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Montessori Children's House of Godfrey

5800 Godfrey Rd. Godfrey, IL 62035

About Us

Montessori Children's House is a private school for early childhood and elementary education. The school was founded by Rod and Jane Connell in 1979 and is located on the beautiful, culturally rich campus of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. In addition to the school, Montessori Children's House offers a licensed toddler program, before and after school care program, and summer program. 

The school offers the full range of the educational methods and materials developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, whose revolutionary and exceptional contributions to education are respected worldwide. By following and facilitating the child's natural planes of development and interests, outstanding academic achievement as well as a deep love of learning is attained; The Montessori method is a "whole-child" approach, educating mind, soul and spirit, developing the full potential of each child, the goal being a highly functioning adult: intelligent, creative, compassionate, strongly motivated, and ready to make a positive impact on the world around them. 

The school has a well-qualified and diverse staff of eighteen teachers and aides, each with the educational credentials for the levels and subjects taught.

The college campus provides our students with a spacious playground, ponds, creeks and woods for hikes and nature study, beautiful gardens and sculptures, a dance studio, gymnasium, swimming pool, and a stage for the school's musical performances. In addition, the college hosts art exhibitions, musical performances, poetry readings, brown bag lunches, historical reenactments, and educational presentations that enrich our students' experience at Montessori Children’s House and are incorporated into our curriculum.

Montessori Children's House is a member of the American Montessori Society and is registered with Illinois State Board of Education.

Come visit us and explore this extraordinary opportunity for your child!

Why Montessori?

Montessori schools begin with a deep respect for children as unique individuals. They work from a deep concern for their social and emotional development. 

Montessori schools are warm supportive communities of students, teachers, and parents. Children don't get lost in the crowd!

Montessori schools consciously teach children to be kind and peaceful.

Montessori classrooms are bright, exciting environments for learning.

Montessori classes bring children together in multi-age groups, rather than classes comprised of just one grade level. Normally, the classes span three age levels. Children stay with their teachers for three years. This allows teachers to develop close and long-term relationships with their pupils, allows them to know each child's learning style, and encourages a strong sense of community among the children. Every year more non-Montessori schools adopt this effective strategy.

Montessori classrooms are are not run by the teachers alone. Students are taught to manage their own community and develop leadership skills and independence.

Montessori assumes that children are born intelligent: they simply learn in different ways and progress at their own pace. The Montessori approach to education is consciously designed to recognize and address different learning styles, helping students learn to study most effectively. Students progress as they master new skills, moving ahead as quickly as they are ready. 

Montessori students rarely rely on texts and workbooks. Why? Because many of the skills and concepts that children learn are abstract, and texts simply don't bring them to life. Also, in the case of reading, many reading series fail to collect first-rate and compelling stories and essays; instead, Montessori relies upon hands on concrete learning materials and the library, where children are introduced to the best literature and reference materials.

Learning is not focused on rote drill and memorization. The goal is to develop students who really understand their school work. 

Montessori students learn through hands-on experience, investigation, and research. They become actively engaged in their studies rather than passively waiting to be taught. Montessori challenges and sets high expectations for all students, not only those considered “gifted”.

Students develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation. After graduation from Montessori, these values serve them well in high school, college, and throughout their lives.

Montessori schools normally reflect a highly diverse student body, and their curriculum promotes mutual respect and global perspective.

Students develop a love for the natural world. Natural science and outdoor education are an important element of our children's experience.

The Montessori curriculum is carefully structured among the different subject areas. Every class teaches critical thinking, composition, and research. History lessons link architecture, the arts, science, and technology.

Students learn to care about others through community service.

Montessori teachers facilitate learning, coach students along, and come to know them as friends and mentors. 

Students learn not to be afraid of making mistakes; they come to see their mistakes as natural steps in the learning process.

Montessori students learn to collaborate and work together in learning and major projects. They strive for their personal best, rather than compete against one another for the highest grade in their class.


Toddler Program: Age 2
The toddler program is fully licensed through DCFS and serves two year old children.
The prepared environment is specifically designed for the child, created to facilitate their developmental needs. Maria Montessori observed that children of this age learn by “doing”, writing that the “hand is the instrument of the mind”. So, the room is filled with materials for use by handlingand manipulating. Independence, coordination, order, self-discipline and concentration are developed.

Children work individually and cooperatively with materials and exercises that engage their curiosity.They are given lessons using the materials, then are free to repeat them as often as they choose, the two-year old learns by repetition and loves to do things over and over. The children are also allowed to explore and observe what others are doing. The aim is to create a love of work and the joy of learning.

