ShareThis Page

Sewickley Montessori to add middle school program

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Montessori Children's Community on Chestnut Street in Sewickley will be adding seventh- and eighth-grade classes in the future.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Montessori Children's Community on Chestnut Street in Sewickley will be adding seventh- and eighth-grade classes in the future. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald

As Montessori schools around the world celebrate 106 years of the educational philosophy founded by Maria Montessori, staff at Montessori Children's Community in Sewickley are starting to plan their own historic celebration.

Starting in the fall, the local school will be the first in the Pittsburgh area to offer a middle school program for seventh- and eighth-graders, the school's head said.

The local school, founded by Terri Modic, school head and head teacher, has been in Sewickley for 21 years. It has 106 students from preschool through the sixth grade and stresses an individualized, independent approach to education.

In the new middle school program, community activities will be more prevalent, Modic said.

Students will follow Montessori's Pedagogy Place philosophy, where lessons revolve around what surrounds them.

“They might study physics in the morning and apply what they learn to the engineering of the Sewickley Bridge. They might study chemistry in the morning and take water samples from the Ohio River in the afternoon,” she said.

Students also will study the history of the area relating to the railroads, the steel industry and Native Americans, along with the area's geography and biology.

Modic said she began thinking about including a middle school program more than a year ago. It moved forward in the fall when parents started to express their desire for the seventh and eighth grades.

There now are at least four Montessori students interested and a few from other schools.

Some parents say they think it's a “fantastic” idea, including Shannon Williams of Pine Township and Lauren Lapinski of McCandless.

Both women attended Montessori's 106th anniversary celebration at the school, where children sang and expressed their thoughts about what the school meant to them.

They talked about peace, respect, harmony, learning to be responsible, freedom to move around and to work on whatever project they want, and feeling comfortable talking about problems with others.

Both Williams and Lapinski said their children's love of the school is one of the reasons why they want Montessori to expand to the seventh and eighth grades.

“The longer they are at Montessori, the better off they will be,” said Williams, who has two children at the school, Kieran in fifth grade and Cara in first.

“We dread them leaving after sixth to go to a traditional school.”

Lapinski, whose children, Drew, a fifth-grader, and Leah, a third-grader, also attend the school, agreed.

“It's the best education we could have found for our children,” she said.

The women talked about their children learning to be confident leaders, be innovative, think creatively and work independently.

“Substance is what you get here — and friendships. They know everyone in their classroom so well because there is so much collaboration; yet it's individually based, too,” Lapinski said.

Williams said Montessori is “a small but strong school.”

“It never feels too small. The kids are so happy, and the teachers know everyone.”

For more information, call Montessori Children's Community, 474 Chadwick St., at 412-741-8982.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.