“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.
I cannot say enough good things about LEAP Montessori. I purposefully waited several months to do a review to make sure I could confidently stand by what I have to say. When we moved my four year old to LEAP 8 months ago he was having severe behavioral problems and was on the verge of expulsion at his old preschool. I couldn't have asked for a more kind and patient teacher for my child. Ms. Griffin has worked miracles! The change I've seen in him has been remarkable. Almost instantly they were able to refer me to other people and resources to help us with him at home too. He's now a thriving "normal" four year old, and he loves going to school. I have spent time in the classroom and Ms Griffin has created a wonderfully calm learning environment. The kids are active and engaged in their lessons and work. She clearly adores the children and loves what she gets to do every day. She also has great classroom management skills. As a former teacher myself, I've seen nothing about her behavior towards the children that is concerning. She does a great job at redirecting the kids while also reinforcing and reminding them the rules in a loving way. This school and Ms Griffin have been a tremendous blessing for our family. Any child would be a lucky to attend!
I recommend this school! It is hard to find an authentic Montessori education. We lived in a large city with an abundance of daycare options before moving to NM. I searched for Montessori schools there but found only one nearby, and the price was $280/kid/week! When we moved to NM, I found this school and am so happy! So are my kids! The environment is very cozy and peaceful. The kids were immediately drawn to the class animals. Everything is geared toward stimulating their curiosity, and they are learning naturally. Ms. Griffin is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. She is always willing to listen and exchange insight. I always feel supported as a parent. It is easy to see that this school is her passion. My kids never want to leave at the end of the day because there is always something interesting for them to enjoy there. That makes me feel great about having them enrolled at LEAP. Also, before you make an appointment to tour the school, read about Maria Montessori and watch a couple YouTube videos about how Montessori classrooms function. You’ll appreciate what you see at LEAP all the more.
I am a nurse and a pastor, with graduate degrees in both and highly value education. I have two sons who are Montessori grads, from different places and schools. I know there is a range of quality & commitment.
I have known Shiela Griffin for over a decade both personally and professionally. She is warm, bright and dedicated, giving her entire heart and soul to her work. I strongly believe that her Montessori school is at the top of the pack due to her commitment and convictions. She has freely offered support for the work I do with homeless children. The Leap school is a sound investment in your child's future.
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