Toddlers are in a sensitive period for movement and walking, so movement around the environment, as well as manipulating the materials that are in it, are provided and encouraged. Hand-eye coordination and gross and fine motor skills are the goal of this area.

Toddlers are very curious and energetic, eager to learn about the things around them. They are attracted to colors, animals, shapes, sounds and objects to grasp (toys with knobs, handles and buttons). Simple puzzles, toys with music and different sounds and songs are a part of each day in the program. Also, books that are colorful and eye-catching are made available and regularly rotated.

Language development is a critical area of development for the toddler; so, a rich field of concrete experiences is offered, followed by the words and language for those experiences. In this way, vocabulary and comprehension are rapidly increased.

Toilet learning vs. toilet training is practiced. Toilet training is often adult-oriented, taught as a convenience to parents and at times much earlier than the child is ready. Use of the toilet is taught as a natural development for the child and not something imposed upon the child with a system of rewards and punishments; negativity should have no part in the teaching of toilet use.

The Montessori environment is the perfect place for toddlers, encouraging and facilitating their natural planes of development to the fullest. 

Primary Program: Ages 3-6
Primary classrooms are designed specially for the child and the entire environment is created to facilitate the learning process. Maria Montessori observed that children learn by doing and wrote that the “hand is the instrument of the mind”.

The Montessori curricula, techniques and materials satisfy the natural tendency for this age child to learn by doing. Independence, coordination, order, self-discipline and concentration are developed. Children work individually and cooperatively with materials that engage their curiosity.

The children are given lessons using the materials and then are free to explore and observe. An emphasis is placed on the process rather than the product of learning. The aim is to develop a love of work and a joy of learning.

The Montessori primary program includes activities for practical life, sensorial (refinement of the senses), language and mathematics. Geography, history, physical science, and life science are presented to the child through various language and manipulative activities. Movement, music and art form part of the day-to-day activities. 

Elementary Program 
It is at the elementary level that children become fascinated with the “how” and “why” of everything. Using the skills acquired in the primary (preschool) years, the elementary students become explorers of the universe in a more profound way. They are entering a period of imagination, reason, socialization and moral justice. They begin to realize that they love to learn.

While the primary-aged child, from age three to six may ask the adult, “Help me do it myself” the elementary child asks, “Help me think of it myself.”

Dr. Montessori’s plan for educating the elementary child is to give him a vision of the universe and raise a thinking child. The result of her work is an integrated curriculum: Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra, Language, Reading, Grammar, Literature, History, Physical Geography, Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, Anatomy, Ecology, Chemistry, Geology, Mineralogy, Astronomy, Drama, Music, Art, and Physical Education.

Montessori education teaches children to think, not just memorize facts, feed them back and forget them. Students literally learn how to learn and become fully engaged in the learning process. Children work both individually and in groups and are encouraged to pursue their own passion, with guidance of the teacher.

One distinct characteristic of the Montessori elementary program is the absence of regularly scheduled grades and tests. Children are able to assess their work weekly with the teacher. Individual goals are set, allowing each child the chance to know what it means to work to his or her fullest potential. The freedom allowed and the responsibility expected in the classroom enable the child to develop a strong
sense of self-esteem and inner discipline that is carried throughout the child’s life of learning. 

Before and After School Program
Montessori Children's House offers before and after school care. The program consists of engaging activities, games, art projects, recess, and a snack.
Summer Programs
Montessori Children’s House offers 6 weeks of summer school for children ages 3 - 12. Summer school classes are theme based and vary week to week. Please contact the office for more information. Montessori Children’s House offers child care services Monday – Friday, from 7:00 am – 5:30 pm during the summer for children ages 2 - 12.


  • My son just graduated today from Montessori Children's House, after 11 years with them. For 11 years I haven't worried whether or not he was having a good day- I've never seen a kid come out of those doors anything but happy. For 11 years, I've had zero worries about homework, grades, whether he'd get in trouble because I got him to school late (again), bullying, how his teachers treated him, if his clothes were "cool," if he'd get to play outside, if he had friends, who his friends were, if he was under too much pressure, if he'd be able to keep up with school and all his extra-curriculars, if they'd understand he needed a few days off because his dad was visiting from out of state. For 11 years, I've sent him to school KNOWING he'd be treated like family. He has never liked to miss school, including for summer break and snow days, and today is very bittersweet for both of us.  I didn't intend to send him to preschool at all, but at age 3, he begged me to go to school. What started as 3 half days, soon turned into full days, once he realized some of his friends got to stay all day. What started as, "We'll just go through preschool, then move him, " turned into "Are you sure I can't do high school here?"
    Montessori Children's House, thank you for EVERYTHING. We will be forever grateful.

