Montessori Happenings

Welcome to the Montessori School of Flagstaff School Blog. To filter by campus, use the links on the sidebar (desktop) or below (mobile). Want to check out a campus? Contact us to schedule a school tour.

Our Clever and Productive Students!

Our students work so hard everyday, doing a range of lessons from practical life and sensorial to math, language and culture. Take a look at some photos of our proud students and their work. (Some of the pictures are from our Pajama Day!)  

Broad Stair and Tower of Cubes Extension

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The broad stair and tower of cubes allow the students to explore the concepts of thick and thin and big and small. The successive dimensions of the cubes and rectangular prisms encourage the student to order the materials and create complex designs.







Pin Punching Australia 

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Pin punching is a common tool in our classroom used to promote the three-finger grasp, which is essential to holding a pencil. The continent pin punching lesson allows students to perforate the shapes of the continents which are later used to create a world map.





Creative Writing Story with the Moveable Alphabet

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The moveable alphabet is introduced when a child is ready to build simple, phonetic words. More complex extensions include the creative writing lesson in which students respond to prompts or create their own imaginative story from a picture.

Pin punching landforms

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The landform pin punching lesson introduces opposite land and water forms: lake and island, bay and cape, gulf and peninsula, system of lakes and archipelago, and strait and isthmus.

Animal Groups

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The students love animals, so the Animal Groups lesson is a favorite. This lesson exposes children to the many "group names" of animals, such as a pride of lions, a pod of whales and a troop of monkeys.

Multiplication with the Bead Bars

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The students begin with concrete Montessori materials before moving on to abstract math. Here the student multiplies by seven using the bead bars.

Tracing Table

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The tracing table is a great way for beginning writers to gain hand control and strength. Students trace animals, plants, flags and maps pertaining to our current culture study.

Small Hexagon Box

Child with Hexagon game

The small hexagon box is part of Montessori's constructive triangles materials. This geometry study allows students to use triangles to build other shapes. The shapes introduced in the small hexagon box are triangle, hexagon, rhombus and trapezoid.

Short Bead Stair

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The Short Bead Stair lesson is the first introduction to the colored bead bars used throughout the Montessori math lessons. This lesson reinforces number recognition and pairing the number with a quantity.

Teens Board

Teens board (math)

The Teens Board introduces the teens numbers as "tens" plus more units. Thus, thirteen is ten with three more.

Map making

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The students enjoy geography, including a semester-long in-depth continent study, map making, land and water forms lessons, flag studies and more.

Partner Work

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Working with others fosters teamwork, cooperation, negotiation, problem solving, leadership and thoughtful discussion. Teachers observe and support, but students direct their own work.

Check back soon for more photos of our daily work!

Eat Your Vegetables!

In order to truly get a taste of our nutrition unit, the students prepared salad for themselves and their classmates. While some students washed lettuce, others peeled carrots, diced beets, cut cucumbers and sliced tomatoes. After all that hard work, you wouldn't believe how many hungry children asked for second and even third helpings of vegetables!


Little Bakers

As we continue our unit on nutrition, we have been participating in cooking projects every Friday with each project pertaining to one of the five food groups. Our first project fell in the vegetable realm -- salad making! Check out our pictures in an article below. The next project was making colorful fruit kabobs. Last week, we focused on the grains group. We read the story "Tony's Bread" by Tomie dePaola. In this story, Tony the baker wows the people of Milan with his delicious bread. Our students decided to try their hand at baking with fantastic results!


Mmm! Fresh from the oven! 

The students did a careful job measuring out the ingredients for this soda bread. For those of you who would like to make bread with your children at home, here is the very simple recipe we followed: 


3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Measure flour, salt and soda and mix together in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Stir, adding more buttermilk if needed; the dough should be soft, but not wet or sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Turn it over and pat it into a round loaf about 1 1/2 inches high.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of the loaf with a knife. Cut fairly deeply into the bread, being sure to cut all the way to the edges; this helps the bread to rise properly.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for another 30 minutes or until done. To test, tap the bread on the bottom. It will sound hollow when done.

    From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Happy Baking!

A Nutrition Lesson at Safeway!

In March, the kindergartners enjoyed the spring weather by taking a walking field trip to Safeway. They were delighted to share their knowledge about nutrition and to learn more about how a grocery store works. The tour began in the floral department where students identified many kinds of flowers. In the produce department, the children were excited to feel the mist and hear the thunder from the chilled vegetable bin. Here, they were able to try several samples including mandarin oranges, grapes and dried mango. The tour continued to the seafood deli, where everyone had the opportunity to feel a real fish! In the bakery kitchen, the children were very interested in the large oven and giant mixer where cupcakes and frosting are made. They even received a special treat from the baker -- cookies! Of course, after the cookies, the milk department was next. The children got to explore the inside of the refrigerator room where milk gallons are displayed and stored. On the way out of the store, Starbucks offered the students apple juice before their walk back to school. When asked about their favorite part of the trip, nearly everyone mentioned the samples!

