Montessori at Beacon

Adolescence is a time for students to prepare for and practice navigating the social complexities of the world around them. Beacon’s mission is to ensure that our students are ready not only to get the most out of their post-secondary education, but also to understand, participate in, and effect change on the adult world that awaits them. Montessori’s focus on each individual child and their expanding role in their communities is designed to produce thoughtful, engaged, and successful global citizens.
  • We offer choice to deepen and extend knowledge.
  • We build upon student interest.
  • We balance freedom with responsibility.
  • We provide moments for consistent self-reflection and feedback.
  • We teach through meaningful work.

The Beacon curriculum is designed to support intrinsic motivation: we give students the tools, skills, and resources they need to identify and pursue their own paths. Adolescence is a time for students to navigate a new social world; Beacon’s curriculum for this stage allows students to practice investigating individual interests while they build and reinforce critical foundational skills.
Each Beacon student is given the philosophical and organizational training they need to become the architects of their own education. Highly qualified and engaged faculty members model lifelong enthusiasm for learning and guide students in the pursuit of their intellectual and individual passions. In addition to honors-level academic content, Beacon students learn to plan and navigate independent work by creating, completing, and reviewing short-term and long-term goals.

Students have a significant role to play in Beacon’s community and culture. Held responsible for helping to set and uphold community standards, Beacon students rehearse the role of educated and contributive citizens. Student-run programs range from our microfinance Coffee Cart business to weekly Community Meetings to a variety of clubs and interim classes designed and led by students based on their interests and expertise. The development of social and emotional awareness and skills is built into Beacon’s curriculum; Montessori values of grace and courtesy and care of the environment are central to this approach, which asks that students learn to value and respect peers and shared spaces simultaneously with their academic learning.
Beyond Beacon’s campus, the cities of Evanston and Chicago serve as an extension of the classroom, offering moments for community engagement and contribution. Formal and informal visits to community institutions and real-world subject experts provide Beacon students with opportunities to extend themselves, take risks, and learn the skills to become informed and contributing citizens.

Informed by current brain science and the developmental needs of the adolescent, Beacon’s classroom and community spaces are physically and intellectually prepared to support deep learning and intrinsic motivation. Students have built-in independent work time and access to materials and knowledge to support self-sufficiency and independence. Our open and flexible space creates moments of spontaneous work and collaboration, student to student and student to teacher. Students are provided with many opportunities to apply their knowledge to real world problems and engage in real work.