Ferndale Bilingual Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten

The head start and guidance they received was such an added value in their education process; we were truly blessed to have found such a warm and caring environment for our children's preschool experience."
 -Becky Andrews (Parent)
circle time

Girl smiling.

Learning to spell.

Pajama day.

Pumpkin patch fieldtrip.

Playing house.

Graduation day.

A favorite summer session activity...

There is lot's of room to explore outside the school.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Harvest time at the school.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

Hands-on learning.

     Before describing the fun hands-on learning the children experience in a typical day, let us first introduce you to the head teacher. Debbie Barrows is owner and Directress of the Ferndale Bilingual Montessori Preschool. As a devoted parent, she became acquainted first hand with the unique value of a Montessori education. She began teaching in 1993, and became certified by the Montessori Institute of America where she has the opportunity to teach anywhere in the world. In the year 1995 she chose to open her first school in Ferndale, WA.

      It took her over two years to find what she considers to be the absolute perfect location for a preschool. Ferndale Bilingual Montessori is located up church road on a safe and secure one acre piece of property which is situated in the Ferndale City limits. This private picturesque setting is 800 feet off church road and is surrounded by over 30 undeveloped acres. Parents feel very secure knowing that they don't have to worry about their children playing around traffic and busy streets. Ferndale Bilingual Montessori is also equipped with a secure fenced play area. The playground is furnished with colorful inviting play equipment.

      Ferndale Bilingual Montessori Preschool has chosen to keep their school what they consider to be the appropriate size for preschool children. Children feel secure and comfortable there. A larger institutional type of school can be very intimidating for children this age. You can see more pictures of the school here.

About Our School

     Our daily routine starts with an all-school circle time that lasts about half an hour. This is an important time for learning through music, stories, games , discussions, the introduction of Montessori materials,  Spanish etc. A work period of the child's own free choice immediately follows. During this time, the children may choose to work with materials made to introduce lessons on practical life, art, mathematics, language, and discovering the world around us. Weather permitting, we may then go outside for about fifteen minutes. In addition to the traditional fenced play yard, our unique and safe location allows us to explore the outdoors and study nature.

     Different days of the week also mean special activities: Monday is our class fact day. On this day the children look forward to learning an interesting fact about the world we live in. Tuesdays our circle time includes a visit from Miss Lady (our ladybug puppet) who teaches etiquette through the use of books, tapes, and discussions. Wednesdays we adjust our time to include an educational video and popcorn. Thursday is sharing day and the children develop social skills by sharing with the class one interesting, educational object from home. Special items pertaining to science or nature may be displayed at our observation table any time. Fridays are the only days the school does not provide snack. This allows each child the opportunity to use the special snack basket and host snack time.

      One of the most important and unique experiences our school offers is the daily Spanish lesson. We were the very first preschool in Whatcom County to offer Spanish at the preschool level. Our Spanish lessons are not conversational however we practice basic vocabulary such as greetings, colors, numbers, animal names, various songs and much more. In doing this we are laying the foundation and developing the area of the child's mind that is used for learning languages. We at Ferndale Bilingual Montessori recognize that by incorporating Spanish into our curriculum children develop a greater appreciation for diversity.

      By exposing children to a second language this allows the child to optimize his or her learning potential, helping to shape the brain at its most flexible stage. Young children are uniquely suited to learning a second language. Learning a second language at this age is cognitively as easy as learning a first language. Experts claim that it is optimal to do this within the first five years of life as this proves to be very valuable long into adulthood, even if preschool was their only exposure.

      A recent article in the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell quotes James Flynn, a renowned scientist, as saying"The mind is much more like a muscle than we've ever realized. It needs to get cognitive exercise". Exposure to more than one language is an excellent way of flexing the brain muscles and building them up.

      Studies have proven that children who are exposed to a second language at the preschool age are mentally sharper, they possess the ability to multi-task, they are able to focus better, and they tend to be the analytical thinkers and problem solvers. It is also noted that they do much better opposed to their peers when it comes to math, language and other skills.

      Children have the best opportunity to become the leaders of tomorrow by learning a second language while they are young. Domestic employers in the United States will continue to value employees who can speak a second language, especially Spanish. These capabilities will be an asset in our global diverse community more so now than ever. By enrolling your child in a bilingual preschool you will be giving them a great start in life.

