2020 Education Guide

Page 1

Bucks County Magazine’s 2020

Annual Guide to Education

P laying To Learn Maria’s House in Doylestown is a Montessori school where preschoolers can learn everything from refined motor skills to math, reading, writing and culture by work, which they think is play By Bob Waite


an you imagine a school for ages three to six

Maria’s House is based on the approach of Italian educator

where little preschoolers work for three hours

Maria Montessori. Director Laine Walker, MA, NBCT found

in the morning and two in the afternoon and

her way to the Montessori approach after a fruitful career in pub-

think they are playing? That they increase

lic education. “I’ve been an educator since my early twenties,” she

their fine motor skills, learn math, reading and

says. And her teaching career taught her many things about the

writing and even learn about other cultures, foreign languages,

beauty of learning. She taught orchestra in Texas and then moved

and fencing? And that they do all this and learn how to be

to Pennsylvania where she did the bulk of her teaching. Thinking

courteous, clean up and put things away, and treat other chil-

about when she taught the string section, she says, “There are

dren with kindness?

beautiful things you can do with an orchestra that are not just

Well there is such a school in Doylestown and it is called Maria’s House. It is a Montessori School where teachers are

about music but are about larger things as well.” This led to her becoming a principal.

called guides and children can make guided choices about what

Laine says that she was always looking for a way to be better

they want to master. It is a place where children are allowed to

at what she does and how the school system itself could be better.

develop according to studied stages of development, where they

She had dreams. She thought there has to be a more authentic

are not talked to in a dumbed down way and where they are

way. And then she learned about the Montessori approach. “I read

treated with respect and learn to respect others.

a book and I never looked back.” In fact, she says she devoured

74 B U C K S C O U N T Y M A G . C O M

book after book and decided to spend a

this stage, they do it consciously. They are

that we use, it’s the training of the guides,”

summer at the Princeton Center for

now beginning to put all the pieces to-

says Laine.

Teacher Education to get her AMS


(American Montessori Society) certificate

The amazing thing is that children at

“What does this look like at Maria’s

this age love long work periods, especially

house?” Director Laine Walker asks. “At

when they think they are playing. This is

Maria Montessori, who founded this

our house it looks like how you talk to chil-

a prepared environment but it is based on

developmental approach to learning,

dren. We talk plainly to them, In words,

guided choice, which is vital to their devel-

began as a medical doctor in Italy. Her

we don’t dumb anything down. You

opment and to the what Laine calls “gen-

work took her to a tenement in Rome

preempt things and it’s how you treat the

uine intrinsic motivation.” So children are

where she encountered poverty and

child with respect. And you want them to

guided to what is appropriate in their de-

what we would call deprivation. To eke

give you respect as well. If you go a day-

velopment. And unlike the cookie cutter

out a meager living for families, both

care somewhere you may see a child

approach of other methods of education,

parents had to work, and the children

screaming. If you come our house and you

where they are in their development does

were running wild. They were even de-

see a child being unkind to another child,

not have to be dictated by their age. Ev-

facing the building and causing damage.

you would see a guide get to that child and

erybody in the Montessori house has an

As she worked with these families she

try to see what happened, and it may not

individualized learning plan. For example,

started making observations about chil-

just be that the child is being unkind. A

if they are moving faster in a mathematical

dren and how they developed. She ob-

child can have something in his or her

concept, the guides keep that prepared en-

served that children, despite cultural

hand and have a reaction to it, so it is im-

vironment ready for what’s next. And the

differences, all developed in certain

portant to get down to that child’s level and

children are going to learn concepts

stages. As she observed, she began to de-

then talk with them about it.”

through games, sometimes with peers and

velop educational principles and put in


sometimes by themselves.

for primary ages.

place educational tools. Montessori also worked with children in a psychiatric hospital. She gave them

t Maria’s House a child learns by going from

Laine explains, “And they will come

concrete to abstract.

back to it when they are ready. They are

And when the guides

progressing toward mastering it, and then

teach and show children

they may put it aside. And then they will

amazingly they were able to test at the

something, they also teach them how to

get to the next level—all the way until

same level as children in the public schools.

show it to other children. This social de-

there is mastery. Children can jump

Montessori began studying other didactic

velopment is seasoned with what Laine

around from one subject to another all

books in education and went back to the

calls grace and courtesy. “It can be as sim-

through work day or stay on one thing.”

