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The Upper Valley Montessori Society known as the Discovery School will strive to provide a unique, child-centered, quality education allowing the child to develop a love of learning based on the philosophy and method of Dr. Maria Montessori, which professes to "Follow the Child."
The ultimate objective of the Discovery School is the development of responsible, self-confident members of society, respectful of themselves and others, who will develop a positive approach to life and contribute to their community.
The school began as an idea in the mind of Michael Emilio Cattaruzza. Michael attended a seminar in Connecticut where he met a nun who ran a Montessori School. After this chance encounter, Michael began to work for her and as a result of this went on to get his Montessori certification through American Montessori International. In 1973, Michael returned to McAllen, Texas where he met with a group of parents and together they founded the Upper Valley Montessori Society, Inc. The following year, the Discovery School opened its doors with a total of 20 students and Michael as their teacher.
Unfortunately, Michael passed away in 1995 but his spirit lives on in the memory and heart of Discovery School.
Discovery School has grown from the 20 students to an enrollment of over 200 students and a staff of 30 plus. We are proud to offer a curriculum that is grounded in the Montessori philosophy and in the founders’ vision. Our program offers toddlers, primary and elementary curriculums that encompass 10 month olds to 12 year olds.
Discovery School is a campus that exemplifies tolerance, growth, advancement and a strong belief in the child.
Our school attracts a diverse student body representing many ethnic backgrounds, countries, religions, and cultures. And all these diversities are enthusiastically celebrated. The curriculum is international in its heritage and focus, and is used to promote global understanding and peace. Our current campus was built in 1996 with Montessori philosophy in mind. The hallway and the classrooms run in a curve around the school’s library. All the classrooms have their own little “backyard” where the children experience the outside classroom. Our second building was built in 2007 and houses a gym, the stage, and additional classrooms for our ever expanding programs.
Discovery School was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (S.A.C.S.) in 2003, licensed by the State of Texas and is a proud member of the American Montessori Society.
Discovery School follows the Montessori Method of education as the broad foundation for leading. The curriculum is organized into a cycle of integrated studies. In the Toddler and Primary programs, lessons are introduced simply and concretely and are reintroduced several times over succeeding years at increasing degree of complexity. In the Elementary program there are three core curriculum areas that include language arts (reading, literature, grammar, creative writing, spelling, and handwriting), mathematics (numeration of whole numbers, fractions and percents, operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, geometry and algebra), and the cultural area of history, science (physics, chemistry, the earth sciences, botany, and zoology), art, music, Spanish, and movement. All rooms include a classroom library. Each area is made up of one or more shelf units, cabinets, and display tables with a wide variety of materials on open display ready for use as the child select them.
All Discovery School teachers are certified Montessori instructors who have completed the rigorous academic and practical studies. Our teachers hold Bachelor’s degrees from various universities and colleges. And most of our teachers have been with Discovery School for over 20 years and counting.
The Montessori teacher is a guide rather than the center of attention. The teacher works with each child on an individual basis, monitoring his progress carefully and presenting new materials when he is ready for them. The teacher is able to spend this individual time with each child because the nature of the materials. They are sequenced and often self-correcting so the child can learn without constant adult intervention.