Fleur-de-lis Montessori School, founded in 2008 in the historic district of Middleburg, VA, is building on its own unique approach to education with the addition of an elementary program starting in the fall of 2013.
Upon entering the school, you may see a small group of children sitting on the floor, with an adult facilitating a lesson. Other children will be working individually or in groups on lessons they have already been introduced to. There are child-sized shelves full of Montessori materials for hands-on learning. You hear classical music playing in the background, and the air is full of pleasant chatter in French and English and the cheerful buzz of meaningful and interesting work. The property that houses all of this, the Emmanuel Parish House, is modest and simple, yet beautiful. Outdoors, there is a spacious playground where children get to participate in science lessons, physical education and, of course, free play.
The French immersion programming is embedded in our daily activities. But since this is a bilingual school, it is done in such a way that the children’s ability to progress in English is not sacrificed. Children begin learning French by ear and through lessons designed to build vocabulary and basic verbal expression. Significant periods of each day are devoted to this. In the elementary program they will continue with vocabulary enrichment but progress into more intermediate lessons and exercises involving reading, writing and basic conversation. As their skills improve, they will also progress through increasingly advanced lessons covering grammar and basic literature, like Le Petit Prince. The ultimate goal is to give children not only the ability to function in a major world language, but also the mindset to appreciate and more productively engage with all of the different ways of life they will encounter.
We believe that there is a market for this new kind of thinking and that our success will demonstrate the power of small-scale private initiative in expanding access to high quality education.