university to study anthropology and psy-

ple as opening a door for someone or help-

Laine gives an example of a child who

chology. And thus the Montessori Schools,

ing another child who is having a hard

is about to turn six and has been with

following the principles of Maria Montes-

time handle his or her work. Or it could be

Maria’s House since she was four and a half.

sori, sprang up all over the world.

putting materials back on a

educational tools that she developed, and

Laine commenting on Montessori’s

shelf neatly so a peer can use

discoveries says, “Children can do remark-

them easily. “Small things,”

able things, given what we call the pre-

Laine says, “all add up to in-

pared environment. So our children come

credibly large things. Children

to Maria’s house and they think that they

respond magnificently!”

are playing all day. Everything that they

At Maria’s House the chil-

do, we call work, but there’s no difference

dren are all on the first floor

at this age between work and play. For this

with the guides. They eat

part of early childhood it is all the same.”

lunch together and they use

Childhood development at these early

materials that are prepared to

stages has to do with what Montessori

help them develop and learn

called the absorbent mind. For ages zero

naturally. “Children are hard

to three they absorb everything around

wired to develop and to do, so

them unconsciously and they do it at an in-

what we can do is provide a

credible rate. From ages three to six they

prepared environment. It’s

are still “absorbing like a sponge,” but at

our material, it’s the language

Director Laine Walker, MA, NBCT S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 75

they will do magnificently.”

She has been progressing through the

function is about understanding the steps

math materials steadily. She had been

and the order. A child understanding that

The ratio of guides to learners is small,

working on something called the hundred

if I do these five steps, this is what happens

about one for every eight children. And the

word, which moves from the concrete to

is important. It is like getting dressed in

maximum capacity for children is 25. The

the abstract, in which a child has to layout

order of what goes on first, then second

guides are not assigned to specific children

a hundred tiles. For an adult this task is

and so on,” Laine says.

but are fluid in their guidance. Laine, who herself is a guide, says, “We all bring dif-

simple but for a child it is overwhelming.

Life at Maria’s house is fun. Both the

Laine says, “She kept going back to it day

children and guides are motivated to do

by day until she mastered it. Well this

the best they can. With the help of people

Maria’s House is on the fast track for

week, she had another challenge, but she

from the community, children learn about

accreditation for The American Montes-

needed to go back to the number board

other cultures, art, the Lenape, fencing and

sori Society. They have much support

and do something she already did that was

even foreign languages.

from Chestnut Hill College and the

ferent strengths.”

successful.” She wasn’t quite ready to go

The advantages of a Montessori edu-

Princeton Center for Teacher Education.

on to something else, so she went back to

cation are clear. If they stay at Maria’s

They also have a very accomplished advi-

what was familiar, so she can be ready to

House for three years they will most likely

sory board. They are not out on their own.

do something that is more challenging.

be ahead of their peers in reading, writing,

Director Laine Walker says, “Maria

Longer periods of time to work give

math and cultural understanding. Differ-

Montessori said that children are our fu-

the child time to concentrate, which is

ences will be seen between children who

ture. They are going to grow up. They are

vital. Laine explains, “You can’t build

go to Maria’s house and other children in

going be our leaders and who define what’s

these things if you don’t prepare or give

the way they speak, how they occupy

next in our society. You should treat them

them time. Why is it important that my

their time, their ability to entertain them-

with the same amount of respect and dig-

child wash a chair or get an hour of hand

selves, and in kindness and grace. Parents

nity that you treat everybody else. And

sewing? They are getting concentra-

often tell Laine that they wished they

that is such a critical principle that we put

tion—executive function. You can’t

could go to school at Maria’s House.

in place at our house. It is very important!”

build these things if you don’t prepare or

People who know the children before and

give them time.”

after they attend Maria’s House notice

Children in this age group need a sim-

the significant changes in their devel-

ple task to be broken down into many steps

opment. Laine says, “Children want to

to develop executive function. “Executive

learn and if you show them with kindness

76 B U C K S C O U N T Y M A G . C O M

Maria’s House is located at 601 New Britain Rd, Doylestown, PA. To find out more about Maria’s House or arrange for a visit, call 610290-5019 or visit www.mariashousemontessori.com.