-Shannon Blackorby

  • Steve and I firmly believe in the Montessori approach to learning. We feel our 3 children benefited from the Montessori method where children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings. They were then given developmentally appropriate materials and the freedom to follow their interests, They then joyfully taught themselves.Our oldest child is in Medical school and our second child is attending Cambridge UK for her Masters and our third child is working on his BA in Cybersecurity. We are quite sure that their early Montessori education helped them with their self esteem and love of learning.
    All 3 of our adult children are avid readers today because of this approach.

-Kim Pope

  • With a span of nearly 25 years from our start at The Montessori Children’s House when we enrolled our oldest child after she had just turned 3…through the day our 4th and youngest child graduated and moved to our parish school for middle school, we were continually amazed at their engagement in everything they were learning at school.  Although our 4 children have very different learning styles, interests and personalities, each one thrived at Montessori under the tutelage of Rod and Jane Connell and their faculty. Today, each one still carries with them in their quiver of arrows: knowledge, critical thinking, compassion, and a lifelong love of learning, all of which were kindled at Montessori.

-George and Laurie Milnor (parents of): Ashley Milnor, Evan Milnor, Kendall Milnor & M. Reed Milnor

  • Montessori Children's House was such a great choice for my son for K-5. We definitely would have stayed longer if the Connells had been offering high school back then. My son is an only child and his teachers there, along with our guidance, helped him develop into such a well-rounded young man. These teachers helped me to be a better parent, too, in my humble opinion. At 27 years old now, he still gets a bit choked up and sentimental when we talk about Rod, Jane, and Mrs Fleetwood and all they did for him. Deborah may have forced him to redo ALL those daily math sheets until he got it right, but guess what--he excelled at it in Jr high and high school and scored a 33/36 on his ACT in that subject!! Way to go Rod and Mrs F. !! He graduated from Alton High and then the U of IL, and has been an engineer at John Deere and now is employed at Boeing. As a teacher of higher education, there is no doubt in my mind that this school gave him the best foundation for his continued educational experiences. He is still hungry for it--he is preparing his application for grad school this week! Thumbs up X 10 for this fabulous school! 

-Michelle Singley 

  • Montessori Children's House has been such a great choice for our family.  Each one of our children were extremely well prepared for the next step in their academic life - high school, college, and  graduate school.  We have had the opportunity to see how a Montessori education has benefited each of our children, regardless of their learning styles and interests. Montessori Children's House helped develop a deep love of learning. They provided opportunities for further exploration about topics and explained the connection between school subjects surrounding the lessons, which was always fascinated our children. All of our children developed self-discipline, the ability to self start, highly developed critical thinking skills, and of course the love of learning. Montessori Children's House also helped develop their character, their views about humanity and what truly is right and wrong.  When issues arose, which always do with children (regardless of where they attend school),  the staff took the time to teach and explain why the behavior was wrong verses just handing out punishments and using terms and language that children do not understand. We truly feel that understanding and internalizing why something is wrong is the key to changing behavior that last a lifetime, not just when someone is watching. All of our children are excellent students.  One of them even getting a 36/36 on the reading portion of their ACT.  My children have now had other teachers and been to other schools, but will tell you that Montessori Children's House was their favorite school. We believe that Montessori Children's House is an authentic Montessori school that has and will continue to develop adults that Maria Montessori said was possible given the right education and the right school. 

-Former Parent 

  • We are very happy to have chosen Montessori as our son’s preschool and grade school. From our first visit to his last day of school, the environment was warm and personable, and the teachers were caring and attentive. The children received both group instruction as well as individual instruction that focused on each child’s specific needs. On any given visit, it was apparent the children were intently engaged in their academic work and play activities. When needing assistance, children seemed equally comfortable to ask their teacher or a classmate for help.  The air of support and cooperation among the children was always noticeable. We liked being updated regularly on our son’s progress and we were always informed early if there was a concern. When the time came, he easily transitioned to his public school. To this day, our son is remains friends with many of his Montessori classmates and his father and I are still in contact with other Montessori parents.  It was a very good experience for both our son and for us as parents.

-Renée Bauer

Views: 6757 | Updated: Nov, 13, 2019 | Added: Nov, 5, 2013

200 W. Third Street | Alton, IL 62002
Suite 200