      Our program includes cooking and science projects throughout the year during which we provide each child with an opportunity for hands-on participation. Also, we have a food dehydrator so the children can experiment with favorite foods we will share for snack; for example learning how grapes turn into raisins.

     We also have a school compost bin with a plexiglass side so the children can see first hand under controlled conditions the decomposition of organic matter. They will observe how living things such as maple leaves, banana peels, grass clippings, etc. eventually die and become food to multitudes of bacteria, insects, and worms.

     We have also incorporated safety lessons into our program. We feel that safety is something that every child should be aware of. On a regular basis we have interactive safety exercises covering areas such as: calling 911, fire hazards, sports safety, pool safety, how to handle bullies, safety around strangers, fire drills, etc. We do this in a fun and productive way so the children will enjoy learning and retain what they learn as well.

     We would also like to introduce you to our class pet. He's a gerbil, and goes by the name of Mr. Jingles. Mr. Jingles resides in a well maintained, sanitary cage. The children will learn responsibility by helping take care of him. They will have the opportunity on a rotating basis to feed him and observe his playful activities. Just a few other benefits of having a class pet are: learning to respect living things, discipline, co-operation and sharing.

     In addition to Mr. Jingles we have a see through bird feeder attached to the outside of our school window. This makes it easy for the children to observe the birds in nature while they are comfortably working in our cozy classroom.

    We introduced progressive muscle relaxation to the children last year, and they loved it. As a result of this great response, we have decided to incorporate this practice into our curriculum on a bi-weekly basis, schedule permitting. Have you ever noticed how often adults tell children to calm down, relax, be still, or focus? But when do we teach children how to do these things? Relaxation is a skill like reading, math or basketball. Through  attentive instruction, understanding and practice, students can learn to be calmer and more focused. The exercise consists of systematically tensing and relaxing specific muscle groups, along with deep breathing techniques. Studies have shown that relaxation provides children with many benefits, including assisting memory retention, improving the ability to focus and reducing anxiety, anger and sleeping problems, just to name a few. Relaxation is a powerful tool to teach our children early in life, one that will improve their coping skills and benefit them well into adulthood. Indeed, we believe that relaxation exercises should be a part of every classroom curriculum.

     Birthday celebrations are always welcome. However, we like to celebrate them on Mondays or Thursdays so they don't disrupt our special activity days. We only ask that you let us know in advance if you plan to celebrate at school so we will be prepared.

     Also included in our schedule of events is our unique Multi- Cultural Learning Fair . This is a wonderful and exciting program that our school has developed and we have now incorporated it into our curriculum.
     Our Multi-Cultural learning fair takes place the last seven weeks of the school year. During this time each of the weeks is devoted to one of the seven continents: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica. Each week is dedicated to learning about the different countries within the continent. We will learn about the traditions, language , food, music, people, and culture of these countries. The children will also learn greetings in five different languages. We invite the parents to be involved by sharing their travel experiences, heritage, etc. The parents and children also have the opportunity to choose a country and present an authentic snack to the class. Our Multi-Cultural fair is a time of fun & learning for the children, the teachers, and the families of our school.

     For those students who continue in our school through their kindergarten year we celebrate with a graduation ceremony consisting of the full cap and gown ensemble, a diploma, and refreshments. This ceremony commemorates the completion of one of life's first important milestones and celebrates entrance into the world of grade school.

     We also offer a one month optional summer program during the summer vacation. It is a time for excitement, fun, and games including: water fun, field games, cooking, and prizes. Our summer school is a three day a week program that lasts for four weeks. The children have come to enjoy and look forward to this fun filled event.

     We try to foster a friendly family-like atmosphere in our multi-age classroom by encouraging respect and goodwill among the children and staying in close communication with the parents. We encourage parents to participate through various activities such as our annual pumpkin patch field trip, Christmas party, mid-year conferences, Multi-Cultural Learning Fair, and our year-end picnic. We also encourage parents to become involved with field trips, or by sharing a special celebration, skill or interest with the class. We respect children, families and all cultural backgrounds. We believe that families are the most important factor in the development of a child's character and life. We desire to build good interactions with parents and to help guide their children towards growth and well being. We commit ourselves to doing the very best for all our students and strive to help them develop independence, confidence, self- esteem, and self-sufficiency.

     We know you can feel confident and secure about the incredible opportunities for growth your child has here at our school. Registration for fall classes cannot come in too early, but unfortunately, when classes fill, it can come in too late. We encourage you to register when you make your decision so you may reserve a spot for your child.

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