Benefits of a Private Education PRIVATE SCHOOLS BENEFIT STUDENTS BY fostering academic excellence and high achievement, educating the whole child within a values-based setting, and preparing youngsters for success in life. If you want a caring, challenging, nurturing, safe and secure environment for your child— a place where he/she can learn and succeed—consider a private school. Private schools are known for the high standards they set. They engage students and spark the desire to learn. Teachers expect excellence from students, and students tend to live up to those expectations. The high expectations and academic rigor help account for above-average levels of student success, including higher college-going rates. If you’re looking to help your child reach his/her potential in a school committed to excellence, consider a private school. At all ages and levels, from preschool through high school, privateschools makes a huge difference in educational outcomes. It is especially important at the early stages of educational growth that students get the attention and care that private schools offer. • Private school students generally perform higher than

their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests. • Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools. • Private school graduates are more likely than their peers from public schools to have completed advanced-level courses in three Academic subject areas • Private school students are more likely than public school students to complete a bachelor’s or advanced degree by their mid-20s Private school students scored well above the national average in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP scores provide an immediate measure of student achievement, but the report also presents a longterm measure: attainment of a college degree. “Students who had attended private school in 8th grade were twice as likely as those who had attended public school to have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree by their mid-20s (52 versus 26 percent).” And note this: For students from the lowest quartile of socioeconomic status (SES), the advantage of having attended continued on page 83



Maria’s House Montessori


ridges are wonderful things. The best are as beautiful as they are well-engineered, elegant in every sense of the word. What does that have to do with our summer program? Absolutely everything. The Montessori Bridge program brings a maximum of forty 3-6 year olds each week into close contact with extraordinary (and fun) components of our shared human endeavor side by side with our inspired guides and expert adjuncts. Maria's House integrates time-honored Montessori practice with new disciplines, as we break down golf and fencing, chess and organic gardening, equine and animal studies, pizza making and madcap team sports into their most basic components. Couple that with our usual array of advanced developmental opportunities (language arts, mathematics, reading, practical life, sensorial, music making, cultural anthropology) and our ongoing Lenni Lenape encampment, and you wind up with a summer experience that's as remarkable for family members and guides as it is for our children. And that's what our summer program is all about.


601 New Britain Rd., Bldg. 200, Doylestown, PA 18901 610.290.5019 • www.MariasHouseMontessori.com

S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 79

Be part of the healthcare and research workforce of the future.

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Professional Science Master’s (PSM)

Classes offered at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County in Doylestown or fully online

Classes offered at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County in Doylestown

To talk to an admissions representative or to schedule a visit, contact us: Phone: 570-504-9068 Text: 570-600-1142 GradAdmissions@som.geisinger.edu geisinger.edu/gcsom Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities.

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Earn your Master of Biomedical Sciences in Doylestown

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eisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (GCSOM) Doylestown ampus is a partnership between GCSOM and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute (BSBI), the research arm of the Hepatitis B Foundation. Located at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, housing more than 40 start-up companies, the setting offers enhanced opportunities for research, hands-on laboratory training, shadowing and access to lectures and events geared specifically for the scientific community. The campus offers two GCSOM degree programs. The master of biomedical sciences (MBS) program offers novel delivery of a proven curriculum. Evening and weekend classes are taught by GCSOM professors, in conjunction with BSBI scientists. Providing multiple, successful career paths, the program grounds students in the basic sciences to work in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life science or to prepare for medical school or further graduate study. The campus also offers a Professional Science Master’s Program

(PSM), a degree that prepares students for laboratory research careers in the biotech, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries, as well as academia and government. Designed for working professionals, evening classes are held exclusively in Doylestown. V. Scott Koerwer, vice dean, said the PSM program was developed with input from a board of industry leaders. John Kulp, III, Ph.D., regional assistant dean, GCSOM and director of academic affairs, BSBI, noted these industry links form an important student network. GCSOM also offers its MBS degree online and at its Scranton campus. Additionally, in partnership with University of the Sciences, students can get online degrees or certificates in the in-demand areas of health informatics, genomics or health administration.


3805 Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902 570.504.9068 • www. geisinger.edu/gcsom

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We Honor God with Exceelllence We VARIABLE TUITION PROGRAM We match your tuition rate to your family’’ss unique financial profile

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S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 81


Your Opward and Onward Await at Bloomsburg University


hile these are challenging times, Huskies are never afraid of the path ahead.At Bloomsburg University, we’ve built a reputation on grit, determination, and hustle over the last 180 years. And while these were the hallmarks of our students in 1839, they remain at the heart of every Husky today. Our students answer “you can’t” with “watch me.” They make more with what they have and face every challenge as a new way forward. At BU, we appreciate this tenacity—and unleash it. Because these in-demand traits are the hallmark of our pack, employers place a high value on a Bloom degree—and the person who earns it. If you’ve got a forward focus and the spirit to back it up, you’re ready to experience the Husky difference. Learn more or start your application today at onward.bloomu.edu or experience our beautiful campus virtually at bloomu.edu/visit.

