All learning begins in wonder. The wonder of a child as he encounters God’s creation is the awakening of his desire to know, to love, and to serve his Creator. A child’s first encounter with the wonder of creation is in the family, and a child’s first and final school is the home. Before long, however, children begin to reach for experiences beyond the home and family.
The St. Jerome Academy Montessori Children’s House serves children aged 18 months – 6 years old as they begin to explore the world outside of their homes. Both the Toddler and Primary rooms provide beautiful, peaceful spaces for children to pursue their natural human desire for knowledge. They are guided by teachers who are themselves filled with the wonder and joy that come from observing the children at work. Our teachers are lovers of wisdom who devotedly commit themselves to the pursuit of all that is good, beautiful, and true.
The St. Jerome Academy Children’s House strives to authentically embody Maria Montessori’s methods, as defined by the Association Montessori Internationale. However, it goes beyond A.M.I.’s rigorous academic standards of excellence by also emphasizing the distinctively Catholic anthropology at the foundation of Maria Montessori’s insights. The Montessori method stripped of Montessori’s spiritual vision is not a full realization of what Montessori intended. The St. Jerome Children’s House preserves the full integration of spiritual, physical, and mental learning in everything that it does, but especially in the Atrium – a space devoted to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. In the Atrium, children encounter joyfully the treasures of the Catholic faith, laying a firm foundation for a virtuous and faithful life.
The St. Jerome Academy Children’s House is also unique because it works in partnership with St. Jerome Academy, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington’s classical school. This means that the St. Jerome Academy Children’s House is the only parochial Montessori school in the United States designed to realize the harmony between the Montessori method and a classical curriculum.
Both Montessori and the classical curriculum are founded in the recognition that the true nature of the human is to be found in the Incarnation of Christ, the Word made flesh, which confirmed the dignity of the whole human person – body, mind, and soul. Both ground themselves in transcendent truth and practical wisdom. Both are ordered to the good of the children, guiding them to realize their full potential in themselves, in their families, and in the larger community.
“[O]ur little ones have the impression of continually ‘making discoveries’ in the world about them; and in this they find the greatest joy. They take from the world a knowledge which is ordered and inspires them with enthusiasm. Into their minds there enters ‘the Creation’ instead of ‘the Chaos’, and it seem that their souls find therein a divine exultation.” – Maria Montessori