Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School

Home Page
Programs & Enrollment
Academic Programs
Trails Before & After School Program
Community Learning Center
Your Support of LCMCS
Community Pages
Current Parent Information
Executive Director's Blog
About Us
Contact Us

Primary Elementary Middle School
The LCMCS Primary Program includes a traditional Montessori “Children’s House” classroom of 3 to 6 year olds, as well as a non-traditional classroom of 5 and 6 year olds. The children in the primary classroom are exposed to a wide variety of experiences in a safe, prepared environment, allowing exploration of the world through materials that give the children the keys to experiences outside the classroom. 

Enrollment in the charter school as a 5-6 year old is a state-funded, full day program for all students. Enrollment is by lottery.

Why is it called a "Children's House"? 

The term comes from the very first program begun in Rome, Italy in 1907 by Dr Maria Montessori, which she called the Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House. This is where Dr Montessori began her own exploration of creating an educational system that serves children's developmental needs. The term connotes that it is a place for children to explore learning naturally and over the years has come to be applied to those programs serving children ages three to six years. 

The norm in the Montessori Method of education is for classrooms with a three-year age span. This allows for an entering child to remain with the same class/teacher/peer group for a full three years. Much peer learning takes place between and within the age groups, and children are allowed to progress at their own rate. 

Typical for early childhood education in Montessori is a classroom with three to six year olds, who then graduate to elementary classrooms.

The Overview

  • The Children’s House is a fee-based private program affiliated with LCMCS
  • It is important to note that enrollment in the Children’s House does not guarantee admission to the LCMCS Kindergarten or elementary, with the exception of siblings of LCMCS enrolled students.
  • Children may matriculate into the program throughout the fall. Enrollment will be open all year for incoming 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

This program will provide a quality Montessori early childhood education program for area residents. It will also provide many children entering LCMCS with having Montessori experience for greater than one year’s time before entering the LCMCS elementary classrooms, and serve our community’s needs for early childhood education. It serves to bring greater awareness to Montessori education and provide jobs in the Gresham/Damascus area.

Tuition, hours, enrollment and other information for the Children’s House program
Monthly tuition must be paid by electronic debit from your checking account by signing our Direct Payment Authorization Form. Half day is $5100.00 with 10 payments of $510.00/month. Full day is $8175.00 with 10 payments of $817.50/month. The annual resource fee of $250.00 will be waived with payment in full at school start. Tuition will be prorated for children who begin after the first day of school.
Hours Half Day: 8:00 AM to 12:15 AM Monday through Friday. Full Day: 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM Monday through Thursday and 8:15 AM to 1:30 PM Friday- early release day. The program is five days per week.
Enrollment eligibility and priorities Enrollment is open to all children ages 3-5, without discrimination to ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, or any other social, cultural or economic division.
Enrollment is open until filled, whereupon a wait list will be maintained.
Priority may be given to siblings of students currently enrolled in LCMCS. Other decisions about student acceptance may be made by the Executive Director to maintain the gender and age balance important to growing a Children’s House program.
Enrollment dates and procedures There is no fee to apply, though there is a $100 deposit due upon acceptance, applicable to the first month's tuition. Parents must sign a tuition contract agreement to enroll their child.
Returning students will start the first day of school in September 2017.
Program Day The classroom day would be guided by Montessori Method best practices. The daily schedule may look something like this: 
  • The children arrive, care for their things, gather together briefly
  • Individual and group work time for all students. The children are given lessons with materials on the shelves, in social relations, and in movement. The work encompasses all “curriculum” areas, including preparation for mathematical concepts, preparation for reading and writing, natural and physical science, geography, music, art, social development, and movement. There is a flow from indoor and outdoor environments. Snack will be served during the morning.
  • Children go outside
  • Lunch and clean-up
  • Nap set-up and story time
  • Nap period for children who nap. Activities continue for other children.
  • The Children prepare to go home
Personnel The program will be overseen and administrated by Melissa Harbert, Executive Director, Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School.
Parent Education and Community Parent and Teacher Conferences are scheduled for November and March, dates to be announced. Although they may be held at other times as requested by the teacher and/or parents.
Like all Montessori programs, parents are encouraged to observe their child and the classroom at work. However, respect is given to the classroom for settling in before admitting guests to observe. Typical is to allow at least 6 weeks for this process after the last children have begun. Classroom observations of the Children’s House by parents may begin in mid-Oct. More information will be forthcoming when this time approaches.
Families enrolled in the Children’s House only will be provided with the LCMCS news communications, as well as short communications about the Children’s House. Children’s House only families will also be welcomed and encouraged to attend parent education nights and other events hosted by LCMCS.
Calendar The Children's House is a fee-based private program affiliated with the Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School, and will follow the same school calendar as LCMCS. Families not enrolled in LCMCS but in the Children's House will be provided with a school calendar.
Contact Information For more information, please contact:
Our Main Office, 503-427-0803, email: info@LCMCS.org
Melissa Harbert, LCMCS Executive Director at mharbert@LCMCS.org
Mishawn Nelson, Office Manager at mnelson@LCMCS.org


The Primary curriculum includes beautifully made materials that are meant to give sensorial impressions of qualities and experiences. The adult introduces the child to the material, and then steps back and allows for greater exploration with a minimum of guidance. Through the curriculum, the Kindergarten student is exposed to a wealth of impressions and information, as well as building basic skills. 

