Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School is a classic Montessori school that follows both the method and the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. In the spirit of Montessori education, all children are treated with dignity and respect. Care for ourselves, care for others and compassionate activism are the touchstones of beliefs at AGBMS. Here children are encouraged and challenged to develop their own unique gifts. The student/teacher ratio is better than 15:1.
AGBMS was founded in 1986 by a group of dedicated parents and educators whose goal was to build a school where children could experience the very best Montessori education. This specialized school offers an individualized learning experience and an enriched curriculum including fine arts.
Teachers are certified by the Illinois State Board of Education and the American Montessori Society. The school serves as an official practicum and observation site for Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, National Louis University, and Illinois State University. It is also affiliated with and designated as a model by the American Montessori Society. AGBMS is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Alexander Graham Bell and his deaf wife, Mabel Hubbard Bell, invited Dr. Montessori to America to help them establish Montessori Education in America. The Bells started one of the first Montessori schools in the parlor of their home. Mabel Bell was one of the teachers.
Alexander Graham Bell is known to have invented the first telephone; but, he also was a teacher of the deaf. His father worked with deaf children and taught them to speak. This was unheard of in that day. Many of his scientific experiments were driven by his desire to see deaf children speak.
With all this information, our school was named after Alexander Graham Bell because of his desire to have a better education for all students in America and because of his desire to have better opportunities for deaf children. This was also the desire of the founders of our school.
In addition to the typical Montessori programming, AGBMS provides an oral education program for deaf and hard of hearing children, using a technique called Cued Speech to enhance their ability to acquire age-appropriate literacy skills.
Children who are deaf or hard of hearing are mainstreamed with the general population and receive additional services from the Deaf Services Team, which is determined by the child's IEP (Individual Education Program). This provides all students with an unique opportunity to experience diversity and inclusion. This unique AGBMS program is operated in cooperation with Alternatives in Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (AEHI).
The goal of a Montessori education is to foster competent, responsible, adaptive citizens who are lifelong learners and problem solvers. Students are encouraged to exercise their natural curiosity, and are guided through the classic Montessori curriculum by their teachers. Rather than acting as passive receptacles for information, children learn through hands-on work with materials and interaction with others.
In a Montessori environment, all aspects of the child are considered. Physical, emotional, social, aesthetic, and cognitive needs are treated with equal importance. Learning takes place through the use of a large and flexible array of learning materials and activities, which allows teachers to customize the educational experience to the individual child’s interest, skills, and developmental stage.
Montessori classes are comprised of children of a range of ages - typically a spread of three years. This allows children to learn from each other, fosters cooperation, and respects differences in development stages. Schedules provide large blocks of uninterrupted time for children to problem solve, develop new ideas, and make interdisciplinary connections. Throughout it all, respect and care for oneself, for others, and for the environment is emphasized as a critical part of education.
About our Curriculum
An extremely low student/teacher ratio
We have one adult for every 15 students.
U.S. average for public elementary schools is one teacher for every 18 students.
U.S. average for private elementary schools is one teacher for every 16 students.
A flexible program to accommodate individual differences
We have flexible grade levels within developmental ranges (ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15).
Our curriculum expands in response to your child's needs in each developmental stage.
Each elementary child consults with the teacher to negotiate a unique path through the curriculum.
Each elementary child participates in creating significant parts of his/her own goals.
Motivated students develop their own interests
Our classrooms are planned in advance to support and promote independent, student-initiated project work.
Children acquire knowledge by working with hands-on projects.
Children answer their own questions through discovery.
Each child engages in individual and paired research projects beginning in first grade. This enhances the child's motivation to work with and go beyond the hands-on materials.
An environment that promotes self development
We emphasize one-to-one relationships between each child and the teacher.
Communication is based on mutual understanding. Children are guided to treat each other with respect.
There is a daily balance of individual project work, small group cooperative work, small group lessons, and large group lessons.
Social interaction is promoted in the classroom within the context of the children's normal academic time.
A program that builds self-confidence
Each child works as long as needed during extended periods of uninterrupted time. The teacher is present to work as a consultant and facilitator.
The children work on projects and use the teacher as a consultant to help them reach their goals.
The children reinforce their knowledge by working repeatedly on logically connected projects to satisfy their curiosity and build their own sense of competence.
The child's rhythm of work is accepted and encouraged.
Self-esteem rises from the child's authentic pride in their own accomplishments.
Young children discover mistakes through feedback given by the project materials rather than by the teacher. Older children are given the opportunity to identify and correct their own mistakes.
Instead of judging and correcting, the teacher advises the use of different complimentary project materials.
About Our Green Facility
Montessori isn’t simply academics, it’s a way of life. Children in Montessori learn more than just math and reading -- they learn how to take care of themselves, each other, and their environment. In addition to keeping the classroom clean and caring for our plants and animals, children in our new “green” facility are taught the importance of caring for the larger environment – our planet Earth.
Our building, built according to U. S. Green Building Council standards for LEED certification, helps children learn how to efficiently use precious resources, such as electricity and water. These special features of our building help protect the environment:
“No-mow” grass. Our grass is a special seed that grows so slowly, it only needs cutting once a year – and never needs to be watered. This saves water and reduces the fumes (and noise!) from lawnmowers.
Water-efficient bathrooms. Our dual-flush toilets and sensor-controlled faucets means we only use water we absolutely need – nothing is “wasted.”
White roof. It’s not just a color preference – our white roof reflects excess heat, reducing the “heat island” effect that warms the atmosphere around school.
We use the rain! Rain barrels around the school collect rain water that the children use to water the outdoor garden – each classroom has one!
Solatube Natural Daylighting fixtures. These special fixtures reduce the use of electricity by providing natural light to the classrooms. The children are aware of when lights are not needed. In addition, all lights are set on automatic sensors so that they turn off when no one is in the room.
Ample insulation. Glass and masonry provide lots of insulation so we can keep the heat turned low and still stay warm.
Energy recovery ventilators. These allow fresh air to be brought into the building while recovering up to 88% of the energy in the “old” air before it is exhausted to the outside.
Sensor-controlled heating and cooling systems. Both our heat and air conditioning systems automatically sense when rooms are vacant and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Recyling – of course! We recycled 85% of the waste from our building’s construction – and recycle paper, glass, and plastic throughout the school.
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Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, preference or identity; or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.