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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Our Commitment to a Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive Community

Princeton Montessori School is committed to being a community where children, families, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, identities, and perspectives are united in their efforts to maintain a respectful, inclusive, diverse, and equitable community of learners.  Montessori education has always placed value on the uniqueness of each individual and sought to develop life-long learners who are in pursuit not only of their passions, but of a common good for all and good stewardship of our planet. We believe our community is broadened, strengthened, and enlightened by diversity in all its forms—including thought, race, religion, identity, passions, and challenges. This belief is inherent in the values and principles of the Montessori philosophy.

These Montessori tenets include:

  • A deep respect for all life and for childhood particularly
  • A quest to make the world a better place through the development of each generation
  • A sense of responsibility for the earth and all who inhabit it
  • A commitment to community through engagement, deep listening, and sharing

Our Work To Date

Our philosophy, policies, and procedures have always been founded on our Montessori tenets but in the 2018–19 school year, we engaged our faculty, staff, and parents in a Diversity & Inclusion task force to study our policies and practices and identify areas needing further reflection and improvement.  The concluding report, findings, and school challenges were formally accepted by the HOS and Board of Trustees in 2019.

From that challenge, a DEIB plan was developed and the following was accomplished through the 2021-22 school year:

  • A Two-Part Faculty & Staff Leadership Workshop on Unconscious Bias training with esteemed DEIB strategist, Dr. Derrick Gay
  • Hired a part-time, experienced librarian to work with faculty to update our libraries
  • Additional funding for new books & the formation of an annual book fair for this purpose
  • Funding for faculty and school leadership to attend workshops on DEIB
  • Diversity data gathered from our student population to inform enrollment goals
  • Increased priority in our hiring, enrollment, and tuition assistance policy to meet PMONTS & PCTE diversity goals
  • Engaged an expert for faculty to create materials and dialogue around these topics.
  • Are engaging the parent community in understanding how we can best ensure a sense of belonging in our community.
  • Added the following to our mission statement:  Princeton Montessori School is committed to providing an inclusive and diverse community and learning experiences that challenge us to appreciate differences and act in a way that is inclusive and respectful to all.
  • Parents of color conversation facilitated by ‘Beyond Diversity’ to allow faculty and school leadership to listen deeply to the experiences of our families of color.
  • Maximizing the use of webinars and town hall conversations offered through our affiliated organizations, such as AMS, NJAIS, NAIS, and Teaching Tolerance
  • Seeking out an explicit anti-racist curriculum appropriate for each developmental level we serve
  • Trustees engaging in two-part training on DEIB and the role of school leaders in the social justice movement.
  • Nationally-renowned antiracist educator, Britt Hawthorne, led a workshop for educators and parents on how to raise anti-biased children.

Our Work Ahead

As we continue to make progress on our DEIB challenge, we seek to engage the community in meaningful discussion, offer faculty and staff professional development opportunities related to this purpose, and improve the quality of and quantify of direct instruction in DEIB for our students.

2021-22 GOALS:

  • Funding for each teacher to earn their ABAR certification through AMS Access to further resources and experts on progressing their own understanding, language, explicit instruction to children, literacy selections, etc.
  • One-on-one interviews with all faculty and staff by HOS on multiple topics to assess how employees experience our school community. Questions added to end-of-year parent survey on how they experience our school community.
  • Using organizations such as NEMNET, ABC:  A Better Chance, NJ SEEDS, Jack & Jill to bring in greater student diversity.

What Parents Are Saying

The other day I came downstairs and my 4-year-old son was listening to 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart' on Alexa. He told me that Mozart's dad was named Leopold and his sister was Nannerl (it took him a second to remember her name and it sounded made up, so my husband and I googled it. Sure enough he was right). We asked what else he had been learning and he rattled off Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s full name and referenced The Four Seasons. I think my jaw is still on the floor. It turns out that the Primary children have been learning about composers this fall and listening to their music. What incredible exposure for these young children!

Princeton Montessori is the very epitome of the principles of Maria Montessori. The School offers a nurturing, creative, academic, and well-rounded development for each child. As a parent, we cannot offer our daughter a more valuable first gift.