Photo (below) highlights:

  • Feeling the chilly temperatures in the produce department
  • Naming as many vegetables as they could
  • The first of many samples from the generous workers at Safeway
  • Celebrating their "prize" (cuties)
  • Smelling herbs like mint and rosemary
  • Answering questions about nutrition
  • Feeling a fish at the seafood deli
  • Admiring the giant oven in the bakery


Kindergarten Trip to the Nordic Center

In January, the kindergartners took a field trip to the Nordic Center here in Flagstaff. They were very eager to strap on skiis and give cross-country skiing their best shot! While there were many spills (adults included), everyone had a terrific time spending a beautiful day outdoors. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped make this trip a success!


Joy Cone Factory Tour


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On January 30th our outing for the week was to the Joy Cone Factory.   We piled into parent cars and drove all the way across town over by the airport to get there. When we got there, we went into the conference room to wait for our tour guides. While we were waiting we got to learn about the history of Joy Cone.  They make cones for companies like Dairy Queen, McDonald’s and Safeway.

The tour guide told us that the boy and girl mascots were named Joy and Joey.  If you have younger brothers or sisters, they can enter a coloring contest once a month sponsored by Joy Cone.  Just click on this link: Joy Cone kids page.

Once the tour guides were ready, we all split up into three groups to see the factory. When we entered the actual factory it was very loud. We got to see the ovens where the cones were cooked and the machine that folds or impresses the shape of the cone. Then we got to see where they store all of their flour.  We saw huge silos that hold thousands of pounds of flour. After that we saw how they wrapped the cones and put them in boxes. On the way out we got to taste test all the types of cones. Lastly, we saw where they stored all their cones, waiting to be shipped off. After we finished the tour, we went into the kitchen and got some yummy ice cream as a treat. I personally thought this was an extremely fun trip and I can’t wait for another one like this.

Madeleine, Eighth Grade Student

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Hands Only CPR


website hands_only_cprOn Tuesday, February 26th, we had a paramedic named Isabel and an EMT named Jordan come into our school and teach us about hands only CPR. They brought human upper body mannequins.  They were made for a real life simulation. First, they showed us how to check to see if the person needed CPR or not. You rub their sternum really hard and if they showed it hurt that means they are still okay. Then they showed us the proper way to hold our hands one on top of the other, then how to press down on the body. You have to keep your arms straight because if you bend them you are not giving the force needed to pump. It is good if you hear the ribs “pop”,  that means you are pressing hard enough. Your hands should come off the body completely to ensure blood enters and exits the heart properly. If you just keep pressing and you don’t remove your hands it will never bring blood back into the heart. A sponge is a good example of this, if you keep pushing, water just keeps leaving. But when you remove your hands completely it brings water back into the sponge. They even taught us a song with a beat to keep time when pushing. The song was “Staying Alive”.  You should check out the video at this link American Heart Association HANDS ONLY CPR Video.

 After we were finished with the simulation, Isabel and Jordan took us out to their ambulance. Inside they had all sorts of medical equipment that they would have in an emergency room. In the compartments on the outside of the ambulance they had tools, stretchers, air tanks, and much more equipment that saves lives.

I am glad that Jordan and Isabel came because they helped show us how to save lives and it was really fun.

Austin, Eighth Grade Student

December Community Connections

Community Connections: Switzer Campus

switzer-oneOn Friday I went to the Elementary Montessori School for community service. Ms. Cook was the supervisor of our group. I and two other students went to the upper pod (3rd-6th) to help with P.E. They had a day where they made up their own games for the P.E teacher. I helped in two groups. The first group played parachute switch up. The second group made up arc ball. In this game you have to kick a jelly ball and the other person had to catch it.

Then we switched so everybody got to do everything. So my smaller group went to the front area to help prepare crafts for the lower pod (1st-3rd) craft day. Then I went to read with some of the first graders. They picked out a book, and then they had to read it to me. After that I filled out a form for the teachers.

I think one of the many reasons we help our younger Montessori students is, so that they get used to the feel of this school, especially the new first graders. I know I enjoyed it and I’m sure the other people in my group felt the same way. I feel special inside after a day of community service. It doesn’t seem like community service when you’re doing it with your friends. Community service is really contagious. Especially at the Montessori School of Flagstaff.

Kaylee R., Seventh Grade Student


Community Connections: Salvation Army

Community Connections on December 7th a small group of about 10 students went to the Salvation Army Mission on Humphreys Street.  We organized the donations that were given for the children whose parents could not buy gifts for them. When I saw all the gifts that were given for the children I was amazed. It felt like there were 1000 gifts. I learned that it is not that hard to donate something. It sometimes takes some money but when you think of the good deed you are doing you don’t mind the cost. I found that someone donated a mattress for a family that has no beds.

 I realized how fortunate I am to have presents every year, but some kids are unfortunate and sometimes have no presents. Once all the toys were organized I felt as if I was doing something good for the kids who are going to be able to enjoy these presents. That was one of the community connections we did.

