About Eagle Peak

Introduction and Welcome

Thank you for your interest in Eagle Peak Montessori. Those of us who have made the choice to be a part of Eagle Peak all have stories of the impact that it has made in in each of our lives.

This is a magical place in many ways. We have worked together to create a unique environment that celebrates and advances the autonomy and responsibility that being a Montessori Charter School offers us. Not unlike the “freedom within limits” that we provide our students in the classroom, the charter system allows us to provide a FREE Montessori education that holds true to the Montessori training and beliefs within the expectations of the educational standards and accountability of the public school system.

We hope that you find the information on our site helpful and that it leads you to envision your family as a part of the Eagle Peak Montessori Community.

Sincerely,

Michelle Hammons, Principal

Eagle Peak Montessori School

History of Montessori Education

Maria Montessori was a physician and an anthropologist. She applied her training as an impartial observer and analyst to the study of child development. She noted that individual children develop in much the same way that humans, as a group, have developed. Children use their natural tendencies to explore, communicate, and perfect skills in order to meet their basic needs and to adapt to the conditions around them, thereby contributing to their society.

Children, like society, develop in stages. Dr. Montessori’s experiments determined that by preparing environments appropriate to a child’s stage of development, the child’s innate desire to learn was not hampered. Adults in these environments connect children with materials and experiences which allow them to develop mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Dr. Montessori continued her observations and experiments throughout her life. Dr. Montessori trained adults from around the world. Her hope was that by allowing children to develop to their fullest potential, their contributions to society would lead to a peaceful world. Her philosophy of showing respect to children by preparing environments of materials, experiences, and attitudes suited to the characteristics of each stage of development is the foundation of Montessori training and practice today.

Dr. Montessori opened her first “school” outside of Rome in 1907, The Casa dei Bambini. She later worked in India, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. Montessori schools thrive in countries on five continents. It is estimated that there may be over one hundred thousand Montessori schools worldwide. Although initially, Montessori education in the United States was primarily in the private sector, by 1976 the first two public Montessori schools opened.

There are over five thousand Montessori schools in the United States. Ninety years of international success is the reason Montessori philosophy continues to attract parents, children and educators today. At Eagle Peak, we continue her effort to create a peaceful world. For articles on Montessori education, visit The Montessori Foundation.

History of Eagle Peak

The concept of starting a charter Montessori elementary school in central Contra Costa County began in 1998 with a dedicated group of Montessori parents and educators who didn’t want the Montessori experience to end when children completed kindergarten. Led by Krista Ericson an experienced Montessori teacher and school operator, the group rolled up their sleeves and began researching the process, honing their vision and mission, writing the charter, and getting it approved. Working closely with district personnel, a group of 10 to 15 people met regularly, divided various tasks, and rode the roller coaster with dedication and determination even after initially being denied, until the charter was approved in March 2000 by a unanimous vote of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District School Board.
Once the charter was approved, the hard work began of securing a facility, hiring staff and recruiting students. Eagle Peak Montessori officially opened in August of 2001 with 2 classrooms and 60 students. Throughout the first four years of the school, one classroom was added each year until we reached full capacity with three lower and two upper elementary classrooms in the fall of 2004. A new structure was built and inaugurated in January of 2014, and the AP classroom was completed in August 2014. We are proud that our enrollment stands at over 200 students. Lower elementary classrooms serve children in grades 1 through 3. The three upper elementary classrooms serve children in grades 4,5, and 6 and the Adolescent Program classroom that began in 2014 serves children in grades 7 and 8.

Why Eagle Peak Montessori does not have Kindergarten

Eagle Peak Montessori has made the conscious choice to not serve students who would be considered Kindergarten age. Dr. Maria Montessori’s educational methodology was based on her extensive observations of children. These observations produced her theories about developmental planes and the appropriate age groupings for instruction.  The First Plane of development was 0-6 but grouped in Infant/Toddler and 3-6 year olds. California does not yet have free education provided for all children ages 3-6 (Pre-K/K). Therefore,  in keeping with the educational philosophy at Eagle Peak Montessori, which believes in the theories put forth by Dr. Montessori, we cannot serve either a stand alone kindergarten or a tk/k classroom. We would need to be able to serve the full component of 3, 4, and 5 year old students in one classroom.
Our hope is that California will move forward as other states have, in offering free public school education to children under the age of TK/K.