La Tierra Staff and Rio Arriba Commisioners

  • La Tierra Staff and Rio Arriba Commisioners

La Tierra Montessori School

Contact: LaTierraSchool
Address: P.O. Box 1399
City: Española
State: New Mexico
Phone: 505-852-0200
Link to your website:
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RACHC Webpage Info:

Now Accepting Enrollment for 2015-2016 School Year

Welcome to La Tierra Montessori School

Mission Statement

La Tierra Montessori School of the Arts and Sciences will provide K-8 students in Española, NM and the surrounding communities the opportunity to improve educational outcomes and reach their maximum potential through an integrated experiential curriculum designed to serve individual learners, the school community of learners, and the community as a whole. La Tierra Montessori School of the Arts and Sciences will utilize an integrated approach to education including Montessori, the Arts, and other proven educational models. Our goal is to foster competent, responsible, healthy, and independent citizens who love learning and respect themselves, other people, and their environment.

What is Montessori?

“…let us give the child a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering aimlessly in the quest for knowledge. He is satisfied having found the universal centre of himself with all things.” (Montessori, 1948: 8)

The Montessori Method

The following points comprise the major tenets of the Montessori philosophy and support the mission and long-range vision of LTMAS. They are distinguishing educational characteristics that set Montessori programs apart from traditional educational philosophies. The Montessori curriculum supports at least four of La Tierra’s essential characteristics: #2(child development orientation), #3(experiential learning, choice, responsibility) #5(multi-aged classrooms), and #6 (multicultural education). For these reasons, the Montessori model is a good choice for La Tierra.

Differentiated Learning

Montessori education’s foundational belief is that all learners are individuals in their style, pace, and interests. The individualized curriculum of LTMAS will encourage children to strive toward achieving optimal outcomes in a non- competitive setting while utilizing authentic Montessori methods and curriculum. Teachers and students will work together to create individualized learning plans to facilitate student responsibility for their own learning. Documents to guide the process of individualized learning may include Annual Goals that provide measurable, yearly objectives; Quarterly Individual Learning Agreements that map plans for achieving the goals; and Weekly Work Plans that list specific actions to be taken each week. These agreements and plans also support personal development. They allow students to make choices for themselves and their learning and give them the opportunity to reflect on and assess their growth as they develop subsequent plans.

Mixed-Age Groupings

Students will be grouped into mixed-age classes that span three years; age five in the kindergarten, ages six to nine(grades 1-3) in lower elementary and ages nine to twelve grades 4-6) in an upper elementary classroom. Many beneficial outcomes occur in age-stratified settings including the opportunity for older children to model learning and to lead younger children through the learning process (Brody, 1983). Peer tutoring also promotes cooperation and a sense of community. Older, experienced students also stabilize the classroom and facilitate teachers spending time with individual students and small groups.

Prepared Environment.

Self-directed learning takes place when the learning, materials, and social climate are carefully set up by the Montessori trained adult. Montessori instruction progresses from concrete explorations and concept development to abstract understandings. Both the indoor and outdoor environments provide a safe and aesthetically pleasing space for learning. Opportunities for outdoor study of the natural environment may take place on school property or within the local area. A student may also bring materials outside of the classroom space for a change in learning environments. Careful preparation and modeling of the social environment introduces students to the rules and limits that when followed allow the freedom that exists in a successful Montessori classroom.


Materials designed by Dr. Montessori for specific learning concepts are neatly arranged on shelving and create a visual presence in the learning environment. These materials are multi-sensory, sequential, and self- correcting materials, which facilitate the learning of skills and concepts. Each classroom is stocked with a full complement of age appropriate Montessori materials that are a consistent part of the Montessori curriculum.

See Attachment H in the Appendices for a complete listing of Montessori materials commonly found in the prepared environment at the preschool and elementary levels.

