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Takeaways from the First Year of Being a Montessori Guide

by Jaime Janiszewski
May 30, 2024
Every step of my journey to becoming a guide has felt fortuitous, and I attribute much of this to the unwavering support of my colleagues, family, and friends. Their efforts, going Continue Reading...

TCH Traditions

by Karin Church
May 16, 2024
As the 40th school year of The Children’s House comes to a close, we prepare to participate in some of the time-tested, community-building, heart-warming traditions that make our school what it Continue Reading...

Fostering a Positive Relationship with Mealtimes

by Annie Botsford
May 2, 2024
If you have spent any time with small children, you have likely experienced a not-so-pleasant mealtime. Perhaps your child refused to eat, threw food, or completely melted down at the table. Continue Reading...

Putting The Brakes on Screen Time

by Kristi Johnson
April 19, 2024
A few months back, Alison Breithaupt wrote a blog post on The Evolution of Guiding, in which she shared her observations of children, throughout her career. At one point, Alison discussed Continue Reading...

Peacemakers of Our Future

by Steve Maas
April 5, 2024
Dr. Maria Montessori addressed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1950. She stated, "It is the young people, the children, upon whom we may base our hopes Continue Reading...

I've Got The Power

by Betsy Bloomquist
March 15, 2024
Power struggles between children and caregivers are a common part of a toddler’s development. Early on they develop a strong sense of order, which helps them make sense of their world. Continue Reading...

Cooking with Young Children and Tools of the Trade

by Agnes Woynarowski
March 1, 2024
Preparing food with children is my favorite activity in the classroom. Seeing their enthusiasm about making food, tasting it, and eating the finished product is very rewarding.  Why is teaching children about Continue Reading...

From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Trip to the South

by Kristina Weidenfeller
February 16, 2024
Video by Tree Sturman, Junior High Guide Last week marks the third time we have traveled to Georgia and Alabama for our “Civil War to Civil Rights” Workshop.  Each visit is a Continue Reading...

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

by Angela Lickiss-Aleo
February 2, 2024
“Where words fail, music speaks”- Hans Christian Andersen Where we have been - This has been a year like no other. While I was preparing to begin my 4th year teaching at The Continue Reading...

Accreditation of an Independent School

by Sandra Besselsen
January 18, 2024
Lower Elementary Classroom
In June 2022, The Children’s House became an accredited member of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS).  Obtaining membership was a lengthy process in which every staff person Continue Reading...

The Ideal Montessori Class Size Might Be Larger Than You Think

by Megan Fellows
January 5, 2024
Traditionally, school quality is judged by class size. Many believe a lower teacher-student ratio means more individualized attention and larger class sizes are thought to be a sign of less instructional Continue Reading...

Incorporating Holidays into the Classroom

by Jeanette Kania
December 15, 2023
In September of 2020, the staff of The Children’s House was privileged to virtually host Britt Hawthorne for an Introduction to Anti-Bias Education. Every time we have an adult learning opportunity Continue Reading...

Life-long, Interesting Learners

by Jamie Schaub
November 30, 2023
When I started my Elementary Montessori training I remember my trainer boldly telling us (maybe even yelling), "You have to be interesting to the children!" She went on to explain that Continue Reading...

A Glimpse Into the Role of Classroom Support Staff

by Brooke Loseke
November 17, 2023
I remember the very first time I stepped into a Montessori Environment. I was touring Intercultural Montessori in Oak Park, IL. I was five months pregnant. The sunlight poured into the Continue Reading...

The Evolution of Guiding

by Alison Breithaupt
November 2, 2023
Being an educator for the past 27 years at The Children's House has taught me a lot about children, parents, and the influence of our changing world on education. First, I Continue Reading...

Celebrating the Harvest

by Andrea Deibler
October 20, 2023
As I settle into my third year at The Children’s House, I finally feel I trust myself to take some of our past traditions and modify them to work with the Continue Reading...

Reading to Learn

by DiAnn Service
October 6, 2023
How does the process of learning to read look in a Montessori classroom? Montessori has what can be called a balanced literacy approach to language. This means that there are both Continue Reading...

Teens; a Reprise of the Toddler Years

by Kristina Weidenfeller
September 22, 2023
Twenty-three years ago when I was starting my career in education, I swore I would teach elementary, maybe high school, but NEVER middle school. My first job? Middle school. They’ve been Continue Reading...

The Value of Strong School/Family Partnerships

by Michele Shane
September 8, 2023
Coming back to school each fall provides a wonderful opportunity for our learners to return to their Montessori prepared environments to connect with one another, the teaching staff, and the work Continue Reading...


by Nadine Elmgren
June 2, 2023
2023 Dance of the Cosmos
In our Montessori classrooms, each child actively collaborates and contributes to the community in unique ways. Each child is an important and valued community member. This beautiful  manifestation is apparent from Continue Reading...

