About Ruffing : At a Glance : Philosophy & Method

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At Ruffing, we embrace Dr. Maria Montessori’s vision that, “a child’s work is to create the person she/he will become.” Thus, we begin with the end goal in mind – young adults who eagerly tackle academic and personal challenges, who are compassionate collaborators, who engage in thoughtful research and critical thinking to actively solve problems, and who thrive as life-long learners.

Ruffing follows the Montessori philosophy, implementing her methods through Montessori-trained faculty, prepared learning environments with beautiful wooden Montessori materials, and multi-aged classrooms with children remaining with their teacher for a three-year cycle. For even our youngest students, Ruffing’s curriculum emphasizes geography, world cultures, history, humanities, global languages, and the arts, in addition to the core subjects of science, mathematics, reading and writing.

Ruffing deeply respects each child and believes that all children, through curiosity and guided exploration, inherently love to learn. A Ruffing Montessori education balances freedom with responsibility, and sets high standards of intellectual, social and moral development that is firmly rooted in the developmental stages of children.

An atmosphere of joy is palpable from the moment you step foot on the Ruffing campus. Walking through the classrooms, you will hear the cheerful buzz of children and find a community in the true sense of the word – children who are learning to care for one another and care for the physical space – indoor and outdoor, which creates a feeling of “home.” Not only is the physical environment calming and beautiful, but our sense of community provides security and stability for our children.

Key Tenets of the Montessori Philosophy:

  • Freedom of movement to interact with peers and choose activities nurtures the excitement of learning. Maria Montessori saw freedom as the single most important factor in allowing children to develop as spontaneous, creative individuals.
  • Children naturally love to learn and are internally motivated. 
  • The prepared environment is essential. The classroom is a responsive environment prepared with multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials to support self-directed learning and the development of independence. The focus is on the process, not the results.
  • Children learn at their own pace and level. Small group instruction enables the child to learn at his or her own pace, with tailored instruction for each child. Through such small group instruction, teachers are able to develop strong relationships with their students and families, understanding each child’s strengths, challenges and how to unlock and ignite their potential.
  • Montessori focuses on the similarities in people, which lead toward understanding and peace. The curriculum emphasizes geography, history, world cultures, community service and peace education. Through the exploration of cultures, children gain a basic global perspective and begin to understand issues facing all of humanity.
  • Our children practice stewardship of the earth through integration of the “green curriculum.” Students learn that we, as humans, are the custodians of the earth and have responsibility for an environment that sustains life.
  • Freedom and self-discipline become parallel paths. Self-discipline is acquired gradually through absorption in meaningful work. The child is guided by respect for the teacher, for the work of others and respect for the materials themselves. Growth requires freedom to use inborn powers to develop physically, intellectually and socially. A Montessori classroom provides this freedom within the limits of an environment that encourages a sense of order and self-discipline. Children thrive on order and structure, but need freedom within that order and structure to explore and learn.
  • All classes are multi-aged. In a three-year period, children experience being the youngest, the middle and the oldest in the community. They learn from, they practice with, and they teach other students. In this way, students reinforce their own learning and master skills while helping others.



Ruffing Montessori School   |   3380 Fairmount Blvd Cleveland Heights, OH 44118   |   Phone: (216) 321-7571   |   Hours 8am-4pm M-F   |   After Hours Phone (216) 321-0913