“Preparing Today’s Children to LEAP into Tomorrow’s Future”
Who we are
“LEAP” is an acronym for “Leaders Exploring Aspiring Promise”. The Montessori Method educational pedagogy was created by Dr. Maria Montessori and her son, Mario Montessori who based her approach on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator whose views focused on a child’s natural eagerness for knowledge. The basis of Montessori practice in the classroom is to respect individual choice of work, and uninterrupted concentration rather than whole group lessons led by an adult.
History of Montessori Schools
The Casa dei Bambini, or Children’s House was the first Montessori school that opened in San Lorenzo, Rome on January 6, 1907. Dr. Montessori’s learning materials and school’s success was acclaimed in Italy and spread to other regions. Dr. Montessori’s travels and writings gained her global recognition attracting many devotees. Her educational approach is widely supported with the development of more than 22,000 Montessori schools in up to 110 countries worldwide.
Benefits of Montessori Education
Many children at Montessori schools out-performed students who were in traditional educational settings according to findings by US psychologist across a range of compared abilities. Montessori teachers focus on personal development which produces more mature, creative, and socially adept children. The Montessori Method discourages traditional competitive measurements of achievement and concentrates on the individual progress of each child. With an emphasis on “practical life skills” children of different ages share the same classroom and are encouraged to collaborate and help one another.
My son has been going to Leap since he was 18 months old (for nearly a year) and it has been the best experience for him! The owners, Betty and Sheila have been nothing short of wonderful; always being accommodating and understanding with us. The school and its staff have felt like a family to us from the very beginning. My son completely adores his teacher, Ms. Eloisa, and she returns that love and care to all of her students in the toddler room. Eloisa truly goes above and beyond with our son and all of the children. They learn something new every day, and teach the students real world application skills; we could not be happier with the school! As a bonus, the new location is perfectly set up, with a super cool room for the toddlers separate from the primary kids. The playground is huge and the kids get to spend a ton of time outside. We give them our highest review and recommendation :)
My daughter is a current student in the primary part of LEAP Montessori School, she started at the beginning of 2017. She has been in Montessori style learning for 2years and has really thrived. She has adapted well here and really likes going to school, which makes everything easier. I really have a sense of security when my child is at this school. This school is clean, safe, well structured and a warm and welcoming environment. I haven't experienced a high turnover in staff and the teachers that are there are genuinely loved by the kiddos that attend including mine. I love the random text updates I get of my kiddos accomplishments with new lessons or having a great time on a field trip as well as if something doesn't seem right with her I get an instant text or call checking in with me. I would recommend this school as a great place for great learning and fun!
Meet the Staff
Ms. Sheila Griffin
Founder & Montessori Trained Primary & Elementary Teacher
Ms. Griffin is the Founder of LEAP International Montessori School and the Lead Elementary teacher. She is also the Curriculum Coordinator and responsible for all happenings on campus.
She holds Association of Montessori Internationale Diplomas at both the Primary (ages 2.5-6) and Elementary (ages 6-12) levels, as well as a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in History and Philosophy from the University of Alaska Southeast. She is currently working on a Master’s in Education in Curriculum Design, Assessment, and Implementation and has taught nationally and internationally at the first through sixth grade levels.
Ms. Griffin is especially interested in Peace Education and has done extensive work with indigenous groups in North America. Her background before she came to Montessori was in the museum world and outdoor education.
Ms. Griffin is a native of New Mexico and graduated from Sandia High School. She also spent a significant amount of time in Alaska and considers it to be her second home.
When not in the classroom, Ms Griffin enjoys spending time with her precious four-legged daughter, “Henri”. She is an avid traveler and lover of labyrinths and geometry gardens and visits them often.
Ms. Betty Osoff- Hannagan
Head of School
Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan is one of the founders of LEAP International Montessori School. Except for a few years traveling and living abroad, she is a life-long, proud resident of the Rio Grande Valley. Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan is a graduate of Highland High School and New Mexico State University with a Bachelors in Business Administration/ Management. She has started, owned, and operated several businesses and has extensive volunteer leadership experience.
Mrs. Osoff-Hannagan first learned about Montessori education while stationed in Italy with her former husband and since has supported several Montessori endeavors. In addition to serving as our Head of School she is also a licensed real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Legacy. She has been successfully helping people to buy and sell residential homes for the past 13 years.
When in her spare time, she and her husband enjoy gardening. She also sings in a choir, enjoys cooking, sewing, painting, playing with her elderly yet wise miniature poodle, and making Montessori materials