Becoming a Montessori Guide

by Taylor Vancil
May 19, 2023
Becoming a Montessori Guide at any age-group level is a rather significant undertaking in one’s life. Prior to working at the Children’s House, I was a professional athlete. I was fortunate Continue Reading...

Learning Through Joyful Discovery

by Karin Church
May 4, 2023
As Montessori teachers, we are trained to anchor our service to the child in the foundational principle that education should be an “aid to life.” To achieve this lofty, yet practical Continue Reading...

Believing in the Child

by Annie Botsford
April 21, 2023
The role of the adult is not to pave a pathway for the child, but to make sure that the child has what they need to forge their own way. The Continue Reading...

Food Feelings, Choices, and Stigmas

by Britny Tollstam
April 14, 2023
We had a lot of talk in the classroom about candy and treats upon our return from the Easter weekend. I thought this would be a great time to open a Continue Reading...

Movement and Mindfulness

by Steve Maas
April 7, 2023
Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child”. When children are allowed to learn through play they can satisfy their curiosity about the world, learn, and have fun all Continue Reading...

A Path Toward Independence

by Betsy Bloomquist
March 17, 2023
“Help me to do it myself” is a well-known Montessori expression referring to a core component of the philosophy, encouraging and nurturing independence.  In the Young Children’s Community (YCC), independence can be Continue Reading...

Consistency of Expectations

by Agnes Woynarowski
March 1, 2023
It sometimes feels uncomfortable for adults to set up limits and discipline the child. We all carry baggage from our childhood when it comes to memories of being disciplined. The word Continue Reading...

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Children's House

by Michele Shane
February 10, 2023
“Order and discipline must be aimed at the attainment of human harmony, and any act that hinders the establishment of a genuine community of all mankind must be regarded as immoral Continue Reading...

Montessori Junior High: an Education for the Future

by Tree Sturman
February 2, 2023
Northern Michigan Experience
A parent of a current student recently asked us: “If you had to describe Compass Junior High in ten words or less, what would you say?” This question got us thinking Continue Reading...

Cosmic Education

by Sandra Besselsen
January 20, 2023
Dr. Maria Montessori’s development of Cosmic Education came out of her observation of children. She recognized the characteristics of elementary children by how they interacted with one another and listened to Continue Reading...

The Art of Observation

by Megan Fellows
January 6, 2023
Primary student working
The Montessori Method would not exist without Dr. Montessori’s careful and scientific observation of children. Although the first Montessori environment was not designed for an educational experiment, the children revealed new Continue Reading...

Raising Generous, Community-Minded Children

by Jamie Schaub
December 1, 2022
In Montessori classrooms we talk about how we are a community and what that word means. We collaborate, learn to communicate and solve conflicts by listening, and get to know each Continue Reading...

Fanning the Flames of Intrinsic Motivation

by Britny Tollstam
November 18, 2022
A few years ago I developed an interest in woodworking. I purchased some hand carving tools and an instruction book on how to use them. I watched a lot of YouTube Continue Reading...

The Sensitive Periods

by Alison Breithaupt
November 3, 2022
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that children develop at their own pace and according to a series of highly predictable transitory sensitive periods. At each period they are susceptible to aspects of Continue Reading...

Partnering with Families to Raise Exceptional Learners

by Jenny Lamble
October 21, 2022
Think back to when you first considered enrolling your child at The Children’s House. No matter the reason you chose to be here - and surely, there are a million - Continue Reading...

New Name Announced for Downtown Junior High: Compass Montessori Junior High

by Renee Hintz
October 13, 2022
The Children’s House, an independent Montessori school, has renamed its junior high program. It is now named Compass Montessori Junior High and is located at 101 N. Park St.  After expanding its Continue Reading...

Young Children in the Kitchen

by Jeanette Kania
October 6, 2022
Every aspect of the curriculum of the Young Children’s Community culminates within Food Preparation. There are big movements like carrying bowls to and from tables and dish carts. There are small Continue Reading...

Being a Green School and What That Means for You

by Kristina Weidenfeller
September 23, 2022
“The land is where our roots are. Children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the earth.” - Dr. Maria Montessori From Cosmic education in the Elementary to the “erdkinder” Continue Reading...

The More You Know

by Michele Shane
September 8, 2022
Happy 2022-2023 school year!  We are delighted to be welcoming all of the new and returning families for a year of learning and connection. TCH is a community not only for our Continue Reading...

Traditions and Celebrations

by Michele Shane
May 27, 2022
The Children’s House was founded in 1984 in a small farmhouse in Sutton’s Bay. In the early years, the school consisted of one Toddler community and one Primary classroom. When the Continue Reading...

