Montessori School of Ojai


Middle School Year

Middle school students will extend the skills that have been introduced in the elementary years. For each student, an individualized program is developed for reading, mathematics, and writing (creative and research). Students work on the language arts skills needed for editing, including sentence structure, vocabulary, syntax, and parts of speech. Research projects develop an understanding of Social Studies topics. Literature studies focus on the exploration of themes expressed in prose, poetry, and drama.

Specialists will instruct in science, garden, physical education, art, music, guitar, Spanish and French. The foundation for social skills development and bonding as a classroom community begins during the traditional beginning-of-school week-long camping trip. Field trips based on curriculum and community service events keep these young people interested and active.

Developing Skills

Middle School students have an increased need to explore the world around them and to feel they are a vital part of the community. They are on the cusp of developing skills for learning, social responsibility, and effective habits of thought and action. The ideal learning environment for adolescents, the Montessori process encourages life-long learning and an approach to every experience as an opportunity to acquire knowledge, continue personal growth, and positively impact the environment.

Preparation for the Future

Even though the benefits of process-oriented, non-competitive education and a nurturing environment are evident in the daily Montessori experience of each child, parents still tend to be goal-oriented when it comes to their children. They need to know that their child will be ready for the “next step,” whatever that may be.

Academic preparation to enter the next environment is evident throughout all Montessori classrooms. However, that is not the only preparation a child needs. The social aspects of the Montessori education cannot be dismissed. The self-confidence that is seen in students and their willingness to try just about anything when it comes to learning are amazing. Children in Montessori schools set their own expectations for themselves and are internally motivated to achieve their goals. These skills will serve each child well—whatever comes next for them.






Examples of Montessori-educated people include:  Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of; Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder of; Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis; Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, rap star, music mogul; Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family; George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor; Anne Frank, famous diarist from World War II.

Students in the Middle School classroom enjoy building go carts each year and are able to personalize the design and painting in their art class.  Once they are complete, the entire school delights in the running of the go carts.  Middle School students also participate in building a miniature golf course for the school’s annual “A Day In The Country” festival, utilizing wood, pipes and other materials repurposed for the course design.  The cooperative efforts necessary to complete these projects and the joy of sharing them with younger students is an important component of their experience at the Montessori School of Ojai.

What happens when your child leaves Montessori School of Ojai?

Children will leave MSO with certain values. They will have a deep respect for the needs and capabilities of other people, as well as an appreciation for diversity in all forms. When a child leaves the Montessori environment, he/she will have acquired:

The answer to the question, “What is next for my child?” is inevitably a personal one for every family. Our  goals are for the children to be well rounded, happy, responsible, fulfilled and prepared for the next step. We work with the family and the future school through the transition process, so that it may be as smooth and comfortable as possible.

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

Middle School Staff

The Middle School benefits from the talents of two teachers:

Libby Hawkins

One of the head teachers of the Middle School is Libby Hawkins. Libby is a former student of the Montessori School of Ojai. She attended Cal State Monterey Bay for two years and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cal State University Channel Islands with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Libby obtained her Humanities Master’s Degree from Mount St. Mary’s in 2008. Libby is the daughter of Director Janet Lindquist-Lang and has worked in many positions at MSO, including assisting in child care and assisting in all classrooms, specializing in the Middle School class. She also has completed Montessori Teacher Training.  Libby is the mother of two daughters and one son – all attend MSO.

Andrew Guernsey

Andrew is the second head teacher of the Middle School.  Andrew is well qualified for the position, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UC Santa Cruz and a Teaching Credential from California Lutheran University.  Andrew attended MSO at a young age and as a graduate of Besant Hill School is an advocate of individualized education.  Andrew was educated abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico, is an avid traveler of Latin America, speaks Spanish, and is a trained musician with a passion for music.  Andrew is enthusiastic about teaching Middle School students and sharing his love of learning with them.