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We offer a rich, diverse 12 month preschool curriculum. We learn about ourselves and our world through Developmentally Appropriate Practices. We acquire the skills needed to be part of a harmonious community through The Montessori Method, Social Thinking and Reflective Practice. We foster independence, curiosity, a strong sense of community, respect for self/others/the environment, self-regulation, and a strong academic foundation for a lifetime of learning. We value fun, exploration, cooperation, creativity, and kindness.
Located in diverse and dynamic Columbia City, Magic Lantern Montessori provides an intimate environment that nurtures children, parents, teachers, and our community. 


Magic Lantern Montessori is a non-profit preschool, located in Columbia City. The school provides an intimate environment that nurtures children, parents, and staff. We emphasize community and diversity through The Montessori Method, Social Thinking, and Reflective Practice. This rich, diverse curriculum touches on many different aspects of life, family and community. The Montessori philosophy creates an environment that is creative and nurturing allowing the children to discover, grow, learn and to their fullest potential. Our Social Emotional Learning is based on Social Thinking Curriculum and fosters our ability to understand our needs and builds skills for us get those needs met in ways that align with community.

At Magic Lantern we embrace whole child development and regard our relationship with food and our bodies as critical to nurturing our children. By attending to our food with care, we introduce children to the wonderful and creative ways they can make decisions about their bodies and lead healthy and active lives. We consider this as important as a solid academic foundation. We strive to develop this foundation by providing a healthy diet centered on whole, organic foods. Special care is taken to focus on a simple diet with ample beans, legumes, dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with very limited exposure to refined sugars. We grow food in the adjacent P- Patch and the children participate in the preparation of their snacks and lunches each day. At Magic Lantern, the cooking program is integrated with other school programs so the children can learn about life, culture, and the environment, through food.

What Is Montessori?

In 1907, Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician, developed an educational philosophy based on observing how children learn and how they teach themselves. The Montessori philosophy is used in education all over the world, with children from birth to adolescence.

Montessori education emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from many possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes typically group children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. 

Activities (referred to as "work" or "works") are arranged according to the subject area, and children are free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. 

Magic Lantern Montessori classrooms include traditional Montessori work time, circle time, art time, free play (both outdoors and in), and other community activities, as well as time. for snacks and lunch.
Magic Lantern Montessori currently serves children ages 3 to 5 years in our full-day and “school day” programs.
At Magic Lantern Montessori our approach to learning is child centered. To encourage initiative and self-sufficiency, children choose by themselves the things that interest them within an inspiring, imaginative, but well-structured setting. The faculty and staff gently guide students toward their inherent talents and abilities. Children are immersed in Social and Emotional guidance throughout the day in both curriculum and culture. Our goals are to help build children's self-esteem and nurture their development of social and emotional awareness about themselves and others. We focus on practical, hands-on experiences in the areas of science, math, language, and geography. The curriculum also highlights cooking, dramatic expression, music, movement, and arts and crafts, directed by teachers with special training in these fields. Our students:
  • Eat cooked wholesome meals as part of the cooking program which is a vital aspect of the school day.
  • Explore the world around them through science, geography, natural history, the science of food, preliteracy and early literacy skills, and by engaging in developmentally appropriate math and physics activities.
  • Develop an understanding of social thinking and social roles, particularly as stewards of our community, through exposure to peacemakers and civic leadership.
  • Learn to love and nurture themselves and each other through teacher coaching around self advocacy and clarity and kindness in communication.
  • Sing songs, dance, play games and play outside every day, rain or shine, in the playground or in the adjacent P- Patch.
Equally strong as our commitment to children is our commitment to community. Parents are an integral component of helping ensure that our mission is accomplished. Your child's experience at Magic Lantern will be enhanced by your involvement in our community. Just as we seek to provide a nurturing environment for our children, our goals are to interact with one another with respect, acceptance, empathy, and the recognition that we each have a valuable contribution. 
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