The Language of Encouragement

by Allie Bukowski
May 13, 2022
We often hear the terms “praise” and “encouragement” in a wide variety of school settings. Praise is typically defined as expressing approval or admiration whereas encouragement is a more supportive action Continue Reading...

Freedom and Limits

by Agnes Woynarowski
May 5, 2022
As a parent of a child attending a Montessori school, you have heard the phrase “freedom and limits” many times during conversations with your child’s guide. What does it really mean? Continue Reading...

Supporting Montessori at Home

by Jeanette Kania
April 15, 2022
One of the goals, when we prepare our classroom environments for the children, is to make it like a second home for them. We observe our learners so we can design Continue Reading...

Becoming a Montessorian

by Annie Botsford
March 25, 2022
Over the past two summers, I had the privilege of pursuing my Montessori training. After a summer of virtual training due to COVID-19, this past June I eagerly loaded my Siberian Continue Reading...

Role of the Guide

by Karin Church
March 10, 2022
Why do Montessori schools use the term “guide” instead of “teacher” and how is a guide’s role different from what may be expected of a traditional teacher? Word choice matters and Continue Reading...

Specials in Elementary

by DiAnn Service
February 25, 2022
Many people in our school community attended an elementary school where art, music, and PE were once-a-week opportunities that were earmarked as very special days. Perhaps this is how the term Continue Reading...

The Four Planes of Development

by Nadine Elmgren
February 11, 2022
During recent faculty meetings we've enjoyed lively conversations about how children at each level adapt and explore independence in our classrooms. It is fascinating to take a philosophical topic and see how Continue Reading...

From Concrete to Abstract

by Sandra Besselsen
January 27, 2022
Walking into a Montessori elementary classroom, you will more than likely find a group of children moving beads from tubes to a set of boards, as well as transferring these colorful Continue Reading...

Writing Before Reading

by Megan Fellows
January 13, 2022
Many of us who grew up attending traditional schools learned to read before we learned to write. We were taught the names of letters before learning the sound made by each Continue Reading...

Giving Your Child the Gift of Independence

by Alison Breithaupt
December 16, 2021
Have you noticed that all babies and young children tend to want to do things by themselves? This tendency is the beginning of independence, which promotes confidence and self-esteem as well Continue Reading...

Moving up to Primary

by Betsy Bloomquist
December 3, 2021
Your child’s transition into the world of Primary is an exciting, integral part in their development. The environment that awaits them is larger, filled with wonderful new materials to explore and Continue Reading...

Traveling with Adolescents: It's just that important

by Tree Sturman
November 18, 2021
First, the stats: The Children’s House Jr. High is “on the road” for nearly two months every school year.  Included in our many adventures are two, week-long city trips, one, four-day backpacking Continue Reading...

Student Led Conferencing

by Kristina Weidenfeller
November 5, 2021
Follow the child. They will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves, and what area they need to be challenged in.  —Maria Montessori  Precisely. As Montessorians, Continue Reading...

How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

by Jenny Lamble
October 22, 2021
Parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner. We genuinely care for your child and their development and look forward to our time together. We have lots to share about your child Continue Reading...

How to Observe in a Montessori Classroom

by Melissa Cole
October 8, 2021
The Montessori environment integrates all aspects the child needs to be successful. Mastery over the environment begins when the child becomes aware of their actions in and on the environment and, Continue Reading...

Dr. Montessori and Peace

by Jamie Schaub
September 24, 2021
Student Assembly on International Peace Day
Perhaps you do not know that Maria Montessori lived during both World Wars.  Maybe you do not know that she was involved in the creation of The League of Nations, the precursor Continue Reading...

4 Ways to Integrate Montessori at Home

by Alison Breithaupt
February 26, 2021
Encouraging order, independence, and self-motivation is fundamental to the Montessori approach. At school, carefully designed classrooms allow students to develop competence in caring for themselves and their surroundings. Here are four Continue Reading...

Montessori and the Multi-Aged Classroom

by Karin Church
February 11, 2021
When our daughter joined The Children’s House at sixteen months, one of the biggest takeaways from our initial visit was how very capable she already was at this young age and Continue Reading...

Freedom and Limits

by Nadine Elmgren
January 27, 2021
Joyful learners abound in every classroom at The Children’s House. You can see students happily skipping across the room, some fiercely engaged in their work, while others banter over the nuisances of their Continue Reading...

A Child-Centered Education

by Tree Sturman
January 5, 2021
Dr. Jal Mehta is a Harvard University professor, researcher, and education reform advocate. Like Dr. Maria Montessori, Dr. Mehta believes that schools exist to equitably serve all students, and to help Continue Reading...

We Need More Than Kindness

by Jamie Schaub
November 18, 2020
Dr. Montessori fought for peace among people and nations. She was part of the League of Nations - the predecessor of the United Nations. It is in our training as Montessori Continue Reading...

