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Montessori School

History and Philosophy

Our K-6 Montessori program serves the attendance area of Mountain Home and the Mountain Home Air Force Base. The K-6 Montessori program will grow one grade level per year beginning with Kindergarten and ending with the 6th grade. We will build facilities as needed.


At McKenna Montessori we are invested in creating respectful relationships among teachers, administrative staff, parents, and children. We appreciate and celebrate diversity and recognize how we as a school benefit from the array of cultural backgrounds and traditions that families and staff members bring to our community. We work to provide an inclusive environment and do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, handicap, or sexual orientation.

Our approach to education is based on the philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, the first Italian female physician who founded the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907. Dr. Montessori believed that the goal of the educational process was to cultivate a child’s natural desire to learn. Dr. Montessori observed that all children have the same basic needs:

- The need for order – to organize, classify and interpret reality

- The need for independence – the impulse to act personally upon and within reality

- The need for social relationships

- The need to experience reality through imagination


The teacher carefully prepares the classroom environment and directs the activity of the classroom, but it is the child who learns. Dr. Montessori observed that children are motivated through the work itself and that children, like adults, learn best by doing rather than being filled with facts. Concentration, determination, and purpose established in early childhood lead to confident, successful learning later in life. At McKenna Montessori, children learn how to observe, think, and evaluate and experience the joy of learning. The Montessori approach is not a tweaking of traditional models of education, it is a completely different way of learning and teaching designed to prepare children for success in an increasingly complex world.


Richard McKenna Montessori is an advocate for the child, developing education programs that follow the natural needs and development of the child. We believe each person has the potential to achieve success through an ordered, challenging, nurturing educational environment that includes the whole person – intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical. At the center is the child, whose needs are the focus of the learning process.

Phases and classroom space

The McKenna Montessori School will have two phases. Phase 1 is the completion of two 2500 square foot buildings at 1305 East 8th North, Mountain Home, ID 83647 which will house grades K-1 (eventually K-3).


Each of the classrooms is thoughtfully arranged and offers an inviting space for activity that is focused and calm. Learning materials are displayed on shelves that are accessible to the children to foster independence as the students go about their daily work. There are spaces in the classroom that allow for group activity as well as areas where the student can work alone. Parts of each classroom are open and spacious to allow younger children to lay out materials for exploration. There are well-defined spaces for each part of the curriculum, such as Language Arts, Math, and Culture. Each of these areas features shelves or display tables with a variety of inviting materials from which students can choose.

Curriculum and teachers

Our highly trained, credentialed teachers nurture and cultivate each child’s curiosity while providing a strong foundation for continued academic success. McKenna Montessori provides a warm, vibrant, educational home designed to foster a love of learning and help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. We strive to educate the whole child and to inspire children to be caring, socially responsible participants in their community and world. Our carefully prepared classrooms are staffed with highly qualified, Montessori-trained teachers. Multi-age classrooms allow the children to learn from one another and to be valued contributors to the classroom community.


The term Montessori implies both philosophy and a method of education philosophy based on the research of Dr. Maria Montessori – an Italian physician and educator. At its heart, the Montessori method emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and a respect for the child. Classroom spaces are purposefully designed and materials carefully curated in pursuit of an education partnership. Multi-aged classrooms provide benefits that are readily apparent when visiting the classroom. Younger children in the classroom have an opportunity to observe and imitate the older students as they work. Older students have an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by explaining what they are doing and assisting and mentoring younger children. Each child can learn and develop at his own pace within a classroom that accommodates many levels of ability and complexity.


The training of a Montessori teacher is integral to the Montessori method. Our teachers use both concrete teaching materials and a well-defined innovative curriculum tailored to the child. The Montessori teacher is specially trained to observe each child and to design lessons based on that child’s natural curiosity and love of learning. The teacher is responsible for preparing the educational environment within each classroom and for presenting lessons in that environment. During the course of a day, the teacher will demonstrate a wide array of concrete sensory materials and sequential activities through individual instruction. The child soon learns to associate abstract concepts with hands-on experience.

Family Commitment

Parents are a fundamental part of the well-being of our school and of a successful educational experience for their child. As such, we have the expectation that all members of the school community participate and support the school whenever possible.


It is the hope and expectation of McKenna Montessori that parents make every effort to understand and embrace the mission of the school. To that end, we aim to help parents learn about the Montessori approach by providing information and opportunities for parent education (like our Parent Gatherings). Dates and times of McKenna Montessori Parent Gatherings will be posted on our platform called Montessori Compass. All parents receive login information for Montessori Compass. Student progress updates will be sent to parents via Montessori Compass.

Additionally, we expect parents to familiarize themselves with the philosophy, policies, and procedures contained in the McKenna Montessori Parent Handbook and other school publications, including our regular email communications.


Parents are welcome and encouraged to be an active part in their child’s education. In addition to teacher updates, a regularly updated website at rmckenna.org, we invite parents to observe in the classroom, join us on field trips, help us organize school events or fundraisers, and connect with each other at parent gatherings.


We would like to meet you!  Contact the main office at 208-580-2347 to arrange classroom visits.