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The NewGate-Field School


What is The NewGate-Field School? The NewGate-Field School (NGFS) is a Montessori, international, independent, non-profit, college-preparatory school for children 18 months through the 12th grade. NGFS is the Model School of The Montessori Foundation and is the international center for the development of innovative teaching programs that will be used in Montessori schools throughout the world.

NGFS was founded as Countryside Montessori in 1984. It became the New Gate School in 1994, and

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Coeducational/non-sectarian Montessori curriculum International education Enriched science and math Language arts and literature Foreign language studies

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Arts, drama, and music Research-based curriculum Nature study and gardening Community-service programs Peace education Summer and extended-day programs

The NewGate-Field School does not discriminate in its admissions or administrative and educational polices, or other schooladministered programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation. A few of the pictures in this brochure come from the archives of The Montessori Foundation.

in 2010, it merged with The Field School, which was founded by The Montessori Foundation.

NGFS offers authentic Montessori programs for children ages 18 months through high school and is in the process of developing a model for Montessori middle and high schools around the world, integrating Montessori with the exceptionally high standards of the International Baccalaureate.

We are always looking for students and families who share a joy of learning. We are happy to provide tours upon request, and we offer a weekly open house every Tuesday at 9:30 am. Please call us for more information (941-922-4949) or visit our website at:

What makes a Montessori education special?

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What is Montessori?


Montessori schools hold a profound respect for each child as a unique individual. We look at students from a holistic perspective, supporting their social and emotional development, as well as their academic progress.


We create warm and supportive communities of students, teachers, and parents. Your child will never get lost in the crowd!


Montessori children are known for their warmth, kindness, self-confidence, and respect for others and for all life. We teach peace.


Montessori classrooms are exciting environments for learning. We do not teach to the test, nor focus on memorization. Our goal is to help students to understand and apply what they learn.


Our students learn through hands-on experience, investigation, and research. They become actively engaged in their studies, rather than passively waiting to be spoon fed.


Montessori is consciously designed to recognize and address a fairly wide range of different learning styles, helping students learn to study most effectively.


We challenge students to develop a passion for excellence in whatever they do.


Montessori children tend to develop self-discipline and an internal sense of purpose and motivation. These habits truly pay off in college and throughout the rest of their lives.

What we now refer to as the Montessori Method was actually developed over one hundred years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first woman doctor of medicine. She revolutionized the way in which children are educated by developing environments and materials that are exciting, hands-on, and allow the spark of genius inherent in each child to shine through.

For more information about Dr. Montessori and the Montessori approach, we invite you to visit The Montessori Foundation’s website at:


Montessori schools reflect an international curriculum and highly diverse student body. We give our students a global perspective.


Montessori students learn to feel at home in the natural world. Ecological studies and outdoor education are essential to us.


Our curriculum is carefully structured and integrated to demonstrate the connections among the different subject areas. Every class teaches critical thinking, composition, and research. History lessons link architecture, the arts, science, and technology.


In Montessori, our older students become involved in the local community through internship experiences and community service programs.


Montessori teachers do much more than give their students lessons. They become mentors, friends, and guides.


Montessori students learn to see mistakes as natural steps in the learning process.


Our students learn through collaboration and work together on major projects. They strive for their personal best, rather than compete against one another for the highest grade in the class.

