and river rocks into our lessons, I am home with my son Dean, my husband, our two mischievous cats and a very snacky rabbit.