Our mission is to provide a nurturing educational environment, loving care and the encouragement necessary for children to become independent, creative and confident learners who accept new challenges, and are active participants in their communities.
Children are curious and unique little people, open to learning and absorbing lessons from the world around them. We believe that the Montessori method is the best way to foster independence and to allow children to learn at their own pace, with minimal intrusion into each child's learning process.
As the Montessori philosophy outlines, children have extended work periods in which they are free to choose from lessons previously presented by teachers. We believe this empowers the child to joyfully discover new skills while allowing teachers to shepherd the unique strengths of each student more effectively.
Students are offered lessons, tools, and furniture that encourage children to care for themselves, their classmates, and their environment. Instead of intruding in the learning process, we foster students’ independence. By knowing when to engage, we let the child’s inherent curiosity flourish as they develop into independent, responsible learners. This practice encourages greater concentration, along with coordinated physical movements.
Estrellitas is a place designed with children in mind. From the furniture to the way that food is served, the environment is set up to foster independence. The classrooms are arranged in a way that encourages exploration and the freedom of choice during work periods. The environment is clean and orderly, lending itself to the calm needed for children to develop concentration and focus.
Through art, music, stories, and the daily lessons, students are immersed in the Spanish language and the warmth of Spanish culture. Learning a second language at this early age is easier because it is a natural learning process, instead of a forced learning process.
Like many parents, Marilyn was considering child care options when she was expecting her first child. And like many of us, she was surprised by the long waiting lists, and the institutional feel of many of the existing care providers. As a native of Argentina, Marilyn was also hoping to find care that would allow her children to retain their Spanish language so that they might speak easily with their grandparents.
Marilyn was well-versed in the Montessori method, which focuses on allowing children to develop at their own pace and cultivates curiosity. She believed that this model could be applied to children as small as 4 months old, and made perfect sense for small children just beginning to explore the world.
With existing options being unsatisfactory, Marilyn decided, in 2008, the best option would be to start her own care center. Begun as a home daycare, Estrellitas Montessori School is now housed in two locations only blocks away, in DC's Sixteenth Street Heights neighborhood. The "home" daycare provides a safe, comfortable care environment for the smallest children. The school ensures that children up to age 5 are treated like people and given the encouragement to become independent and curious citizens of their community.