Welcome to The NewGate-Field School The NewGate-Field School is an international educational center of innovation and support for Montessori schools around the world. Under the leadership of The Montessori Foundation the school is engaged in curriculum development, professional education for Montessori school administrators, and conferences. The Foundation promotes standards of best practice in Montessori worldwide. It also publishes a wide range of books and journals for parents and educators. Through The NewGate-Field School, the Foundation provides an internationally renowned model Montessori school for students from infants through the 12th grade. At the Upper School, our goal is to develop an innovative and replicable model for Middle and High School, blending Montessori secondary education with the International Baccalaureate Program. The NewGate-Field School Is an International School: Beginning with Spanish, students study a second language. Additional languages are beginning to be introduced. Our curriculum gives students both a sense of place – the history, economy, social issues, and culture of the local community, Florida, and our nation – and a global perspective through ongoing studies of other nations from many perspectives: cultural, social, economic, political, and historical. Elementary and Upper School students can meet and collaborate by two-way video with fellow students in Montessori schools around the world. There are also opportunities for students and interested parents to study and travel to our sister Montessori schools abroad. The NewGate-Field School Is a Diverse School Community: Within an independent school setting, we draw together children and families from all segments of the Sarasota-Manatee community, in an independent school that does not seek government funding. We build support for financial aid into our budget to provide as much assistance as we can for families who could not otherwise afford the school, while encouraging support for additional needs-based financial assistance from the local community and from national sources.

Sustainability: We place emphasis on creating a sustainable environment, beginning with our school facilities. Students have ongoing lessons on issues in environmental sciences. Among other projects, we are organizing an extensive organic garden. A Close-Knit, Montessori Partnership-Based School Community: As a partnership-based Montessori community, we represent a ‘Circle of Equals.’ The school is led by The Montessori Foundation, with school policies and decisions based on its core values and principles of Montessori best practice. Under those guidelines for Montessori school communities, monthly community meetings provide one of several forums for every voice to be heard in a culture of kindness and respect. We also schedule many opportunities for the school community to come together for special events and social gatherings. A Peace Academy: Just as The Montessori Foundation teaches peace and partnership skills to schools around the world, we teach peacemaking and leadership skills to our students and interested parents. Children learn how to communicate clearly and assertively in ways that express kindness and respect. They learn skills of conflict resolution and consensus building and develop strong relationships. They study the world’s great peacemakers and leaders of nonviolent social change. We encourage a tradition of community service and philanthropy. Computer Technology and Web-Based Communication: In addition to local guest speakers, students are able to have live conversations with fascinating men and women who represent relevant fields of interest. At the Elementary and Upper School levels, students learn to use computer applications for a wide range of writing, problem solving, data analysis, and creative work. Cultivating Entrepreneurs and Leaders: The NewGate-Field School teaches children to be economically literate. We help them to understand business and industry, as well as personal economics. Elementary and Upper School students learn about local businesses, professions, and the roles of local government from field experience and (at the Upper School) internships. Students are encouraged and assisted in forming their own small businesses for hands-on learning. A 20-Acre Land Lab: In addition to the school’s campus, students have access to The Montessori Foundation’s 20-acre vineyard in Bradenton for nature study and the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of grapes.

An Environment for Learning

Surroundings have a great deal to do with the creation of an atmosphere of learning. Our classrooms are our students’ homes away from home, and we make them as attractive and comfortable as possible. They are warm, vibrant rooms filled with plants, animals, art, music, and books. Montessori classrooms tend to fascinate both children and their parents. There are interest centers filled with intriguing learning materials, fascinating mathematical models, maps, charts, fossils, historical artifacts, computers, scientific apparatus, perhaps a small natural-science display, and animals that the children are raising. Our classrooms are carefully prepared to stimulate children’s independence and intellectual development. You will not find rows of desks, even at the Upper School level; instead, the room will be set up to facilitate discussions and stimulate collaborative learning. At the Early Childhood and Elementary levels, students will typically be found scattered around the classrooms, working alone or with one or two others. They tend to become so involved in their work that visitors are immediately struck by the peaceful atmosphere. At the Upper School, many classes will involve seminar discussions or field experience. Teachers will be found working with one or two children at a time, advising, presenting a new lesson, or quietly observing the class at work.

In Montessori, even very small children learn a wide range of everyday living skills. Elementary and Upper School students learn more advanced skills, such as note taking, doing simple repairs around the house, earning spending money, planning their own field trips, caring for animals, using public transportation, managing a budget, and maintaining a check book.