O 400 E. Second Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 570.389.4000 • www.bloomu.edu/admissions-visit


At Bloomsb sburg University, we belie ieve eve opportunity belong gss to those ready to work k f it and unafraid to do for o s something great with it. Choosing the righ ht ht college is an importan nt decision for you and d your family. As part of of y your college search, we e can’t wait to meet you u and show you around d our beautiful campuss!! But – in the meantime e – you can learn more about Husky Life from m the comfort of you urr own home. e



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A GUIDE TO EDUCATION a private school was even more pronounced. Those students were nearly four times more likely than their public school counterparts to have attained a bachelor’s or higher degree. Private school attendance even seems to overcome a parent’s lowexpectations for a child. “For students whose mother’s expectation (in 8th grade) was for them to attain an associates degree or less, those who had attended private school completed a bachelor’s or higher degree at a rate about our times that of public school students (30 versus 7 percent).” The report explains that students from a low SES family who had “completed a calculus course in high school were much more likely than those who had not studied calculus to earn a degree by their mid-20s.” It also notes that students in private schools “are more likely than those in public schools to take challenging courses like calculus, and private schools are more likely to require them.” Specifically, private high schools require more courses for graduation than public high schools in math, science, social studies, foreign language, and computer science, and the coursework is more likely to include advanced courses in science (chemistry, physic, advanced biology), mathematics (trigonometry, precalculus, calculus), and foreign language (a third year or more). Demanding coursework and high expectations are good for students. As the report states it, “Applying high academic standards-both requiring students to complete high-level, challenging courses and pushing students to strive and excel in their work—is a central schooling component that many experts recommend.”According to

NCES data, 88 percent of private high school students apply to college, compared to 57 percent of public high school students. And reports from the College Board indicate that SAT scores for private school students are well above the national average. When it comes to challenging students to stretch their capacity, private schools do an exceptional job. Statistics from the College Board and NCES show that for high school seniors, 24.2 percent of private school students took AP exams in 1998, while 9.4 percent of public school students did so. Private schools, which account for only 7.5 percent of all high school students, produced 20 percent of 12th graders who took AP exams in 1998 and 22 percent of those who scored high enough to have the advanced courses count for college credit. The National Center for Education Statistics periodically administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to test the knowledge and skills of the nation’s students in grades 4, 8, and 12. Students in private schools consistently score well above the national average. At all three grades a significantly higher percentage of private school students score at or above the Basic, Proficient, and Advanced levels than public school students. Below are the results from the most recent NAEP report cards in reading. NAEP report cards in other subjects. *CAPE (Council For American Private Education) www.capenet.org. Used by permission.

Buckingham Friends School


t Buckingham Friends School, children find space to explore and grow — through a curriculum that’s flexible and responsive to their interests; across an expansive campus that encourages play and risk-taking; and within our value-added programming that adds breadth and depth to their individual learning experiences. Join us for Tuesdays Together with BFS – our 1:1 virtual meet & greets every Tuesday at 10am to learn more about this K-8 independent school that celebrates the spirit of youth and stewards the promise of each individual to build an engaged learning community. For more information, visit www.bfs.org or contact our Director of Admission, Melissa Clayton, at mclayton@bfs.org.


5684 York Road, Lahaska PA 215.794.7491 • www.bfs.org




George School


global school with local roots, George School is a Quaker, co-ed boarding and day high school in Newtown, PA. Convenient to New York City and Philadelphia, the school is located on a picturesque campus of open lawns and beautiful woods. George School is an experienced leader in education, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program and boasting a diploma success rate of 100 percent in recent years, and offering nearly 20 Advanced Placement courses. Students are immersed in learning across all disciplines in a rigorous yet personalized curriculum that provides flexible instruction with distance-learning capability when required. Students participate in 25 different team sports and take physical wellness classes in state of the art facilities. George School’s three-season equestrian program combines athleticism and horsemanship for novice and advanced riders. George School graduates attend the most selective colleges and universities worldwide, and become confident and capable leaders rooted in self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and the ability to listen deeply to others.


1690 Newtown Langhorne Road, Newtown, PA 18940 215.579.6547 • www.georgeschool.org