Blessed Sacrament School opening Montessori Children’s House Print
Around the Diocese
Thursday, Apr. 18, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Blessed Sacrament School (BSS) in Madison is opening a Montessori Children's House.

A "children's house" is a classroom serving children ages three to six. The BSS Children's House will operate alongside the single-age 3K and 4K classrooms already offered at the school.

Montessori philosophy

The key components of the Montessori philosophy include:

• Play is work -- A child's play is their work.

• Key developmental stages -- Each child has his/her own developmental pathway and there are key times, individual to each child, when he/she is most ready and able to learn specific skills.

• Multi-age classrooms -- Children can be exposed to the same "lessons" and learn more and different things from them at different times in their development. They also learn from their younger and older classmates.

• Classroom environment/materials -- Materials are tangible and hands-on. The belief is that early learning is best accomplished in a concrete way involving as many of a child's senses as possible.

• Child-centered learning -- The teacher sets out the learning curriculum in the classroom, and it is the child who decides how and what they wish to learn about (with guidance from the teacher). Rather than fitting the child into the curriculum, the curriculum is designed to meet what the child needs at any given time.

• Uninterrupted work time -- Children have the opportunity to work without interruption for extended periods. During this time, they may choose to work on one task for the entire time or work on several projects. Uninterrupted work time enhances concentration and eases anxieties that sometimes accompany frequent transitions.

Fits with school

At Blessed Sacrament School, opening a Children's House classroom serving three- to six-year-olds fits in with the school's overall philosophy, according to Steve Castrogiovanni, principal.

"BSS has offered multi-age classrooms since the 1970s. Learning groups within a unit are tailored to enable children to be challenged and to learn at a level that's best for them rather than for their 'grade.'"

In addition to the Early Childhood unit which houses the 3K, 4K, and Montessori classrooms, other units in the school include Primary (Grades 5K-3), Intermediate (Grades 4-5), and Middle School (Grades 6-8).

According to Fr. Andy McAlpin, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, "Multi-age classrooms reflect how we learn, live, and work. Not everyone in a family or in an office is the same age and not everyone has the same ability or level of interest in all subjects.

"It's wonderful to watch multi-age classrooms in action -- we see younger students learning from older ones and we observe that older children solidify their own skills when they share their knowledge with younger students.

"Adding a Montessori Children's House option is a natural move for Blessed Sacrament, as we have been instilling many of Maria Montessori's teaching methods for decades, and her devout Catholic faith and natural love for children gave rise to this wonderful method of learning."

For more information

For more information on registering for the Montessori program or other Blessed Sacrament School programs, contact the school office at 608-233-6155 or visit the website:

The enrollment deadline is April 26.

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