Montessori School of Ojai



IMG_9970Pre-Kindergarten School Year

In line with the Montessori emphasis on sensorial education for younger children, pre-kindergarten students have access to beautiful manipulative materials as an integral part of their curriculum. To foster the development of self-discipline, the classroom is orderly, and allows children freedom of movement and decision-making opportunities.

The main focus of this environment is to meet the developmental needs of children of this age, particularly in the areas of independence, sense of order, language expansion, refinement of movement, socialization, and toilet learning. These developmental needs are met always with the ultimate goal in mind of assisting the child to become more and more independent.


There are activities in the classroom that foster independence such as choosing work, completing a sequence of tasks within the work, interacting with others in a positive manner, completing toilet learning, etc. There is ample opportunity for the children to move about freely, making contact with those around them and supporting their budding desire for socialization. The classroom is clean and attractive. The furniture and materials are sized to the child. The shelves are uncluttered and include safe, interesting materials to touch and manipulate.


Language development happens constantly in the pre-kindergarten classroom. The child is given the names of everything in the classroom, taught the names of feelings and appropriate ways to express them other than physically. Children are encouraged to talk about everything. Besides the encouragement of conversation, language is explored through songs, rhymes, and books.


Young children have a great need for order and routine. Their sense of order is encouraged through predictable surroundings. Only by experiencing external order are they fully able to develop their inner sense of order. Order in the classroom is fostered through a daily sequence in specific lessons and routines (meals, group time, etc.), and predictable placement of lessons on the shelves. This encourages trust in the environment and in themselves. Experiencing this trust increases self esteem and confidence.

Yearbook 2012 015Specialists provide instruction in Music, P.E., Art, Spanish, and Garden




License #561702317 and License #566212532

Before and after school child care available. See Child Care section.

Pre-Kindergarten Staff

Jeannette Luna

Jeannette Luna has worked at the Montessori School of Ojai since 2007, starting as an assistant teacher in the Preschool classroom and working in the Child Care Program and Infant Classroom throughout her tenure.  Jeannette has completed Montessori Teacher Training under Dr. Victoria Matthews and has completed the Infant/Toddler Certification Program through the North American Montessori Center.  Jeannette works with students from 18 months through age three years.  Jeannette has two adult children and a daughter in the MSO Middle School classroom.

Lara Horsting

Our students age two-and-a-half through three-and-a-half are in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom with Lara Horsting.  Lara is an accomplished Montessori teacher having completed studies at Montessori Education of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado and holds a Montessori Early Childhood Teaching Credential.  She has taught in Colorado prior to moving to the Ojai Valley and brings patience, calm and a love of the students to her classroom.  Lara is the parent to two adult children and a son who attends MSO.