Learning How to Learn Young children are naturally curious and want to work with everything they can get their hands on. They absorb concepts and skills from their surroundings and peers almost through osmosis. Provide them with a challenging atmosphere and intriguing learning materials, and they will investigate what they are and how they work. Learning can, and should, be as natural as breathing. Students of every age level learn best through hands-on experience, not simply by listening to their teacher’s explanations. They need opportunities to learn by trial, error, and discovery. They need time to practice and apply new skills and knowledge. Rather than giving students the right answers, we keep asking the right questions and lead them to discover the answers for themselves. We encourage students to do their own research, analyze what they have found, and come to their own conclusions. Our students become actively engaged in the learning process! In Montessori, students learn not to be afraid of making mistakes. Few things in life come easily, and here in school, they can try again without fear of embarrassment. We help students set increasingly high goals for themselves. Academic success is directly tied to the degree that students see themselves as being capable and independent. If they knew the words, even very small children would ask: “Help me learn to do it for myself!” Our students develop independence and self-discipline, learn good work habits, and develop a sense of responsibility. They take pride in doing things for themselves.

Grace and courtesy are also vital everyday life skills. We consciously teach students ethics and interpersonal skills. Even our youngest children constantly see others working courteously with one another. They quickly learn that they may not interfere with someone else’s work unless asked to join. They learn to walk through the room calmly, speak politely to friends, and clean up after themselves. While they may work alone or with friends, they may not disturb others. Over the years our students learn to accept more responsibility and how to handle themselves in a wide variety of situations. Learning how to live and work together with others in a peaceful and caring community is perhaps the most critical life skill that we can give your son or daughter.

We begin to teach the functions of grammar and sentence structure to students as young as first grade, just as they are first learning how to put words together to express themselves. They master these skills during a time in their lives when it is a delight, rather than a chore. During the Elementary and Upper School years, we increasingly focus on the development of research and composition skills. Our students write every day, learning to organize increasingly complex ideas and information into well written stories, poems, reports, plays, and student publications. Finally, and most importantly, the key to our language arts curriculum is the quality of the things we give our children to read. Instead of bland basal readers, we introduce them from an early age to first-rate children’s books and fascinating works on science, history, geography, and the arts. Literary studies continue every year thereafter through graduation.

Developing a Lifelong Love of Language & Literature The process of learning how to read should be as painless and simple as learning how to speak. Montessori begins by placing our youngest students in classes in which the older students are already reading. All children want to “do what the big kids can do,” and since the work that absorbs the older students involves reading, there is a natural lure for the young child to read. The process of learning to read begins with children learning the phonetic sounds of the alphabet, then using their growing knowledge to read and write increasingly complex words and sentences. Mastery of basic skills normally develops so smoothly that students tend to exhibit a sudden “explosion into reading.” Once they have begun, students tend to proceed rapidly. There is typically a quick jump from reading and writing single words to sentences and stories. At this point, we begin a systematic study of the English language: vocabulary, spelling rules, and linguistics. Once reading, Montessori students tend to read constantly.

Dr. Montessori overcame this obstacle by developing a concrete representation of the decimal system. Units are represented by single, one-centimeter beads; a unit of ten is made up of a bar of ten beads strung together; hundreds are squares made up of ten tenbars; and thousands are cubes made up of ten hundred-squares. Together, they form a visually and intellectually impressive tool for learning. Great numbers can be formed by very young children: “Please bring me three thousands, five hundreds, six tens, and one unit.”

