Our vision is to develop the human potential.
"Free the child's potential and you will transform him to the world."
- Maria Montessori
Welcome to Montessori On The Lake! Since our doors opened in 1988, we have been a proud part of the Orange County community. I have been with the school for over 20 years and love seeing our children grow and flourish in our school and beyond.
A Montessori foundation allows freedom of exploration, a love for learning, and confidence for the child to become an independent adult.
We strive to implement an individualized child-centered curriculum that includes movement, manipulation and discovery within a multi-age classroom. We facilitate the delivery of that curriculum in a manner that instills a sense of wonder about the universe and the child’s place in it.
Our success is in partnership with each of our families, encouraging active participation in their children’s education. Parent involvement is the inspiration that fires a love of learning.
We endeavor to extend the classroom out into the community, creating a web of exchange among community members, family and teachers - ultimately inspiring that child to become a global citizen.
We strive to inspire academic excellence and to nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination. The Montessori philosophy encourages children to be independent, responsible and self-motivated.
Often, in even the best of traditional educational thinking, the student is viewed as a passive object. We believe instead that the most profound learning takes place when the process of education is linked to experiences, interests and capacities of the individual student.
When students are encouraged to use their own interests to engage with the subject matter, they work ambitiously, take greater responsibility for their endeavors, care deeply about their studies and are able to remember and apply what they have learned. We work with each student to develop an individual educational plan.
Our objective is to offer an academic program for our community that encourages children to learn at their own pace and enjoy learning and to offer our community a choice in education for their children. While our program fosters academic achievement, the atmosphere minimizes stress and competition and accentuates each child's strengths and successes over weaknesses.
What is the average tenure of your teachers? (teacher turn over)We have an established group of senior staff who have worked at Montessori on the Lake for a decade or more, including four original staff members who started our school with us in 1988. We have very low teacher turn around and our senior members work in all areas including infants, preschool, elementary and administration. Occasionally when we do have a teacher resign, we do our best to bring a new teacher in slowly and have them overlap with the resigning teacher for a two week period. All Lead teachers and teacher’s assistants work full time, five days per week to keep proper consistency in the class room.
What are your teacher qualifications?Each class from Infants through Elementary has a lead teacher that is fully qualified to teach the Montessori Method. If required, depending on the age group, there is an assistant teacher(s) that meets state requirements to facilitate the Lead teacher with the class. We have a close affiliation with Monarch Bay Montessori which is the home of the Montessori Teacher Academy, a Teacher Education Program that instructs and certifies adults in the Montessori Method of Education. The Montessori Teacher Academy is affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS), is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) and is licensed to operate by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. Most of our teachers received their Montessori Teaching Certification through the Montessori Teacher Academy although our senior staff had trained previous to its inception. We require all our Elementary staff to have a college degree. Preschool, Infant and Toddler teachers meet the requirements outlined by the Community Care Licensing division of the Department of Social Services. All staff have had reference and background checks, fingerprinting and health requirements.
What makes Montessori on the Lake different?Our school is located on a large private lake, with all six playgrounds situated overlooking the lake. Our scenery includes over twenty fruit trees, grapevines, real and artificial grass, ducks, turtles, geese, fish, and various birds. The most common thing our parents would tell you is that our teachers made their child’s experience extra special in a way that they will remember throughout their life. They made them feel like they had a second home away from home, and helped them to overcome whatever hurdles or obstacles presented themselves during the time that they were students here at Montessori on the Lake. We offer a rare combination of elite education, immersive learning, and a unique setting that result in an unforgettable experience.
What is your lunch and snack policy?We are not currently offering snacks in compliance with COVID regulations. Parents provide lunch each day which can be cold food like a sandwich or it can be a “warm up” - food in a container that can be microwaved before eating. We have a “NO SUGAR” policy which states that sweeteners must not be listed in the top five ingredients. This also includes natural desserts, jello, and sugarless candies or sweets.
What happens if my child gets sick at school?If the child becomes ill while at school, the parent is called on the phone and is required to pick the child up as soon as possible. The child must stay home until all symptoms of illness have subsided for a minimum of 72 hours. Guidelines include fever of 100 degrees or more, vomiting, diarrhea, unidentified rash, possible conjunctivitis (pink eye), severe headache or cold and flu symptoms.
Where do graduates go when they move on from Montessori on the Lake to other schools?We have had graduates apply and be accepted at many prestigious private high schools in our area. Our graduates have attended Sage Hill, Santa Margarita Catholic High School, J Serra, and the Orange County High School of the Performing Arts. MOTL students that have gone on to attend M.I.T., Simon’s Rock College of Bard, Cal Poly SLO, Purdue University, USC, UC Berkeley, Bennington College, Colorado State, to name a few, as well as local colleges. Younger students who move to public elementary schools frequently qualify for GATE and Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
Is there a multi-sibling discount?Absolutely! We offer multi-sibling discount for families with 2 or more children in our program. Two children from the same family receives a 5% discount off the oldest child. Three or more children from the same family receives a 20% discount off the oldest child.
Every May since 2005, our school has held an annual Jog-A-Thon to raise money for a charitable organization that inspired us to help people in need. Originally created by long time parent and former director Stacey Constantian, we have continued this tradition. The type of special charitable organization that we look for is one that contributes the monies donated to directly benefit the recipients and not to promote the organization itself. Surprisingly, most charities use 50% or more of their earnings for things other than supporting their cause. The charities listed below are some of the ones that we have donated to over the past 10 years.
One Heart for Hope
One Heart for Hope’s goal is to provide impoverished children the basic necessities of life such as clothing and shelter, and restore their sense of self-worth, reveal their capacity to believe, and to realize all our children's abilities to transform their hopes into reality. They have served over 23,000 street children and families since inception. Their views mirror the Montessori Philosophy, and we are proud to have donated over $14,000.
We raised over $15,000 to bring safe, clean drinking water to developing nations. The unique aspect of this organization that we love is 100% of public donations are used to directly fund water projects in developing countries. They use corporate and private sponsors and organizational fundraisers to fuel the organizations inner workings.
Free Wheelchair Mission
This charity was started by Don Schoendorfer, a friend of our founder, Sarah Smith. After witnessing the struggles of a disabled woman in Morocco, and researching the dilemma of global disability, Don used his Ph.D. from MIT and extensive patent experience to develop a durable, save, inexpensive wheelchair. Our pledges purchased over 100 wheelchairs for people in need across the globe.
Kiva a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Using a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, they help individuals get their lives to a better place where they have a chance for financial independence. Our Jog-A-Thon donated approximately $10,000 to Kiva. Read stories of the many individuals who, through Kiva, have a chance of success.
Our first Jog-A-Thon raised a total of over $20,000. PlayPumps International produced low-tech, low-maintenance water pumps powered by children playing. As children spin on a PlayPumps merry-go-round, clean water rises from the ground source into a storage tank. Each pump supported up to 2,000 people in rural African communities and schools. PlayPumps has since evolved to become Water for People.
Freedom from Hunger
Freedom from Hunger brings innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to the fight against chronic hunger and poverty. Together with local partners, they equip families with resources they need to build futures of health, hope and dignity. We raised and donated over $12,000 to Freedom from Hunger.
We discovered Montessori on the Lake when my son was two, after visiting several preschools. We liked the atmosphere and our son loved his teachers and friends so much that he is now enrolled in 5th grade. Our son is getting an excellent education and we are confident that he will be prepared for high school when he eventually leaves MOTL. I would definitely recommend MOTL to any parent seeking a truly nurturing environment for their child.