EWMS History and Philosophy
In the Beginning
Since its founding by Lillian A. Shah and Penny Contractor in 1971, the Elementary Workshop Montessori School has grown from a small class of 28 students housed in St. Mary’s rectory to abo
ut 75 children using the spacious and well-equipped three-story building we show off with pride. The present school is
the result of the work and love of many parents, teachers, friends, board members, and students who have planned, carried, painted, collected, and created the ELEMENTARY WORKSHOP MONTESSORI SCHOOL. EWMS is our school in a way few other schools can be – ours because our dreams and frustrations, our work and laughter, our pride and our hearts are built into every inch of it.
The Elementary Workshop Montessori School’s vision is to develop life-long learners who:
Can live confidently in a continuously changing world
Are armed with knowledge and problem-solving skills
Are able to address new challenges with true creativity
Are caring and sensitive toward others
Will honor their obligations as world citizens
We are guided by the Montessori philosophy and methods to:
Free the child’s potential for self-development through increasingly complex sensory, motor, and intellectual activities;
Stimulate the child’s development through individual tasks and communal activities in a multi-age environment;
Guide each child’s learning based on a child’s innate readiness for physical, mental, emotional, and social development;
Provide an environment that protects the learning process, promotes creativity, encourages self-discipline, and prepares the child for abstract intellectual decisions.
We foster close connections between the learning environment and home. Parent involvement is achieved through informal education, parent-staff cooperation, patent participation in Elementary Workshop activities, and by encouraging the use of Montessori methods at home.
We advocate educational excellence, employing an experienced, highly trained, sensitive and responsive staff. We respect the high calling of working with children and give full support to our staff.
We openly seek and honor ethnic, cultural, religious, and economic diversity in the life of the Elementary Workshop family and in the global nature of the environment.
We offer a safe and comfortable learning environment at a location easily accessible to diverse populations in the surrounding urban and suburban communities.
EWMS Purpose and Philosophy
The purpose of the Elementary Workshop Montessori School is to provide the highest quality education in a diverse, cohesive academic environment. In the Montessori tradition we foster each child’s joy in learning and enable each child’s fullest development.
Young children have an intense desire to learn and they have unusual ability to absorb and learn from their environment. The school must foster what is natural, unique, and authentic in children. Since the best preparation for being a happy and useful adult is to live fully as a child, the school must be a community where children can exist first and foremost as children and not as future adults.
At the Elementary Workshop Montessori School we assume the responsibility for finding the most effective ways to teach young children. This requires us to understand them, to know what is of vital interest to them, and to be aware of their many different ways of learning. It also means that we like them and always view them in a positive light. If quality education is to become a priority, it is important to provide good models, and over the years the Elementary Workshop Montessori School has gained recognition as an outstanding educational and teacher training center. Children are educated well here. They are at ease. As they explore and learn and make mistakes, their dignity remains intact. Pleasant and childlike, they grow and bloom in this extraordinarily right place we have made for them.