Developing a Mathematical Mind Often, students learn math by memorizing facts and solutions, with little true understanding or ability to use mathematics in everyday life. Math is a series of abstract concepts for most children, and learning tends to come much more easily when they have hands-on experience with concrete educational materials that show what is taking place in a given mathematical process. Montessori’s famous hands-on learning math materials make abstract concepts clear and concrete. Students can literally see and explore what is going on in math. Our approach offers a clear and logical strategy for helping students understand and develop a sound foundation in math and geometry. As an example, consider the very basis of mathematics: the decimal system – units, tens, hundreds, and thousands. Since quantities larger than twenty rarely have any meaning to a young child, Dr. Montessori reasoned that we should present this abstract concept graphically. Children cannot normally conceive of the size of a hundred, thousand, or million, much less the idea that a thousand is equal to ten hundreds or one hundred tens.

From this foundation, all of the operations in mathematics, such as the addition of quantities into the thousands, become clear and concrete, allowing the child to internalize a clear image of how the process works. We follow the same principle in introducing plane and solid geometry to very young students, using geometric insets and three-dimensional models which they learn to identify and define. Five-year-olds can commonly name geometric forms that most adults wouldn’t recognize. The study of volume, area and precise measurement in everyday applications around the school is introduced in the early years and continually reinforced and expanded. Montessori mathematics climbs in sophistication through the Elementary and Upper School levels. It includes a careful study of the practical application of mathematics in everyday life, such as measurement, handling finances, making economic comparisons, or in gathering data and making a statistical analysis. Elementary students continue to apply math in a wide range of projects and challenges. They prepare scale drawings, calculate area and volume, and build scale models of historical devices and structures. Precise measurement and comparison is a crucial application of mathematics, and our students engage in all sorts of calculations: determining the amount of gas used by the family car, the electricity burned when our lights are left on overnight, and the perimeter of the buildings. Upper School students follow a sequence of college-preparatory math coursework. [See our Upper School Prospectus for more details.]

from all over the world. They learn traditional folksongs and dances in music, and explore traditional folkcrafts in art. In English, they read the traditional folktales and prepare reports. Older students begin to study world cultures in greater depth: customs, housing, diet, government, industry, the arts, and history. Elementary students study the emergence of the first civilizations and the universal needs of humanity. Also, at the Elementary level, students begin their formal study of early humans, ancient civilizations, and early American history. In the Upper School, we study history, geography, government, current events, economics and cultural studies. We try to present a sense of living history at every level through hands-on experience. We often build models of ancient tools and structures, prepare our own manuscripts, make ceremonial masks, and recreate all sorts of artifacts of the everyday life of an historical era.

History & Geography Come Alive! We are all members of the human family. Our roots lie in the distant past, and history is the story of our common heritage. Without a strong sense of history, we cannot begin to know who we are as individuals today. Our goal is to develop a global perspective, and the study of history and world cultures forms the cornerstone of our curriculum. With this goal in mind, we teach history and world cultures from age three through graduation. Our youngest students work with specially designed maps and begin to learn the names of the world’s continents and countries. Physical geography begins in the first grade with a study of the formation of the Earth, the emergence of the oceans and atmosphere, and the evolution of life. They learn about the world’s rivers, lakes, deserts, mountain ranges, and natural resources. International studies continue throughout our course of study. The curriculum integrates art, music, dance, cooking, geography, literature, and science. Students prepare and enjoy dishes

At the Elementary and Upper School levels, history courses are carefully integrated with English and the Humanities. Students read the literature and examine the art and music of the historical period that they are studying. For example, during the study of the pre-Civil War period, students typically read Frederick Douglas’ Narratives and the letters of John Brown, study the music and popular culture of the time, and visit historical sites. We also teach practical economics. Students learn to recognize the value of a dollar: how long it takes to earn it, and what it can buy. As they grow older, students learn how to compute the cost of a meal for their family, plan a weekly budget, maintain a checkbook, prepare tax returns, and understand how to use credit cards wisely. Upper School internships introduce students to the world of work and allow them to explore career possibilities that they find appealing.