Learning to Embrace the Struggle

by Jenny Lamble
November 3, 2020
Children naturally want to do things for themselves. Regardless of their age, we have all seen this drive for independence emerge in our children and students. At times, it can feel Continue Reading...

Fostering Independence

by Megan Andrews
October 22, 2020
In a Montessori environment, the goal for children at any age is independence. Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned a world where we live in harmony and are mutually reliant on one another. Continue Reading...

Montessori During COVID-19

by Michele Shane
October 1, 2020
Over the past several months, I have been participating in online forums with other Montessori school leaders where we discuss and collaborate on opening safely during COVID-19 and how to successfully Continue Reading...

Anti-Bias Anti-Racism Education is Montessori

by Michele Shane
September 11, 2020
Maria Montessori taught us to believe in the potential and value of every child. As Montessorians, it is our intention to provide an environment where children and adults alike are seen Continue Reading...


by Colleen Christensen
June 4, 2020
The Dance of the Cosmos celebration has marked the end of the school year every year since the school’s inception in 1984. Obviously, I was looking forward to that day to Continue Reading...

Montessori on Equity

by Michele Shane
June 3, 2020
One of the fundamental and most important aspects of the work of Dr. Montessori was her tireless work toward peace. She believed that the hope for a more peaceful and equitable Continue Reading...

A Space to Grow Food for the Community

by Jamie Schaub
April 8, 2020
Right now we have over 1,500 plants started in the greenhouse that will grow to provide produce to local food pantries.  Since 2017 I have spent my summers helping manage Poesis Farm Continue Reading...

Up to the Challenge

by Karin Church
March 13, 2020
The beauty of the three-year cycle is never more apparent than when the 6th year children attend the Montessori Model United Nations conference in New York. It is not just sixth Continue Reading...

Lettuce Explain

by Kristina Weidenfeller
February 21, 2020
Maybe you’ve seen the glow of the greenhouse in the morning, maybe you’ve seen students running around with lettuce at carline, or maybe you are already a valued TCH Organics customer- Continue Reading...

On the Subject of Homework

by Nadine Elmgren
February 7, 2020
This past week I received an email containing an article about banning homework nationwide from a popular teacher website. The article asked us to weigh in as lawmakers contemplate this controversial Continue Reading...

Creativity in Montessori

by Megan Andrews
January 24, 2020
One of the most challenging parts of being a “Montessorian” is explaining the method to other people. We’ve all tried to come up with the perfect elevator speech and the most Continue Reading...

Social Emotional Learning

by Steve Maas
January 9, 2020
In November 2019, Megan Andrews, Karin Church, and I attended a professional development workshop with Marc Brackett, founder and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The day reminded us Continue Reading...

Digital Technology is Here to Stay

by Steve Maas
December 12, 2019
Over the years, we have hosted several discussions on the topic of child development and digital technology. I continue to be interested in the topic and have recently read books by Continue Reading...

The Work Cycle

by Michele Shane
November 8, 2019
The Montessori work cycle happens in every prepared environment at The Children’s House. Depending on the age group, the work cycle can last from two to three hours in the morning Continue Reading...

Four Calling Birds

by Britny Tollstam
October 24, 2019
That year, I was given the chance to do something I had longed for many times. In September of 2007, I took charge of the Nido program at The Children’s House, Continue Reading...

Self Directed Play

by Steve Maas
October 4, 2019
Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child.” One of my favorite topics is play. I define play as: activity for enjoyment or recreation rather than for serious or Continue Reading...

Human Needs and Tendencies

by Megan Andrews
September 18, 2019
We know Dr. Montessori was a scientist, she observed children and made groundbreaking observations about the way they learn. Perhaps, more admirable is the way she connected childhood to being human. Continue Reading...

Grace and Courtesy

by Michele Shane
September 4, 2019
The first days of a new school year usher the children in with the promise of extraordinary potential. As they settle back into the routine of classroom life with one another, Continue Reading...

Celebrating Planes of Development

by Michele Shane
May 30, 2019
The end of the school year at The Children’s House brings celebrations, traditions, and endings. It is important to note the passage of time by honoring each developmental milestone. It helps Continue Reading...

Strategic Planning: Looking Beyond 2020

by Michele Shane
April 18, 2019
In 2015, The Children’s House published a strategic planning document, Strategic Plan 2015,  that guided our decisions through the 2017-2018 school year. The plan was generated through a comprehensive phase of Continue Reading...

Learn Something Every Day - For Life

by Michele Shane
March 26, 2019
As part of my morning routine, I read “The Management Tip Of The Day” from the Harvard Business Review. This recent entry (from February 25th)—which I think applies to business and Continue Reading...

The Greatest Gift

by Michele Shane
January 21, 2019
Think back to a time when you were a child, passionate about learning something new.  Whether it was experimenting with new words, creating art, riding a bike, or how a science Continue Reading...