Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy, built her educational methods on scientific observation of the child. Montessori’s findings revealed that children are naturally eager to learn, and ready to take in all they can from a properly prepared environment. Such an environment invites the child to explore and choose the work that fosters learning.
According to Montessori, a child learns by doing. To learn, children need more than a book and a lecture; they need to participate in their own learning through the use of all five senses. A child needs to work at their own pace and be free to explore their own interests while challenging themselves. This active engagement allows them to explore, discover, and problem solve - all key elements in the learning process.
Each Montessori classroom is a community in which children share their experiences and discoveries with each other. The Montessori prepared environment builds independence, concentration and self-motivation. A teacher trained in the Montessori method will allow each child to pursue purposeful activity, while also guiding their learning experience. Each lesson is designed to guide the child toward a love of learning.
For over 50 years, children have been thriving at Arcadia Montessori.
Arcadia Montessori was first conceptualized in 1972, when Judy Pemberton sought to provide a better way to educate not only her own preschool-aged children, but all children. The options for such an education were limited at the time. “There were so many things that I wanted to do, that I believed in and felt,” Pemberton said. “And yet, there were so many restrictions and rules on how children should learn.”
Pemberton obtained her Montessori certification and used it to guide her in the creation of something meaningful. She combined the Montessori method with her maternal instincts and the beliefs she already held about children and how they learned. “I considered each child as an individual needing to learn at their own pace.”
Arcadia Montessori began in a small room rented from a local church. There, Pemberton taught her first small class.
“I was a fish out of water, just jumping in,” she recalls.
The school grew as fast as her own children, and soon both needed a new place to live. She settled on a house in the Arcadia Neighborhood, 5115 E. Virginia Avenue. The house was then home to her young family, and her 25 students.
Over the years, the demand for Montessori education grew, as did the school. In 2022, Arcadia Montessori expanded to a second campus on 52nd Street, just half of a mile away. This new campus welcomes infants, toddler, and primary students.
Today, Arcadia Montessori welcomes more than 165 students each year. Our Virginia Ave campus features four Toddler classrooms and three Primary classrooms. Our 52nd Street Campus feature one Infant room, one Toddler room, and three primary rooms. The school provides growing gardens for each classroom, beautiful outdoor patios, playgrounds, and outdoor water activities for summer recreation. In addition to core the Montessori curriculum, students enjoy physical education, yoga, music, art, piano, and even Phoenix Zoo days.
“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” - Maria Montessori