Located in Lompoc Valley, Santa Barbara County, California, the Children's Montessori School (CMS) is ideally positioned to serve the Lompoc, Vandenberg Village and Vandenberg Air Force areas. CMS also draws families from the Orcutt/Santa Maria and Buellton/ Santa Ynez Valley providing the only school in north Santa Barbara County staffed with Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) trained teachers.
Established in 1981 in classroom space of the First Presbyterian Church, the Children's Montessori School provides an enriched educational environment for children ages 2 through 15 years.
As a non-profit corporation, CMS families raise funds to help keep tuition at an affordable rate, augment classroom materials and projects and support the school's Performing Arts Program that annually produces a Christmas Program and a summer play. The summer play has become a major community event of professional quality lighting, sound, costumes, and choreography that is recorded to produce a DVD of the performance.
The mission of Children's Montessori School is to develop and maintain a Montessori prepared environment in order to enable each child to realize their fullest potential for learning and thereby creating an independent, confident, self-motivated, and contributing member of their community and the world.
This mission is accomplished by:
Trained AMI Montessori guides who adhere to the Montessori principles and are informed of current research on child development and who will implement Christian educational values in the classroom activities.
Showing that all individuals have responsibility toward others and the earth.
Facilitating the involvement of parents, teachers, and students.
Non-discriminatory Policy as to Students
Children's Montessori School recruits and admits students of any sex, religion, race, color, or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities. In addition, the school will not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, race, color, or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, scholarship/loans/fee waivers, educational programs and/or athletics/extracurricular activities.
During the Summer Break of 2023 CMS relocated our facility to 1000 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc, to classroom space in the Peace Lutheran Church. This temporary location will give the school time to develop a permanent site of appropriate size for the school’s needs and a place providing light & open classrooms and a safe and secure facility that is needed for a Montessori environment to flourish.
2007 marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of Dr. Montessori's first classroom. Beginning in 1907 and until her death in 1952 Dr. Montessori developed and refined pedagogical ideas and didactic materials by observing children of different cultures and socio-economic groups in many parts of the world. She found that no matter what background a child grows up in there are consistently the same needs in every child during this developmental period of their lives.
Each child has the need to move, the need to communicate, the need to repeat and perfect abilities and skills, the need to put things in order, to mention just a few. A Montessori classroom with its trained teacher and materials is set up to fulfill these needs and enable a child to develop physical control of his movements, focusing of his attention on an activity in which he is interested, and develop an inner motivation to explore and learn from his environment. The children learn by doing, and they form a community in their classroom, where first they learn care of the materials, second they experience care and concern for their social group and from this, thirdly develop a care of themselves in the form of self esteem and confidence.
She also observed that each child has an internal drive to seek independence. Many people observing the classroom are struck by the fact that the children are moving freely and making choices about what they do. They see calm and courteous behavior where children are counting, washing chairs, reading, drawing, having a snack when they want and being responsible to the group as a whole, i.e. there is a community spirit. They are also struck by the fact that the children are "working," they are focused and concentrated on an activity that has a purpose.
It is this environment that inspires students to become motivated from within to learn and to strive for excellence.
A COMPARISON OF MONTESSORI AND TRADITIONAL EDUCATION from 'The Essential Montessori' by Elizabeth G. Hainstock
Traditional vs Montessori
Textbooks, worksheets and dittos vs Prepared materials with a control of error for self correcting
Single age classrooms vs Three year age span for multi-age classrooms
Individual subjects for each level vs Full curriculum developed for ages 2 to 12, with integrated subjects
Children seated and quiet vs Students active and freely moving and talking
Work motivated by teacher to fit a unit-driven curriculum vs Work motivated by both self-development and social development
Children seek help from teacher vs Children encouraged to help each other
CMS's preschool classrooms are licensed by the California State Dept. of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division. The elementary/junior classroom is registered with the California Department of Education and fulfills all requirements for first through eighth grades.
As Dr. Montessori's principles and materials were accepted she felt the need for a training and information center. Hence, in 1929, Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was formed, in the Netherlands, as a sponsoring organization for training programs that now award diplomas from sites around the world.
CMS's teachers hold a diploma from an AMI teacher training center.
Established in June, 1982, as The Children's School, in classroom space of the First Presbyterian Church on Berkeley Dr., Lompoc, for children ages 2 to 6 years, the program quickly grew and achieved AMI certification status in 1984 and was renamed Children's Montessori School (CMS). In the fall of 1988, CMS was reorganized as a non-profit corporation with 501(C) (3) status and began an elementary program for children from age 6-12 years.
Outgrowing the space in the church, the school relocated to classrooms leased from the Lompoc Unified School District at their Maple High facility (for a brief five months) and then the La Mesa facility in Vandenberg Village in the spring of 1989. Along with the La Mesa classrooms space at the Valley of the Flowers Church accommodated our elementary class for a period of two years.
During this time at the request of several families who did not want to move their 12 years old children into middle school classrooms, we extended our program to include the years up to 15. Then in the fall of 1992 we moved into classrooms at La Mesa where we would remain until the summer of 2007. Then during the following 18 months the school had to be moved three times while awaiting the renovation of the building at 3910 Constellation Rd. which we moved into at Christmas 2008.
Located on the corner of Constellation Rd and Burton Mesa Blvd in a spacious 3200 sq. ft. building and 6000 sq. ft. outside playground/garden area specially designed as a Montessori environment, our current facility fulfills years of wishing and provides a physical site that will allow for the continued development of quality in our program.