The Children's House at Serenbe is a not for profit independent school based on Maria Montessori's principles of human development, coupled with ideology of maximizing human potential. Currently we serve children ages 3 to 10 years of age. We have two communities: Primary for children ages 3 to 6+ and Elementary for children 6 to 10+. Children are individually taught and work, progress each at their own rate. We do not follow traditional grades, testing, promotion or holding back based on age/accomplishment. Therefore children can and do progress at their own rate. Children move from Primary to Elementary when they are ready (social, emotional and academic components all come into play). The relationship between parents, teachers and the school is considered a very important factor in a successful partnership. Communication pathways are clear, open and parents are asked to observe regularly during the school year and meet with teachers at least two times a year in more formal conference times, where narrative composite descriptions, observations, recommendations are shared and discussed.
The school was founded in 2010. It is nestled in the sustainable community of Serenbe in the beautiful countryside of Chattahoochee Hills. The Children's House, while a separate entity from the development company of Serenbe, works closely in both vision and execution of a green, sustainable model of conscious living.
How can we engage and spend more of our school hours in the beautiful land surrounding us?
We currently rent space in what was built to be retail space. With the economy improving, building is growing at a fast pace in the Serenbe community. We have some restrictions: i.e. school in building not designed to incorporate Montessori indoor/outdoor classroom space that we currently are addressing. Our master plan is to have permanent home in new build out space; this will probably occur over the next 2 to 3 years. We have the support of the Serenbe community as they call us "their neighborhood school". Our restrictions are being on an increasingly busy (construction and vehicles) street, including retail next to and across the street from us. We are finding ways to take classroom activities out of doors, working with the younger children out of doors with newly hired nature educator and the Elementary aged students work at the Farm, as volunteers on a weekly basis.
The conversation started towards the end of last school year and we continue to speak to it and ask ourselves how can we engage even more, be a presence in our community and also build bridges with others in our community.
On a side note, we have moved the school from bringing in lunches twice a week from more "franchised" to working with a local chef who is now making wonderful, farm to table lunches, which we serve family style two days a week.
As a Montessori school, our basic methodology is based on time and scientifically proven principles in use for over 100 years. The foundational tenets of treating one another with respect and acknowledging the fundamental work of construction of the human allows and asks us to continually seek the best for each individual. This from teacher to student, from administrator to faculty member, from school to each parent/guardian, guides us in our daily interactions.
The school is a relatively small one in a small setting. About half of the students live in the Serenbe community and half live in communities nearby. Despite the distribution, I have to say this is the closest knit feeling community I've probably ever encountered in my 40 years of education. Parents help each other out at the drop of the hat. There's a strong sense of "family"….more of a small town feel than what I've experienced in bustling, sprawling Atlanta metro schools. This is a tribute to many things, but I feel that it has been consciously developed based on the feeling of community that Serenbe is founded upon.