Casa del Niño began as a spark between two Montessori teachers who taught together in a Primary classroom. One of the teachers, Ms. Ana Mariela Barnes (right), was a native of Chile, with a background in business and education. After teaching public high school in Nevada, she earned her Montessori certificate and began teaching Primary education. The other teacher, Ms. Natalie Busch (left), was practically raised in the Montessori school where her mother worked! Natalie obtained her Montessori certificate at a young age and has spent the past 15 years fostering children’s curiosity about their world. Together, Mariela and Natalie formed an amazing team. After working together for a few years, they decided to open their own school. Motivated to give each of their daughters a bilingual Montessori education, and realizing there wasn’t one in the area, they opened Casa del Niño.
Casa Del Niño’s Whole School Values
1. BILINGUALISM: We believe every child possesses a natural desire to learn a second language, and that he or she will become fully bilingual after 6 years of bilingual education with native-speaking teachers at our school. We believe that each child’s education as a whole is enhanced when learning and communicating in two languages, and that children thrive and excel in our bilingual classroom environments in which English and Spanish are spoken, written, and read on a daily basis.
2. THE MONTESSORI METHOD: We apply the Montessori method throughout our school, and our lead teachers are AMS or AMI certified. The essence of the Montessori method is to promote the joy of learning. As Dr. Montessori taught, we believe in the worthiness, value and importance of all children. Her method does not compare a child to norms, other children, or standards like traditional educational systems. It is founded on the belief that children should be free to learn without restriction or criticism. We practice Dr. Montessori’s principles and teachings in order to bring forth the gift of each child.
3. STUDENT INDIVIDUALITY: We see each student as a uniquely grown, free spirited, whole individual who works at his or her own pace in a beautiful indoor/outdoor environment intended to foster: creativity, freedom with responsibility, and intellectual, physical, emotional and social growth.
4. RESPECT FOR STAFF: We value and respect our Montessori teachers and assistants as: keen observers of each child’s ongoing development, inspired guides of each child’s daily academic education, and loving mentors who nurture each child’s emotional and social well-being. We value and respect our school’s Director as the central organizer of all school functions, key communicator in all school matters, and the trusted person in charge of the safety, decision-making and leadership of our entire school community.
5. RESPECT FOR PARENTS: We value and respect our parents and their desire to have their children attend a safe, nurturing and peaceful school. We encourage open communication and appreciate parent feedback as we are constantly evolving and improving. We have a school PTO that provides parents with opportunities to get involved and volunteer, Parent Education nights once/quarter on a variety of topics, and Parent Workdays in which parents help with a school project twice per year.
6. CULTURAL AWARENESS: We honor each individual in our community – parents, students and staff – and encourage everyone to share cultural customs, history and languages in the classrooms and at events held throughout the year, such as our International Day of Peace each Fall. We believe awareness of many different cultures expands our students’ hearts and minds and helps them become tolerant and peaceful citizens of the world.
7. CARE OF ENVIRONMENT: We treasure our school environment, local community and Mother Earth by fostering a love of recycling, reducing and reusing materials for class work. We honor Dr. Montessori’s belief that children love learning with natural classroom materials, and we encourage students’ interactions with nature through: inspiring books about nature, beautiful outdoor environment spaces, and a community garden that our students help cultivate on a regular basis.