Magic Lantern Montessori is a non-profit preschool, located in Rainier Valley. The school provides an intimate environment that nurtures children, parents, staff and emphasizes community and diversity through program teaching and family participation. The program provides a rich, diverse curriculum that touches on many different aspects of life, family and community.  At Magic Lantern, we use the Montessori philosophy to create an environment that is creative and nurturing allowing the children to grow, learn and discover to their fullest potential. Our dedicated teachers and staff foster a strong sense of community; empower children to develop respect for self, others and the environment; and build a strong academic foundation for a lifetime of learning.
At Magic Lantern we believe a healthy understanding of diet and exercise is perhaps as critical to nurturing our children into strong and functioning adults as a solid educational foundation. The earlier children enter the kitchen to help prepare their own food the earlier they begin to learn the value of healthy eating habits. We strive to develop this foundation by providing a healthy diet centered on whole, organic foods. Special care is taken to avoid refined sugars focusing on a vegetarian diet with ample beans, legumes, dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Most importantly, the children participate and engage in the preparation of their snacks and lunches each day introducing them to the wonderful and creative ways they can make decisions about their bodies and lead healthy and active lives. 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 sense, 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 (in the Full-Day and Morning classrooms.)

Magic Lantern Montessori currently serves children ages 3 to 6 years in our full-day program
and ages 3 to 5 years in our school day program, 8:00am - 3:30pm
At Magic Lantern Montessori our approach to learning is child-centered. In order to encourage initiative and self-sufficiency, children choose by themselves the things that interest them with an inspiring, imaginative, but well-structured setting. The faculty and staff gently guide students toward their inherent talents and abilities. 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 goals are to help build children's self-esteem and nurture their development of social and emotional awareness about themselves and others. Our students:
  • Eat cooked wholesome meals (vegetarian 3 days a week and meat 2 days a week, often local and organic as part of the cooking program which is a vital aspect of the school day.
  • Explore the world around them through science, geography, learning about sea creatures and oceans that are their home, watching chrysalis transform into butterflies right in the classroom and exploring the science of food, as well as their ABCs and numbers.
  • Developed an understanding of peace and our role as stewards of our community, while learning about the Civil Rights Movement and leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Dalai Lama.
  • Learn to love and nurture each other through words of kindness and a commitment by the school to create an environment that supports and embraces everyone. 
  • Sing songs, dance, play games and play outside almost every day, rain or shine, in the covered play area.
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. Parents are responsible for supporting the ongoing administration and management of the program via committee participation or by taking on specific duties. 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.