The Children’s Own School Experience

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.”

-Maria Montessori

Children’s Own School serves children from 22 months to 6 years of age. Located in a historic Victorian farmhouse that has been meticulously updated and expanded in Winchester, Massachusetts, our approach seeks to support the young child’s absorbent mind and to assist in their complete development.

The school’s property includes five classrooms, multipurpose spaces, and three separate playgrounds. Ample outdoor space surrounds the building where children have daily fresh air while gardening, shoveling snow, climbing, sliding, and playing.

A community is created within the classroom and the school. Our classrooms create a home-like, “living room” for children. Guided by a Montessori trained adult, the child learns through active interaction with the prepared classroom environment and multi-aged peers. 

Our Programs

Toddler  program
(22 months – 3 years)

Primary program
(2.9 years – 6 years)

Fully accredited Kindergarten year
(the final year at COS)


A Day at Children's Own School

Many parents wonder what their children do all day at school. When will they eat? Are they getting outside? These early years can sometimes be the first time your child is away from home for a longer period of time.

In a Montessori environment, we are aiding children in developing their independence. Our priority is creating an extended “work cycle,”or time when children can be self-directed in their activities.

During this time, your child will receive 1:1 instruction, choose familiar materials to use, and practice getting themselves a snack. We go outside every day, believing that there is no such thing as bad weather, only clothing inappropriate for the weather.

8:30 am Arrival
  • Children head to the classroom and take off outdoor gear and put on indoor shoes. 
8:30 – 11:30 am Morning Work Cycle
  • Activities are in the four curriculum areas: practical life, sensorial, language and math. 
  • Snack and bathroom happen on an individual basis. There is a snack table in the classroom along with many food preparation activities (such as banana or apple slicing). We have child-sized bathrooms where children are encouraged in independence, but always supported if they need it. 
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Lunch Time / Dismissal for Half-Day Children
  • Lunch for full-day children
  • Children bring their own packed lunches. We are a nut-free facility. 
  • Lunch ending time is flexible. Children can pack up their lunchboxes as they are finished.
12:00 – 12:30 pm Playground Time
  • Full-day children enjoy playground time following lunch.
12:30 – 2:30pm Afternoon Work Cycle / Rest
  • Depending on a child’s developmental stage, they may sleep on floor mats after lunch, or they may choose to engage with Montessori materials. The guide circulates for additional lessons. 
2:30 – 3:00 pm Afternoon Playground Time / Dismissal
3:00 – 5:00 pm After School Program
  • The After School Program typically involves a snack, more traditional open-ended activities, and additional playground time.

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“COS’s Montessori curriculum has not only helped develop skills, but also has made our child more independent.”

— Pavitra and Jithendra

The Montessori Philosophy

In our increasingly busy and distracting world, attention itself has become a commodity. The Montessori teaching philosophy stands apart, creating peace, organization, and resilience in the developing minds of children. While the world has changed significantly since Dr. Montessori began her teaching tradition, the way a child’s mind develops has not.

The Montessori teaching approach was first created by Dr. Maria Montessori, based on her lifetime of work as a doctor and teacher. Dr. Montessori came to the conclusion that the human mind is constructed to organize and learn from the environment. Based on this recognition, she developed a prepared environment carefully designed to support the young child’s absorbent mind and to assist in their complete development.

These key principles that contribute to the success of the Montessori approach are that movement and learning are closely connected and that movement enhances learning. Children working together in mixed age groups enables them to relate to children who are both older and younger. The Montessori guide’s observation of the child reveals the proper timing for the introduction of new experiences, attending to the child’s sensitive periods of development. In addition, the classroom experience is built on the desire of the young child to master his or her environment and the use of self-correcting materials.  These materials allow the child to manipulate and explore at their own pace.

The COS Community

“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.”  – Maria Montessori

Parents are the child’s first and most important teachers.  Strong communication between home and school serves the child.  Families are invited to observe our classrooms at any time.  We hold conferences twice a year to discuss the overall development of the child, though teachers are always available to meet in person or talk on the phone.

We are a community for parents and families as well as children. Our active Parent Committee works together to build relationships between families through social gatherings and fundraising. The Parent Committee provides funds each year to advance the good work of the school, and support the children on Financial Aid.

The School's History

“To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.”

– Maria Montessori

Children’s Own School was founded in 1942 by Dorothy Sprague Gove as a small, private preschool for children between the ages of 2.5 and 6 years based on the Montessori principles of education. It was incorporated in 1947, and it is the oldest Montessori school in New England. 

Children’s Own School occupies the former Russell Farm at 86 Main Street.  The property includes an historic victorian farmhouse with a new multi-level addition.  Our three playgrounds provide ample outdoor space for children to garden, rake, shovel snow, swing, climb, slide, and play.