New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Montessori For All focuses on growing the whole child; part of this effort entails helping children understand human development.

Montessori For All is an organization that is trying to cultivate leaders of the future through an innovative and personalized model. This mission leads us to consciously consider how our model helps the whole child to grow: academically, socially, emotionally, culturally, linguistically, and physically. Part of growing the whole child entails helping children understand human development—including puberty, sexual intercourse, responsible choices, the difference between sex and gender, etc.

At Montessori For All, our intent is to start these conversations young. Given children’s exposure to media, children often start these conversations among themselves at earlier and earlier ages. As a means of helping children receive accurate information about human development from trusted adults, we are designing a program that starts with four-year-olds. By reaching some of our youngest children with factual, age-appropriate curriculum, we can attempt to inoculate against the inaccurate or disrespectful information they may receive from peers or media.

The program we are currently designing uses anchor texts to guide all of the trusted adults in a child’s life and to help them use a common language. Grounding this portion of our model with anchor texts also helps establish expectations and create a shared understanding between the classroom and home. Here are the books that our team worked together to select:

If You Were Born a Kitten book

PK4 Spring:
If You Were Born a Kitten
(child reads with family)

Where babies come from book

Kindergarten Spring:
Where Do Babies Come From?
(child reads with family)

How You Were Born book

1st Grade Spring:
How You Were Born
(read in class, brought home to families)

What Makes a Baby book

2nd Grade Spring:
What Makes a Baby
(read in class, brought home to families)

It's Not the Stork book

3rd Grade Spring:
It’s Not the Stork
(read in class, brought home to families)

It's So Amazing book

4th Grade Spring:
It’s So Amazing
(read in class, brought home to families); ages 7+

It's Perfectly Normal book

5th + 6th Grade Spring:
It's Perfectly Normal
(read in class, brought home to families); ages 10+

In the earliest levels, the family is the first exposure to these ideas. By lower elementary, the idea is that teachers begin using these books as read aloud. The books are also sent home to families for follow-up.

Our goal is to create a supportive partnership between home and school that surrounds children with developmentally-appropriate, accurate information that helps them better understand themselves, others, and the world.

Access the draft of our program here.

Sara Cotner headshot

Sara Cotner

Founder & CEO, Montessori for All

Sara Cotner has cultivated broad and deep insight into educational reform as a Teach For America national staff member, the founder of an independent consulting firm, an adjunct professor, and a teacher in various environments, including charter, traditional districts, and public Montessori. She started Montessori For All in 2011 to help children in diverse communities gain access to a high-performing, authentic Montessori school.