Peace Curriculum and Conflict Resolution

An integral part of learning for all age levels includes respectful communication and tolerance for all individuals in the community. All adults interacting with students will model appropriate methods for conflict resolution, guide individuals or groups of students to learn non-violent communication methods, and facilitate the understanding of peace as it relates to our world today. Elementary students will deepen their appreciation and knowledge of peace through Montessori’s specially designed peace curriculum. Students will also learn how to develop healthy life habits that will enhance well-being and lead to inner happiness.

Teacher’s Role

The Montessori teacher functions as a designer of the environment, resource person, role model, demonstrator, record keeper, and meticulous observer of each. The teacher acts as a facilitator of learning who integrates the teaching of all subjects, not as isolated disciplines, but as part of a whole intellectual tradition.

Cohesive School Community

Emphasis is placed on creating compassionate, respectful, and interconnected communities of learners within each classroom and is a critical focal part of each new school year. Teachers, staff, parents, and students will have opportunities to work together for the common good of the school and community. Elementary level curriculum supports learning and appreciation of world cultures, the natural environment, and care for animals and plants in the classroom.

Traditional Curriculum vs Montessori Curriculum

In a typical public classroom, the emphasis is on the teacher imparting knowledge and teaching skills to the student. Classroom materials and the classroom environment itself only secondarily support the teacher’s instruction. In a Montessori classroom, although the teacher maintains some responsibility for directly teaching the child, the emphasis is on the student’s own learning from the self-correcting materials and stimulating environment.

Montessori Features

Emphasis on Cognitive structures and social development
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning.
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline.
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student’s learning style.
Mixed age grouping.
Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.
Child chooses own work from interests and abilities.
Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials.
Child works as long as s/he wishes on chosen project.
Child sets own learning pace to internalize information.
Child spots own errors through feedback from the material.
Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success.
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration.
Organized program for learning care of self and environment.
Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will; group work is voluntary and negotiable.
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori Philosophy and participate in the learning process.

Traditional Features
Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development
Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity, child is a passive participant in learning.
Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline.
Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult’s teaching style.
Same age grouping.
Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged.
Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child’s interests.
Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
Child generally given specific time limit for work.
Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher.
If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher.
Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragement.
Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation.
Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance.
Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions.
Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participating in understanding the learning process.


La Tierra Montessori School accepts students from Espanola and surrounding communities from KG to 8th grade. La Tierra does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, economic status, or disabilities, limiting conditions, sexual orientation, country of origin, or color. La Tierra has NO admission requirements beyond those mandated by the state. Enrollment information gathered is limited to the student’s name, age, and last grade completed.

Please download and fill out one of the below application forms and return them to our office:

Lottery Application

Lottery Application in Spanish

Sustainable Agriculture

Students explored different agricultural topics including: Sustainability, Global Warming, Carbon Footprint, Organic farming, use and role of antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides, Local production, GMO vs Heirloom seeds, Composting, Vermicomposting, Car Pooling, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Solar/Wind Energy, Natural building and use of traditional and local materials, Companion planting, Sustainable Agriculture Journal, School Recycling & Composting Program.

Teacher Association (PTA)

Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Mission & Values

The overall purpose of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

PTA Values

Collaboration: We work in partnership with a wide array of individuals and organizations to accomplish our agreed-upon goals.

Commitment: We are dedicated to promoting children’s health, well-being, and educational success through strong parent, family, and community involvement.

Accountability: We acknowledge our obligations. We deliver on our promises.

Respect: We value our colleagues and ourselves. We expect the same high quality of effort and thought from ourselves as we do from others.

Inclusivity: We invite the stranger and welcome the newcomer. We value and seek input from as wide a spectrum of viewpoints and experiences as possible.

Integrity: We act consistently with our beliefs. When we err, we acknowledge the mistake and seek to make amends.

Sept 2012-La Tierra School gets awarded school building by Rio Arriba Commission

Montessori La Tierra FAQ

What is Montessori Anyway? by Salvador Ruiz

"Montessori Madness" on YouTube:

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