The faculty are, bar none, the absolute best. The teachers are very knowledge both about the Montessori philosophy and the best ways to work with children. I ask for their advice and insight for any issues we’re having at home, quite often. They’re also incredibly warm and nurturing with the children in a way I have not seen at any other school.

I’m struck by how much better the Montessori toddlers are at playing and working peacefully with their peers than toddlers in other nursery school programs. I credit the gifted PMonts teachers, and the Princeton Montessori educational approach, for how confident, happy, and collaborative toddlers in the PMonts program seem.

Our son is so proud of being a third-year Primary. He has attended this incredible school since he was one year old. He had absolutely wonderful Toddler teachers and flourished under their care. Now, he is a third-year Primary and we know he will be more than ready for Lower Elementary. Thank you to all the Teachers & Staff!

The school runs with one philosophy and so every faculty member and admin personnel share the same vision for the child. This consistency is unique in our area to Princeton Montessori. Combined with the integration of the teacher training program, we can proudly say that the spirit of Dr. Montessori’s principles permeates every aspect of our school. That’s what I value the most about our school!

Education is both a gift and a right. I feel the teachers at PMonts help our children to appreciate the value of their education. Understanding the value involves looking beyond school and appreciating how education is a tool that will allow them to explore challenging goals, to grow as individuals and most importantly, chase their dreams.

I will never cease to be amazed at the capabilities of the young child. In the Montessori environment, the very youngest students show incredible independence and competence. At Princeton Montessori School the teachers truly help the children to “help me do it myself”.

When I think about my personal philosophy on education I can check all the boxes with regards to the education my daughter is receiving at Princeton Montessori. I feel the teachers motivate the students by focusing on appreciating the value of education and the diversities of peoples around the world while stressing and leveraging the power of the uniqueness in each individual student. Ultimately, the role of an educator is to shape a new generation that will create a safer and better world for the future.

Princeton Montessori School is a school that exceeds any expectations imaginable. The school follows each and every child on an individual basis and nourishes each child’s academic, social, and emotional needs. It is a school where teachers appreciate all unique qualities each child brings.

Our daughter loves being at school. She confidently reported that she was happy with the safety measures in place, and that she felt “safe” at school. This was HUGE.

Princeton Montessori School turned out to be the best investment ever. We made some sacrifices in our lifestyle in order to be able to afford sending both children all the way through 8th grade, but now we are proud to note that we have two capable, confident, well-mannered young adults who are a pleasure to be around and who continue to love to work hard in their studies.

EXCEPTIONAL is the carefully chosen word to describe Princeton Montessori School. Our family has been part of the PMonts community from elementary through middle school. If I could give every child a gift that gift would be for them to experience the joy of learning every single day at PMonts. The multi-age classes provide the advantage of older students leading younger students and younger students watching the wonderful examples of the older children. The children recognize the strengths of others as being positive and not competitive. Princeton Montessori is much more than academic college prep - it is life prep!

Our child previously attended a reputable public elementary school. During that time, she often complained that she was bored at school. I was concerned that the school's 'one-size-fits-all' education model was gradually dimming her thirst for knowledge. I wanted the flames of her engagement and curiosity to be fanned, not extinguished. She is now back at Princeton Montessori and I am happy to report that she is no longer bored. In fact, her inner flame has never been stronger!

We love the fact that your guidelines have been clear and appropriate, and impressing upon families how their role is critical in keeping the wider school community safe. Thanks also for sourcing materials and providing seminars on parenting during this particular time. The fact that the school has remained open all this time is a huge testament to you all.

We have always been thrilled with our PMonts experience, and this fall term has sent us through the roof. We are in awe of the tireless work of the faculty and administration, who have made possible such an inspiring in-person program. I have always been broadly grateful for the PMonts education my children have been so lucky to receive; this summer and fall, I felt grateful each and every day.

As a parent (and faculty member), Molly and I are beyond grateful for PMonts. Our children are SO happy here. I am more of a believer than ever before. Miles was fine at his public school but the difference is really clear - here, he is not just fine - he is totally thriving and so happy! I'm amazed.

"Princeton Montessori School students are open to diverse backgrounds, curious to learn new things, strong in their leadership and presentation skills, and confident. Thank you for providing an educational environment that encourages a child's total development. We know it is an incredible gift." -Middle School Parent

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