explore our community facts & forms contact us
about our classrooms
a day in the life
teachers and staff
meet our head teachers
College Oak Montessori School maintains a program based on Maria Montessori's philosophy of child development and education. Our goal is to promote independence and responsibility while allowing children to experience the joy of learning at a young age. We welcome children ages 2 to 6 years old, which includes the kindergarten year. Please visit About Our Classrooms to learn more.

College Oak is open all year. Our academic year runs from the end of August through the beginning of June and we also have a summer program. Campus is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm. A variety of schedules are available from full to half days, with a choice of 5, 4 or 3 days per week. Please visit A Day in the Life to learn more.

Our campus offers the beauty of the country with the convenience of the city. Children play on our play structure made of recycled plastic, care for chickens, plant and harvest food from our organic gardens, observe butterflies and other critters on our nature trail and run in our huge grass yard.

At College Oak everyday is Earth Day. Children eat wholesome snack and lunch on china plates, using cloth napkins and placemats. Vegetarian hot lunch is catered and served family-style from reusable containers. Food scraps are composted on campus to help nourish our gardens. Children and staff re-use, reduce and recycle every day to care for our school and our global community. On April 22 (Earth Day) we throw a party to celebrate our wonderful planet. Please visit Our Celebrations to learn more.

Come see for yourself, schedule a tour.
about our classrooms

Walk into one of our three Primary Classrooms (ages 3 to 6 years old) and you will see twenty-four children working at their own pace, following their own interests. Perhaps a three year old is arranging the pink tower from smallest to largest, while a four year old works to learn the sounds of the alphabet. Meanwhile, a five year old child works with another Kindergartener adding with the "golden beads". By mixing these ages together, children have the opportunity for constant interaction, problem solving, child to child teaching and socialization.

In our Primary Prep classroom, younger children (ages 2 to 3 years old) interact in a smaller environment with twelve to fourteen children. Primary Prep children have their own outdoor play area, child-sized toilet for potty training and quiet nap time after lunch.

The classroom environments have been specially prepared to be inviting for all children at various levels of development and interests. Rather than telling children what to do, Maria Montessori recommended that adults "follow the child". Children, given freedom to move around the classroom, use their time at school to explore and make discoveries.

By allowing children to choose their own work, they are able to follow their innate curiosity and self-motivation, leading to self-confidence and inner joy. Of course, freedom requires boundaries, such as respect for others and care of the shared environment, which head teachers and assistants model. Children thrive in this rich environment and at College Oak Montessori we often hear children say, "I did it myself!"

a day in the life

7:00 am   |   Campus Opens for "Early Bird Club"
This before school care program offers children a chance to move into their day in a gentle manner. Children are offered a variety of activities including art, dramatic play, games and books. At 8:30 am, Primary Prep children move to the play yard outside their classroom, while the Primary children play in the big yard.

9:00 am   |   Academic Day begins
During morning session, children participate in group circle time, have an extended work period to follow their own interests, enjoy snack and outside time.

Noon   |   Hot lunch is served at noon, followed by clean up.

1:00 pm   |   Nap time for Primary Prep and younger Primary children or outside time for Primary children
Primary children will rejoin their regular class when they wake up from nap. Primary children who do not nap enjoy outside time until 1:45 pm and then return to their classroom for an afternoon work session.

3:00 pm   |   Academic Day ends
"3 to 6 Club" meets for children staying on campus after the academic day ends. Children have an extended outside time, perhaps including a gardening project, before going inside. "3 to 6 Club" is a time for children to wind down after a busy day with stories, snack, group games, arts and crafts and other activities.

6:00 pm   |   Campus closes

teachers and staff

Our dedicated staff brings years of experience, knowledge and joy to College Oak Montessori. In the office you'll meet our office staff and school administrator. In the classrooms you'll see head teachers working with assistants, while before and after school caregivers help College Oak children feel safe and nurtured.

Head teachers have been trained in the Montessori approach to development and education, in addition to holding a bachelor's degree. Montessori head teachers are responsible for setting up the prepared classroom environment to make it inviting and stimulating for young children.

Head teachers are trained observers. Like Dr. Montessori, the teacher's goal is to allow a child to explore the environment with as little interference from adults as possible. When a child first enters the classroom, gentle reminders may be needed while the child learns procedures. This guidance may include how to put a work away, respecting other's work, how to work on a table or mat and other practical aspects of functioning in the classroom.

Through careful observation, the teacher is able to best meet the needs of each child. Teachers recognize when a child is ready for a "lesson" or introduction to a new materials in language, math, geography, biology and more. After a brief introduction, the child is free to explore and work with the materials, many of which are designed to be self-correcting.

Each classroom has an assistant in addition to the head teacher. Assistants support the classroom, allowing the head teacher concentrated time with the children.

meet our head teachers

Jerry Silhanek, Primary 1 Head Teacher
Jerry received his Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1970, then completed the St. Nicolas Montessori training. He has worked in the Montessori preschool-Kindergarten environment since 1978, working at College Oak Montessori as Primary 1 Head Teacher since 1990.

Jerry has lived in Sonoma County for over thirty five years, currently living in Cazadero with his wife, eight cats, two rabbits and two dogs. His interests include backpacking, skiing, music, cosmology and the mystery of life.

Jeannette Frank, Primary 2 Head Teacher
Jeannette comes from Chicago, Illinois where she received her preschool teacher training at Truman College in 1976. Choosing to specialize in Montessori methods, she received her Montessori teaching certificate in 1980.

Jeannette has been teaching at College Oak since 1992 and currently is the Head Teacher in Primary 2. Married for over 25 years to her husband, Bill, she has two daughters who are both graduates from College Oak. She enjoys ice-skating and family camping trips.

Michelle Gleed, Primary 3 Head Teacher
Michelle moved to Santa Rosa in 1991 after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree from Humboldt State University. Michelle began her Montessori career here at College Oak in 1991 by running the hot lunch program and assisting in the Primary 1 classroom. She received her Montessori teaching diploma and has been Head Teacher in Primary 3 since 2002.

Michelle lives in Cazadero with her husband, eight cats, two rabbits and two dogs. She enjoys yoga, vegetarian cooking, animals and gardening.

Jeanne Maher, Primary Prep Head Teacher
Jeanne is a native Californian and has lived in Sonoma County since 1970. She studied Early Childhood Education at Santa Rosa Junior College, and received her B.A. in Liberal Arts at Sonoma State as well as a teaching credential. She ran an in-home preschool for five years and has been Primary Prep head teacher since 2001.

Jeanne lives in Sebastopol with her husband and two daughters and enjoys gardening, hiking and camping.

Email: info@collegeoakmontessori.org    |   Phone: 707.579.5510
All images and content property of College Oak Montessori School   |   © 2015 College Oak Montessori School