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    • A Sacred Heart Schools Montessori Preschool classroom with students working independently

Montessori Preschool

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Give only good example to the children....Win them by an appeal to their piety and to their hearts. Soften your reprimands with kind words. Encourage and reward them. That is, in short, our way of educating.
The founder of Sacred Heart education, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, saw the school as an extension of the home. When kids are loved, they learn. Our Sacred Heart Montessori Preschool program, therefore, offers our youngest learners (ages 3-5) an opportunity to explore the world around them, expand their knowledge, and gain independence with an abundance of love.

Crafted by educator Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori Method aligns beautifully with a Sacred Heart education. It begins with a fundamental premise: that children are naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared environment. Our preschool teachers are keen observers who value the development of the whole child: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive. As a result, the classroom becomes a place where young students develop coordination, concentration, confidence, order, and independence.
    • Preschoolers at work time in the Montessori program at Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

      Preschoolers at work time in the Montessori program

Areas of Study

Our preschool consists of five classrooms, each with a maximum of 15 students, one lead teacher, and one assistant teacher. The classrooms are equipped with a full range of Montessori materials which help young children build independence through repeated practice of concrete experiences.

Additionally, our preschoolers also have access to a staffed Outdoor Classroom, which provides multi-sensory lessons that engage the whole body and introduce the study of nature. 

Last, at the center of daily discussions with young students, Grace & Courtesy are underscored as both Montessori and Sacred Heart community values, and set an important foundation for later experience with Code of the Heart (conduct expectations) in the Lower & Middle Schools.

Montessori Curriculum

In our Montessori Preschool curriculum, the primary areas of guided, independent, or small group learning encompass:
  • Practical Life
  • Sensorial
  • Language
  • Math
  • Culture, and 
  • Science
    • A Montessori Preschooler shares her knowledge at Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

      A Montessori Preschooler shares her knowledge

    • Preschoolers offer flowers at the May Crowning at Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Activities & Enrichment

Each year, our preschool students have a variety of activities integrated with their school schedule, encouraging further exploration and excitement for learning. The following are just some of the opportunities regularly offered:
  • Music & Movement
  • Arts Exploration 
  • Library & Author Visits 
  • SHS Farm Visits & Animal Care
  • All-School Liturgies 
  • Community Action/Service Projects
  • Sacred Heart Traditions
  • Heritage & Faith Sharing
  • Annual Cultural Celebrations
  • Holiday Events

Sample Daily Schedule

Morning Arrivals
First Circle
Self-Directed Work Time 
Outdoor Play
Second Circle
Lunch or Half-Day Program Dismissal
Rest Time
Self-Directed Work Time
Full-Day Program Dismissal
    • Preschoolers at play in the large grass area at Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

      Preschoolers at play in the large grass area

    • A preschooler expresses her joy during the magic show at Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

      A preschooler expresses her joy during the magic show


A child must be three years old by May 31 to start school in August. Following our Montessori program, preschool students will generally spend one to two years* in the same classroom before moving on to Kindergarten.
Before starting in Preschool, a child must be toilet-trained, ready to separate from their primary caregivers, and willing to interact positively with children and adults. We aim to nurture the child's interests by providing a balance of social-emotional learning and academic tasks.
*Please note, children with June, July, and August birthdays typically will spend one (sometimes two) years in Preschool before moving on to Kindergarten.

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Francesca Brake

    Francesca Brake 

    Principal - P-8
  • Photo of Anna Reitman

    Anna Reitman 

    Montessori Preschool Program Specialist - PS

Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

150 Valparaiso Ave
Atherton, CA 94027
650 322 1866
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12