MSLF is a private not-for-profit corporation with the mission of operating a school for children from birth through age fifteen in accordance with the educational philosophy and curriculum of Dr. Maria Montessori. Unlike a private business, the school has no “owners” in the traditional sense, and all monies received are directed toward supporting and improving the school’s educational mission. The school distributes no profits and pays no dividends.
MSLF is governed by a Board of Directors and employs an Executive Director, an administrative staff, faculty, and support personnel to implement the school’s programs and to manage day-to-day operations. The school is non-sectarian and rejects all forms of invidious discrimination in hiring, enrollment, and programming. The school qualifies as a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Like all private (and many public) schools, MSLF encourages parents to support its educational programs with contributions of their time and money. The school’s history confirms that tuition and fees can and should cover ordinary operational expenses. However, substantial expansions of programs and facilities, like the multipurpose room and Parent Infant room, are realized only through the extra effort and resources provided by the generosity primarily of parents. In this way the school introduces many young parents to the tradition of giving that builds strong schools, strong cultural institutions, and strong communities. MSLF encourages all contributions of wealth and talent that its parents choose to offer, and thanks all for the many ways, big and small, that their gifts, as volunteers and as contributors, enhance the quality of their children’s education.
At the Montessori School of Lake Forest, we dedicate ourselves to Montessori principles in order to provide an education in excellence to children and families from birth through fifteen. From our Parent Infant Program all the way through our groundbreaking Adolescent Program, our highly trained and experienced faculty and staff offer developmentally appropriate education for children, and useful, inspiring information for parents. MSLF functions as a community that puts the needs of the children first, in service of Maria Montessori’s and our higher goal: an education for peace.
The purpose of the Montessori School of Lake Forest is to care for and educate children from birth to fifteen. MSLF promotes and disseminates the educational principles of Maria Montessori. MSLF does not discriminate against students, applicants for admission, faculty, other employees, or parents on the basis of race, color, sex, creed, or national or ethnic origin.
The Montessori philosophy creates communities of children in which each member is valued and respected. It is MSLF’s goal to place each child in the same group from year to year. To the extent possible, classes are balanced with respect to age, sex, and previous Montessori experience.
- Tour Main Campus
- Complete Application Download Application
Enrollment preference is given to
- Returning Students
- Students moving to next level
- Montessori transfer students
- Other applicants
Once placement is secured, submit complete enrollment packet along with a $600 non-refundable tuition deposit (to be applied to tuition). For more information download your preferred tuition schedule:
The Montessori School of Lake Forest welcomes interested families into our unique learning environment. Tours and information sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be held on:
- May 8th and 22nd
Montessori philosophy, pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907, allows children to direct their own learning interests in a carefully prepared environment, thus allowing them to develop their individual Love of Learning. Our school serves children and their families from birth through 15 years of age and is open year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. To learn more about an education at MSLF, please call Sarah at 847-918-1000 x306
Directions to the Main Building
13700 West Laurel Drive
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
Adolescent Program - Grays Lake Campus
32470 Harris Road
Grayslake, IL 60030
From the North
Take I-94 South past Great America to Highway 21 (Milwaukee Avenue). Travel South on Highway 21 to Route 120 West. Continue three miles West to Route 45. Turn left onto Route 45 to the first stoplight (Jones Point Road), the main entrance to Prairie Crossing. Go West on Jones Point Road. Continue past the ‘T’ intersection (stop sign) staying to the right, on Prairie Trail. Travel to the first road on the right (Harris Road), turn right, and go to parking lot adjacent to blue ranch house and gate with flashing lights. Adolescent Program is in the Blue House.
From the South
Take the Edens and the Tri-State tollway (I-94) North to Route 120. Travel west on Route 120 to Route 45. Take Route 45 South one-half mile to the traffic light at the entrance of Prairie Crossing. Turn into Prairie Crossing at Jones Point Road. Go West on Jones Point Road. Continue past the ‘T’ intersection (stop sign) staying to the right. Travel to the first road on the right (Harris Road), turn right, and go to parking lot adjacent to blue ranch house and gate with flashing lights. Adolescent Program is in the Blue House.
“Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be the victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.”
Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”
Dr. Montessori believed that children have within them everything they need to become highly functioning adults. She felt that the goal of education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate the child’s own natural desire to learn.
In a Montessori classroom, the child’s desire to learn is supported by freedom of choice, repetition of lessons, and practice. The Montessori classroom materials fulfill these purposes, as well as give the child specific immediate information. Classroom use of Montessori materials is based on the child’s unique aptitude for learning at each developmental stage. Dr. Montessori identified the learning style of children through age 6 as the “absorbent mind” which she compared to a sponge in the way it absorbs information from the environment. The process is evident in the way a two-year-old learns language, without formal instruction and without the conscious tedious effort which an adult must make to master a foreign tongue. Acquiring information in this way is a natural and delightful activity for the young child, who employs all of their senses to investigate their interesting surroundings. One hundred years of experience have proved Montessori’s theory that a young child can learn to read, write and calculate in the same natural way that they learned to walk and talk.
Dr. Montessori also identified the learning style of the Elementary age child as “the reasoning mind.” At this time in life, children are interested in understanding the world they absorbed uncritically during their first six years. During the Elementary years, children are explorers and investigators who are interested first and foremost, in understanding reality. Their intellectual power is harnessed in understanding their world through research. Thus, with the support of teachers, parents, and each other, they learn everything they can about the world around them by engaging with it. And they use their imaginations to understand elements of the world that are far away in time, or space. This is the age for the Montessori Great Lessons, and for great work projects that test and temper the child’s imagination, ingenuity, and will.
During the years from 12 to 15, Adolescents undergo tremendous changes in both their brains and their bodies. At the same time, they are particularly sensitive to learning how to live in society. As Maria Montessori saw, Adolescence is a time of a great transition during which young people need guidance and even protection as they come to know and accept themselves and others. On every level, Adolescents benefit from learning by focusing on the whole first so that they can eventually understand the parts.
Maria Montessori’s ideas, developed some 100 years ago, are supported by current brain research, and by the theories of Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Eric Erickson, and other developmental psychologists. Psychologist Benjamin Bloom, of the University of Chicago, wrote in Stability and Change in Human Characteristics “the environment will have maximum impact on a specific trait during that trait’s period of most rapid growth.”
Montessori philosophy sees each child as unique and precious, with magnificent individual potential. In a Montessori classroom, children work in a socially cooperative atmosphere to reach their academic potential. They learn through physical and sensory experience and are given freedom to discover, explore, and create in the prepared classroom. Each room is filled with constructive materials that meet the child’s developmental needs. As the child explores these materials over time, they move from concrete knowledge to abstract understanding. The Montessori trained director guides the child to explore new areas of learning at sensitive periods of individual development.
Starting at age three, Montessori classrooms group children across three-year age spans. Each child moves through periods of being the observer, the participant, and the teacher. Older children help younger children to learn, which reinforces their own knowledge. Younger children admire their older classmates and eagerly anticipate the day when they too will have enough knowledge to act as role models. A caring atmosphere promotes the development of responsibility, collaboration, and cooperation.
As a result of being respected and valued as an important part of their classroom community, children learn to value and respect themselves and one another. At the Montessori School of Lake Forest, children develop social responsibility through self-discipline and generosity. They are self-motivated and, in a sense, self-taught. As a result, they acquire deep self respect, and a deep love of learning that will remain with them all of their lives.
The curriculum at MSLF, based on Maria Montessori’s study of child development, is designed to maximize the development of children through prepared environments. Montessori trained directors conduct carefully planned lessons that children then carry out independently and repeatedly. Children are encouraged to build sensory-motor skills, socialization skills, high self-esteem, inner security, and abiding habits of concentration. Great care goes into preparing and maintaining classroom materials that are beautiful and inviting, and serve as essential components of the curriculum. Montessori pedagogy is approximately 100 years old and is practiced in nearly four thousand public and private schools in the United States, and throughout the world.