Riya, Seventh Grade Student


Community Connections: Sunnyside PreSchool

sunnyside-oneMy group went with Ms. Larson to Sunnyside PreSchool. We helped the community by cutting out pictures for the kindergarteners to put in their storybooks. We also moved  furniture to prepare for winter and keep if from getting damaged.

It always feels good to give back to the community and to help others when they’re in need. That’s why Montessori students participate in community service.

Ellis, Eighth Grade Student

Lava Tubes

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On November 30th, a group of about 14 students set off to the Lava Tubes.  I, being a Wisconsin girl, have rarely experienced anything so spectacular. It was unreal, the cave yawned above you and if you looked close enough, you could barely see the start of stalactites. I have to admit the climb down was a bit challenging for me, because I had to hold my flashlight.

website photo_lava_tubeOnce actually down into the cave though, my mind was blown. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was gigantic! As my group and I continued on, we came to a fork in the road. My group, being the adventurous kind, took the more challenging route, for the two tunnels met up after a hundred or so feet. It was a tight squeeze, but worth it. Once the two groups had met up again in the tunnel, I spotted something white and fuzzy on the ground. We had no idea what it was. All we could gather was that there were sunflower shells scattered near it. Perhaps the fungi had grown off of it?

We continued on our journey and once everyone was in one place we tested to see how dark it would be if everyone turned off their flashlights. Of course, it was pitch black and if I waved my hand inches from my face, I couldn’t see it. We all were cracking jokes about this being where Gollum lived, for we had just finished reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Once in the very back and end of the cave, as we called it; Gollum’s cave, we again turned off the lights and told riddles in the dark.  There were a couple of jokes and stories thrown in there too. The hike back seemed much shorter, than the hike there, for we were all in a hurry to get back and eat lunch.

The cave had been truly amazing, and I would definitely recommend it to others. I learned that truly fungi can grow in almost all places. Also I learned that what our world can create is truly amazing, and lastly that although caves might be a bit freaky, they are truly one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, a word for the future: bring lots of flashlights and dress really warm.

Sophie, Eighth Grade Student

November Community Connections

Sunnyside PreSchool Community Service Project

sunnysideOn  community connection Friday, November 2nd, a group of students from the Montessori Middle School went to the Montessori Sunnyside Pre-School. There was a lot of work to be done there. We went through piles and piles of clothing making sure that all the children had an extra pair of socks, undies, a long sleeve shirt, and warm pants. Only about six students had all the clothing.  If they had too much clothing or were missing something we had to staple a note to the bag of clothing  saying that they needed to bring some things home or they needed to bring home one of the clothing items.

micah sweepingWhile we were sorting through clothing the other students were sweeping the leaves off the playgrounds. There were a lot of leaves and they did a very good job of making it look nice.  Speaking of the playground, once the little people were outside it was hectic. I don't know how many time I heard "don't climb the  outside of the structures!".  The teachers worked hard to keep the students safe.

We also cut out pictures from National Geographic magazines. They used these pictures and glued them on paper and the children wrote a story about the picture.

The overall experience was very cool. It felt good to do something for the community that actually had an impact. And that place did need some help. Everybody at the Pre-School greatly appreciated our work. That is what we did for community connections Friday.

---Katie, Seventh Grade Student

 Cedar Closet Thrift Store Community Service Project

The following is an excerpt from a letter the students received from Suzanne Golub,  Cedar Closet Manager regarding their November 2nd Community Connection outing:

I had a very hard time keeping ahead of you, and in the end, ran out of jobs. I am accustomed to working with older volunteers who share your enthusiasm, but lack your energy.  Thank you for hanging, steaming, and getting clothing out onto the sales floor, for cleaning glasses, carrying boxes, sorting out ski boots, and putting together Christmas trees.  

I can't begin to tell you just how much your labors are appreciated. We hope that you will return to us on one of your future community service days.......

 Salvation Army Thrift Store Community Service Project

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On the second of November, I went over to the Salvation Army, and participated in community service with my school. I enjoyed the experience because I was able to learn some things about the business and socialize with friends. When I was at the store I tested lights so they could be sold and used for the Holidays. After we were done with the lights, we went on to price tagging the other products. Price tagging the merchandise was fun. I learned that in order to have a successful business, you must have devoted and nice workers.

Sean, Eighth Grade Student

When the students returned to the Middle School, Ms. Larson led a discussion on why we perform community service and  how it makes each of the students feel.  They also brainstormed possibilities for future trips.  The students expressed why certain community service projects have special meaning to them. 

Montessori Philosophy

Montessori PhilosophyThe Montessori Philosophy encourages children to develop their observation skills through activities that use the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and gross motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.


Arizona School Tax Credit

Arizona School Tax CreditThe 2015 Arizona School Tax Credit lets your donation go directly to a public school of your choice! A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. Any Arizona taxpayer may contribute, regardless of whether your child is attending school.

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Enrichment Programs

Montessori Schools of Flagstaff Enrichment ProgramsTo meet the needs of working parents, we offer a before- and after-school program designed for children 18 months–12 years. The older children can sign up for the many special classes offered after school such as drama, art classes, and music lessons.

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