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  • Writer's pictureJulia Liljegren

The DHMC Difference

At DHMC we have a vision that we are passionate about fulfilling every day: cultivating curiosity, unleashing creativity and educating for a peaceful world. This vision and the many ways we realize it sets us apart from other schools.

Cultivating Curiosity

It has been said, “The future belongs to the curious.” Therefore, it is crucial to foster it in our children. Curious kids seek knowledge and understanding. At DHMC, students probe our world and its many possibilities, absorbing and connecting information along the way, rather than merely memorizing and parroting information imparted to them.

We cultivate curiosity by preparing an environment that opens the door to discovery. We encourage students to be inquisitive and empower them to explore. Teachers observe and follow the child, igniting and building on sparks of interest and engagement. Through intentionally designed Montessori materials and the guidance of our teachers, lessons come to life. Field trips and going out experiences (whether on school grounds, in the community or out of state) foster independence, expand students’ horizons, and serve to contextualize and cement concepts and skills learned in class. Every day in many ways we guide students in mastering how to think not what to think, and they find joy in the process.

Unleashing Creativity

Our vision, however, is not limited to the intellectual, but extends into the realm of imagination. Creativity resides within each one of us and is an important aspect of who we are. We assist students in discovering their creativity through our art and music curricula as well as our one-of-a-kind drama program. Creativity and innovation are further set free in the Makerspace where skills like sewing, woodworking and electronic deconstruction come alive, and concepts learned across the curriculum come together and are tangibly applied.

Through creative expression, children come to feel comfortable in being different and to understand that it is our singular gifts that bring color to the world. Activating students’ creativity provides the opportunity for self-expression, increases their self-confidence, and promotes resourcefulness. Creativity coupled with curiosity motivates students to innovate and problem-solve, and enables them to become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.

Educating for Peace

Still, our vision would not be complete if we did not educate to advance peace. We aspire to foster students who are peace-seekers and peacekeepers.

Peace is a main tenet of the Montessori philosophy and it is pervasive in our curriculum and our school culture. We practice inclusion and respect for self, others, and all living beings as well as our environment. We build community and work in partnership. Students study cultures, experience diversity and grow to understand that both are things to be celebrated not feared.

Peace is also manifested spatially in calm, quiet classrooms and peace corners where students can refocus or center themselves or resolve conflicts. Thanks to the kindness of our Middle School students, our playground is home to a “peace bench” where students can signal to other students they need a kind gesture or a friend. While we grow students’ skills in meeting their own needs, we also guide them in serving and giving to others. We educate them to be solid citizens and good people – to possess strong minds and strong hearts.

Preparing Children for Life

Educating takes many forms here. We lead by example and steer students in doing the same. We support them and ensure they are safe physically and emotionally. We provide freedom within boundaries. We share a lesson and as the students each master it, they in turn help other students to learn that lesson, thereby internalizing and deepening understanding, increasing their confidence and building class community. We give students choices and help them learn to make decisions.

While our students consistently score higher than their grade level on standardized tests, for us educating is not about tests. It is about growing and inspiring great learners and independent thinkers. It is about helping each student achieve their fullest potential - their best version of themselves, as students and as people. It is about preparing children for life.

Each June at our eighth-grade graduation we see the impressive impact of a DHMC education: poised, articulate, respectful young individuals standing before our school community ready to begin the next phase of their unique journey. That is why we do what we do. That is why we are passionate about fulfilling our vision.

Cultivating curiosity. Unleashing creativity. Educating for a peaceful world. Our vision is clear, it is strong and it makes DHMC different from other schools. It is also what will carry us – and our students – into the future.


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