Welcome to Stepping Stones Montessori School and Cushnoc Academy!
There is a place in Central Maine where children love learning; a place where on a daily basis, students challenge themselves. This learning attitude is no accident. It is the result of our mission in action.
The mission of Stepping Stones Montessori School is to provide the conditions necessary for the flourishing of the individual child’s desire to learn. We believe that learning is maximized when activities are individualized, self-directed, and multi-aged.
Children are born learners. At each new developmental phase, a specialized environment that honors the unique stage is necessary. In many settings, barriers exist which limit the growth of learners who have more, or less, advanced skills than their peers. Progressing students to the next level without mastery of skills, or holding children back from progressing, inhibits the natural development of many children. In contrast, a multiaged approach where children are grouped in flexible three-year intervals honors the unique readiness of each child, whether the skill level is low, on age-level, or high. Changing instruction so that the teachers ask “What is the next step today for this child?” meets the needs of each individual student.
Choice in learning options is also missing in many educational settings. Honoring the unique interests and abilities of each child motivates learning for its own sake. Therefore, our school strives to provide individualized instruction in a small, intimate, and respectful atmosphere.
History and Location
Stepping Stones Montessori School was founded in 2001 in Chelsea, Maine by Co-Directors Carrie Gervais and Jennifer Cousins. Miss Jen and Miss Carrie had worked together in public school settings, had an interest in Montessori philosophy and methods, and shared a vision of progressive education.
The Primary Program (ages 3-6; preschool and kindergarten) began in 2001 at the Gervais house and moved to the present site in 2003. It offers a wide range of Montessori materials in the traditional Montessori areas of development (sensorial, practical life, mathematics, language arts, cultural studies/science) in addition to other time-honored materials and activities.
In 2003, our Lower Elementary Program (grades 1-3) and Upper Elementary Programs were initiated. The programs provides students with challenging work in a supportive environment.
Most recently, in 2011, a full Middle School Program was added. The Middle School honors individual interests through a self-chosen Apprenticeship, builds further skill and readies students for high school through Academic Rigor, and encourages respect through honoring Diversity.
In 2013-2014, we initiated Cushnoc Academy at Stepping Stones, which encompasses Grades 4-8 in the two separate classrooms of the Upper Elementary Program and the Middle School Program. This distinction was made to better describe the way in which our programs in Grade 4-8 prepare students through a thoughtful, incremental approach to group instruction and traditional grading over time.
In the summer of 2016, we doubled the space in our primary program, enabling us to deliver an even higher quality experience for our youngest students.
Finally, in 2018, we purchased a neighboring property for our growing middle school. A beautiful setting, coupled with the perfectly remodeled space for this age, rounds out our campus!
The original school building was built at 195 Hallowell Road in Chelsea, Maine in 2003 and included a Primary classroom, a Lower Elementary classroom, and an office/kitchen. A 2006 addition includes an Upper Elementary/Middle classroom and a multipurpose room used for art and music. In 2011, a separate modular with two classrooms was added for the Upper Elementary and Middle School Programs. The physical campus, located just 5 minutes from Augusta’s Cony Circle, includes a large grassy play area with a wooden play structure, and a small pond which is used by the school community for science studies, art projects, and ice skating in the winter months. Google map.
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”
A practical life activity is motivating for young ones, and builds fine motor dexterity for writing.