Great Beginnings Programming
"Education today, in this particular social period, is assuming truly unlimited importance. And the increased emphasis on its practical value can be summed up in one sentence: education is the best weapon for peace." --Maria Montessori
There is a growing understanding that our current institutions, including educational institutions, are not concentrating the world’s most persistent questions: What is a commitment to ecological well-being? How can we foster authentic social justice? How should our culture address violence? How can schools better understand alienation? How can education provide meaning and inspiration for students?
Great Beginnings goes to great lengths to understand and address the new social reality for the next generation. Educational programs, which have so much impact on the ability to effectively deal with these issues, have a particularly strong obligation in this regard.
Our school strives to create an educational environment with a commitment addressing these issues, and setting this foundation by bringing a sense of community – local, regional and global – to the learning process.
Key Components in
Service Learning & Community Involvement
These key components are incorporated into each specific grade level program (toddler, primary and kindergarten).
SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITMENT
FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES
COMMUNITY SERVICE-FIELD TRIPS
A group of students learning winter ecology and exploring the Bridgers on snowshoes.
Great Beginnings provides outdoor educational experiences in combination with modern Montessori. The Montessori philosophy emphasizes the importance of children being in nature, and we use our natural environment to its full advantage. Our goal is to reintegrate childhood with the natural world.
Children need more time outdoors. Part of our philosophy is to give children the opportunity to engage in free, unstructured play in the natural world.
Within nature, children actively develop creativity and imagination as they explore and engage with complex ecological systems.
In outdoor environments, kids build strength, develop self-confidence, and learn to manage risks as they trip, stumble, and explore.
Research shows that the freedom of unstructured time in open space helps kids learn to focus. It also just feels good: Nature reduces stress.
Service Learning & Community Involvement
Great Beginnings connects with local non-profits and our local outdoor environments to allow our children to understand the interconnectedness of our world.
An integral part of the Montessori learning philosophy is empowering children to make the world a better place. Even at toddler age, we offer children opportunities to make a difference. By participating in events like the American Red Cross "Pint-sized Heroes" blood drive, our youngest students begin to understand the power of giving back to their communities and world.
Our school and community connected with 22+ local non-profits in 2018, including: American Red Cross Blood Drive; Montana Raptor Conservation Center; Museum of the Rockies; the Gallatin History Museum; Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture; Reach Inc; Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter; Gallatin Valley Farm to School, and more.
Children visited 18+ mountains and rivers, including: Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park; Missouri Headwaters State Park; Battle Ridge Forest Service cabin and Hyalite Reservoir for the end-of-year camping and family celebration; the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers, and more.
A group of students visiting a local ranch to learn about sustainable agriculture.
Well Rounded Education
The Montessori approach to education is widely recognized as the pedagogy most able to meet the needs of a diverse group of students.
Great Beginnings, as a modern Montessori-focused school, understands the importance of a well-rounded education. In addition to science and technology, we pride ourselves on a robust and integrated world language, music, and arts program that enriches the learning experience for every student, at every level.
Our school culture is one in which the students understand that everyone learns differently. They include and welcome each other, and there is a deep recognition that every child’s unique contributions to our community are honored.
Please check out this article: Ten Big Differences Between Montessori and Traditional Education