Montessori of Winter Haven Charter

We need your help to make Montessori education available tuition-free to K-8 students in Winter Haven.  We are working with the Polk County School Board to open a Montessori charter school, but we need your donations to get us started.  Charter funding does not kick-in until we open the doors of the school. So, all start-up costs including building renovation, supplies, furniture and staff recruitment must be covered by donations.

Who are We?
The Montessori of Winter Haven Founding Group is a team of educators, parents and business people and community leaders who have a passion for our community, our students and Montessori.  We are honored to have the encouragement of the Polk County School Board members and district staff who have voiced that  what we are working toward  is exactly why charter laws were written. 

The mission of Montessori of Winter Haven is to encourage the development of the whole child by providing a comprehensive Montessori education. Montessori of Winter Haven will strive to put children on a path that embraces creativity, builds self-awareness and helps them develop the academic skills, physical tools and personal confidence necessary for lifelong success.

“Within the child lies the fate of the future”
- Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori Difference
Many educators, scientists, and even politicians, have written about educational and developmental models, but nobody has created a complete developmental package like Dr. Maria Montessori did.

The underlying assumption in a traditional classroom is that every student can grasp the same amount of concepts throughout a school year, but anyone who has been in a classroom will tell you that there is no way all the students will be able to work through every lesson at the same pace.

Dr. Montessori believed that school should foster the development and growth of children.  From basic developmental skills, to problem solving, social development, and teamwork.  Students in a Montessori classroom discover their personal motivations and passions, allowing them to discover how the unique interests and talents they bring to the world make them something special.

What does a Montessori Classroom Look Like?
Montessori classrooms are intentional environments, carefully designed to meet the needs of a specific age group.  Lessons and materials are designed to meet how children learn.  They allow for hands on exploration and are highly adaptable to various learning styles. 

Teachers guide students through lessons balancing the academic expectations of the child, while also giving them their own space and allowing them to learn at their own pace.  The day is structured around 3-hour work cycles where students are allowed to move throughout the classroom.  Often a child will find a place to sit and focus on a task, granting them the opportunity to work in a way that makes sense to them, focused on the lesson at hand until they fully grasp it. They are given time and space to focus on individual concepts and really fall in love with the materials, and with learning.

Montessori not only fosters cognitive development, but it also fosters social and emotional development.  There is a deep experience of community in the mixed-aged classrooms environment.  Older children mentor and teach younger students.  They learn social graces from an early age.

Montessori in a Diverse Community
The Montessori lessons are based on the fundamental ways humans learn.  That scientific design coupled with the flexibility of the lessons and methods allows Montessori to work incredibly well in diverse communities because each child is accepted for who they are.  Students are empowered and allowed to function independently while also learning social graces. Regardless of whether students are at-risk, ESE, or have language barriers, all children can achieve academic, social and emotional development in a peaceful, respectful and engaged community.

Why A Charter School?
There are over 22,000 Montessori schools world-wide across 110 different countries.  Montessori is actually the world’s largest pedagogy. This is a tried and true, scientifically based educational method that we want to make available to Winter Haven students.  We have the opportunity to open as a private school, but we are passionate about our belief that tuition should not be a barrier to educational options for all students.

Currently, the only Montessori education opportunities for elementary and middle school-aged children in Polk County are in Lakeland. Montessori of Winter Haven seeks to make Montessori education available tuition-free to Winter Haven students as a public charter school.

We are opening this school because we want to see students in our community, regardless of race, socio-economic status or academic challenges be embraced in their school, be exposed to a method that breaks down barriers to academic progress, and be part of a school environment where they learn to work together, innovate and succeed long-term both academically and personally.  Together — with our team’s expertise and dedication and your support — we can make all of this possible with Montessori of Winter Haven.  

What’s the Game Plan?

The Montessori Work Mat

You could travel to a Montessori school anywhere in the world and you will see Montessori students working at floor mats as well as at child-size tables. The purpose of the floor mats and tables is to define the student’s workspace and to reinforce Montessori’s principle of “freedom within limits”. There is such an element of respect with having that defined workspace and it is something that the students take very seriously.

The Montessori preschool students are shown how to walk around the mats, how to place their work on the mats and how to respect one another’s personal workspace. They also learn that it is never okay to disturb a classmate’s work or join a classmate’s work unless permission is given by that student.

When finished with their work mat, they carefully and neatly roll it and put it away.  

The sense of independence, comfort, respect, and space for learning the work mat represents nicely sums up many of the emotional benefits of a Montessori classroom. We can’t wait to watch students in our community learning, growing and thriving on their very own work mats!

Additional Sponsorship Opportunities
Classroom Sponsor • $20,000
You donation will help cover the costs of Montessori Materials & Lessons for one of our classrooms. You (or your business’) name will be displayed on the door.

Playground Sponsor • $25,000
You donation will help cover the costs of Montessori Materials & Lessons for one of our classrooms. You (or your business’) name will be displayed on the door.

School Sponsor • $200,000
The school sponsorship donation will cover many crucial needs. The sponsor will be offered a seat on the board of directors & the option to have the school carry your name.*               *Subject to Founding Board Approval

Want to Learn More?

Forbes: The Future of Education Was Invented in 1906

Guardian UK: How Google’s Larry Page Became a Responsible Entrepreneur

Business Insider: 7 Tech Innovators Who Became Wildly Successful After Attending Montessori School

Korn/Ferry Institute: What do P. Diddy, Sergey Brin, and Peter Drucker have in common? Maria Montessori Stands At The Head Of The Class

Harvard Business Review: Montessori Build Innovators

Board Members:

Katrina Hill
[phone redacted]
[email redacted]

Karen Winningham
[phone redacted]
[email redacted]

Tasha Keppler
[phone redacted]
[email redacted]

Melissa Davis
[phone redacted]
[email redacted]


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Katrina Hill 
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