Hands-On Science –The Montessori Way Dr. Montessori passed a deep love for the world of nature on to thousands of students through a program of outdoor education, gardening, and camping experiences. We see this as the foundation of a lifelong interest in the sciences. We want our students to be fascinated by the universe and to honestly enjoy the process of discovering its secrets and interrelationships. We want them to observe, analyze, measure, classify, experiment, and predict – and to do so with a sense of eager curiosity and wonder. Science is an integral element of our curriculum. Among other things, it represents a way of life: a clear thinking approach to gathering information and problem solving. Our program is designed to cultivate our students’ curiosity and determination to discover the truth for themselves. We teach them how scientists go about their work. They learn how to observe patiently, make projections, analyze results, and work at solving each problem. They eagerly engage in field trips and experiments, and respond with delight to the precision of measurement, gathering data, classification, and prediction. With encouragement and a solid foundation, even very young children are ready and anxious to investigate their world, to wonder at the interdependence of living things, to explore the ways in which the physical universe works, and to project how it all may have come to be.

The scope of our science curriculum includes an introduction to botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy. Our Upper School science curriculum encompasses the traditional life and physical sciences, with introductory studies in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth science. Science lessons incorporate a hands-on approach. For example, students study the ecology of our outdoor environment and collect water samples to be tested for pollutants. In astronomy, a class might build a scale model of the solar system that stretches out over two-miles. They will chart the cycles of sun spots and solar rotation by projecting the sun’s image. On clear winter nights, they may stay up late observing through a telescope. Our finest classes are taught outdoors in forests, fields and in the garden.

study of second languages is an esLearning a The sential element in helping students to deSecond velop an international perspective. We conversational language to our Language introduce youngest children at the Toddler and Early

Physical Education

Childhood level and carry it forward. At the Early Childhood and Elementary level, our primary goal in our foreign language program is to develop conversational skills, along with deepening appreciation for other cultures. Upper School students work toward a deeper command of the written and spoken language, as well as cross-cultural understanding. Upper School students also have opportunities to travel and study abroad.

The Arts In Montessori, the Arts are not set apart from the rest of the curriculum. They are modes of exploring and expanding lessons that have been introduced in science, history, geography, English, foreign languages, and mathematics. For example, students might sculpt dinosaurs in science, create a diorama for history, construct geometric designs and solids for math, and express their feelings about a musical composition through painting. Art history and appreciation are woven throughout our history and geography curricula. Traditional folk-arts are also used to extend the curriculum as well. A few examples of popular art projects include painting, sculpture, pottery, weaving, photography, and woodworking. Our music curriculum focuses on developing basic music theory, primarily using the voice as an instrument, integrated with dance. At every level we stress appreciation for all types of music, from international folk music to the classics. Students will put together all sorts of dramatic performances for parents and one another.

The 3-6 and Elementary School movement-education program will include dance, gymnastics, running, yoga, basic team sport skills, and exercises that develop skills and confidence. Upper School students participate in programs designed to develop stamina and agility. We also have active running and soccer clubs.

The NewGate-Field School 5237 Ashton Road Sarasota, FL 34233

Weekly Open House • Tuesdays at 9:30 am or by appointment • Call: 941-922-4949 •

Parent/Infant Classes! (for infants 4 - 6 months)

Parents with infants 4-6 months old are invited to join Lorna McGrath (Associate Head of School) to learn about their babies – how to observe, what to observe, what different cries mean, when to interact, how to best support the baby’s natural development and much more. Lorna is not only an experienced Early Childhood Montessori teacher and teacher educator but also a certified RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) guide. In our classes parents and infants will experience individualized attention in an infant-oriented setting that encourages and supports babies in becoming attentive, active, exploring people who find personal satisfaction in the mastering new tasks.

Space limited to 8 infants (& their parents). Reserve your space today. Call the office at 941-922-4949.

Montessori brought to you by the people who literally wrote the book on Montessori education!


5237 Ashton Road Sarasota, FL 34233 941.922-4949

NewGate-Field School Brochure  

This is the updated introductory brochure for the NewGate-Field School in Sarasota, Florida

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