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About CHM

a brief history...

Country Hills Montessori, Inc., was founded in 1977 by Ms. Jean Johannigman in a healthcare facility in Montgomery, OH. Over the years, she expanded the program into several other healthcare facilities and nineteen years ago, moved the first Montgomery location into Duffy Square. When Ms. Johannigman retired, she sold the locations to several of her staff. The Montgomery location has been owned by Ms. Sharon Siereveld since Ms. Johannigman’s retirement. Ms. Siereveld can happily say she has been working with the children of Country Hills for twenty-six years.

What is Montessori Education?

Dr. Maria Montessori developed this philosophy of education through observation of children in multi-age, home-type settings in the early 1900s. Observing that children learn through experience, Dr. Montessori developed a philosophy of teaching that encourages a “hands-on” approach to learning. She also observed that children have “sensitive periods”; that is, periods during which they are especially interested in certain areas and so are more ready to absorb and master them. (For example; walking, talking, reading, dinosaurs, space..) The materials (or “works” as they are often called in a Montessori classroom) are designed and chosen for the developmental stages, “sensitive periods” and natural curiosity of the children in the class. The teachers, through observation, are able to continuously prepare an environment that suits the needs and interests of the children while fostering their independence and love of learning.

You may notice some things that make a Montessori school different from another school. Montessori schools usually have mixed age classes; our school has 3 through 6 year olds. The children and the teachers are also able to move around the room, choosing from the wide variety of materials and social opportunities. These differences came from Dr. Montessori’s experiences with children in family group-type settings. She realized that a mixed age environment can encourage curiosity, independence, socialization and a mastery of new skills.

You may also notice that everything in a Montessori class is arranged in areas (such as art, math, sensory). There is always structure to the day and the ‘works’, as well as simple rules based on safety and respect. This structure makes the works easy to find and help everyone feel comfortable, always knowing what to expect in their environment.

And of course, Montessori children play. To a child, their ‘work’ can be their play. They playfully try new things, imagine new ways to see things and enjoy the time spent with a favorite ‘work’ or friend.

The CHM Staff

Our excellent full-time staff have many years of experience in the classroom with 3 – 6 year olds. We hold college degrees including Pre-Primary Montessori certification, Elementary Education and Literature; and a job we also love - we are moms. Our wonderful part-time staff also have, or nearly have college degrees such as Art Education and History.