Allowing the child early in life to explore the natural and cultural worlds, to experience many sensorial impressions, and to explore social relationships gives students the opportunity to become a self-motivated, independent learners with an active interest in learning that will continue throughout life. 

Characteristics of the Child Under 6 Years

The child in the first plane of development has unique characteristics, noted above, which naturally predispose him to an exceptional ability to learn. Recent research has borne out Montessori's theory that the human personality is formed largely by the experiences gained in the first six years of life. Though people continue to grow and change and learn throughout life, much of the basics of the personality have been formed by the experiences in early childhood. 

Dr. Montessori observed in the child under 6 years of age a remarkable capacity to learn and to assimilate information from the world around him. She called this the "absorbent mind", referring to the young child's ability to take in impressions and experiences in their entirety, likening the mind of the young child to a sponge soaking up eagerly whatever comes its way. 

This age of child has an irrepressible thirst for experiences. There are rapid changes occurring in the body and mind of the child, which tends to increase their sensitivity to the environment. Firmly rooted in the present, the tangible and the facts, the young child has difficulty projecting forward or backward in time, imagining information that is not concrete and separating fiction from reality. The children work toward functional independence, gaining positive social relations, and for refining their fine and gross motor skills. The materials and classroom environment are constructed so that the young child can satisfy the needs for development during this important formative period. 

Practical Life

The students delight in the exercises of "Practical Life", which allows the child to refine movement, follow a logical sequence, and develop concentration and independence. The exercises themselves incorporate the skills of daily living: care of the self (dressing, buttoning, tying, grooming, etc.), or care of the environment (table washing, dusting, polishing, sewing, etc.). The student is given the freedom to repeat the exercises and master the hand-eye coordination involved, while satisfying the child's deep urge for useful work.

Sensorial Materials

These materials encourage the children to discover and experiment with the various impressions of the senses – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Actively using sequenced materials allows the child to use all five senses while learning. Through the work with the materials, a child gains the ability to interpret, organize, and classify the impressions. Building on these first experiences, the student develops more conceptual understanding of ways to explore the world, laying a foundation for abstract learning.


The children progress naturally through the exploration of spoken and written language, first with the sounds in a word, then on to the symbols of letter shapes, to writing phonetically and finally to an “explosion” into reading and writing. At a young age, the children gain an appreciation for the use of language and skills to convey their thoughts to others. Reading skills develop further with the experience of stories and poetry. The children enjoy the study of grammar through games of symbols and objects.


Based on an experiential, activity-based approach, concrete manipulative materials lay the groundwork for the understanding of the sequence of numbers, the decimal system, and the basic arithmetic operations. With the materials, the children have a sensory exploration of the basic concepts of algebra and geometry. The concrete introduction leads the child through a gradually more abstract process, developing reasoning and problem solving capabilities.

Geography, Botany, Zoology, Physics

The materials lead the children on an exploration of the continents and countries of the world, along with the cultures and needs of the people of the planet. The world's flora and fauna are introduced through a study of botany, zoology and the biomes of the world, and the children also explore the basic concepts of physics.

Expression and Music

A variety of artistic media are introduced to the children, who then are allowed to explore the possibilities, thus producing true creative expression. The children are given the opportunity to work with the diatonic and chromatic scales in music, and are exposed to many styles and uses of instruments through music appreciation. The classes also sing together, and act out dramatic stories.
Se Habla Español
E-mail | 503.427.0803 | Facebook

Director's Blog
Join Our Mailing List
Official Facebook Page

Administrative Team
Adolescent Program (MAC)
Older Elementary
Younger Elementary
Early Childhood
Special Programs
What is a Charter School?
What is Montessori?

Primary Program
Elementary Program
Middle School (MAC)
Before & After School
Primary Enrollment Application
Enrollment Application
Sign up for After-School Classes
Direct Payment Authorization/ACH Form
Student & Family Handbook
Online Payments
School Calendar
Activities Calendar
LCMCS FB Bulletin Board

Order Lunches
Food Program FB Page
Community Learning Center
Community Service
Damascus Farmer's Market

Upcoming Events
Annual Fund
Our Supporters
Copyright © 2010-2016 Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School. All Rights Reserved. Legal Information
Websystem design and hosting provided by WolfPk.