The Post Oak Difference

A Primary student working with the trinomial cube

When you choose Post Oak, you’re enrolling your child in one of Houston’s best private schools, and you’re joining one of the most vibrant communities in the city. But there’s something more: families that choose Post Oak have decided on an educational path that’s fundamentally different from the one offered by other schools. The Montessori method and its core principles are unique. And their results are being validated by research as well as the extraordinary lives of graduates.

We invite you to learn more about these differences below or to download our eBook “9 Things to Look for in a Montessori Classroom.”

Math material
The Montessori Method

Montessori is increasingly becoming the blueprint for a new approach to learning. Its core tenets, that effective learning is self-directed and that education calls for the development of the “whole person,” are shaping a generation uniquely prepared for the demands of the 21st century.

Montessori is an approach that acknowledges it is how—and not just what—we learn that most shapes the developing personality. While independent studies show that Montessori students perform academically as well or better than more traditionally educated peers, we believe it’s their demonstrably better life skills that best prepare our young people for a complex and fast-changing world.

Students study the relationship of geometric objects
Mastery over Time

In more traditional school models, time is a constant, while mastery is a variable. That is, each school day is broken down into multiple periods of time in which to address a specific subject (e.g., math, science, English).

Montessori flips this convention on its head. At Post Oak, mastery is the constant while time is the variable. In other words, it may take some students a few hours or days to grasp a particular concept, while others require two or three weeks to demonstrate knowledge of the same material or mastery of a skill. But the Montessori teacher is focused on mastery instead of time or grades. The goal is for each student to master the material regardless of how much time it takes. This aspect of our education system is really what sets it apart from the others: we follow the child.

A child-sized, wooden shelf containing Montessori materials
Curated Learning Environments

Our classrooms and learning spaces at the Bissonnet Campus are brimming with materials for curious minds and creative hands. There are robust curricula at every level and students can dive deeply into subject matter that captivates them. The classroom is not dominated by the presence of the adult. It is a mature and sophisticated work environment; one based on respect for the student and dependent for its successful functioning on the self-discipline of all.

A Primary student works on math
Choice & Responsibility

Traditional education is designed more like a factory. Students are told what to do and when to do it. A Post Oak classroom is more entrepreneurial and professional. Students are given choices. They are encouraged to pursue individual interests above and beyond basic requirements. They are given a great deal of freedom to structure their time and their work—as long as they act with responsibility.

Our teachers tell students that it’s okay to be wrong, to make mistakes. In fact, if you aren’t making mistakes, you’re not taking risks. And if you aren’t taking risks, you aren’t stretching beyond what you already know how to do. The ideal learning environment is one where it is safe to take risks; an environment that encourages experimentation; one which acknowledges mistakes as an expected part of the learning process.

Elementary students work together
Collaboration & Cooperation

In Montessori classrooms, children first learn to receive help and then to give it, starting with practical life needs like putting on a jacket. Soon help extends into more academic learning. A six-year-old may help a four-year-old spell a word with the moveable alphabet. Or sixth graders may help each other with ideas about writing in iambic pentameter.

What is cooperative learning? In our Elementary classrooms, students work in groups on a project, help one another, bounce around ideas, consider alternative solutions, negotiate who will do what, learn how to work through challenges together, and navigate sharing their feelings when there are disagreements. Post Oak students develop high levels of social and emotional intelligence. And students urge each other on toward higher levels of achievement while supporting and encouraging one another.

A High School student at her internship
International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

The Post Oak School is authorized as an IB World School to offer the IB Diploma Program for grades 11 and 12. IB schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that we believe is important for our students.

Our goal is to enable students to achieve the skills necessary for life as independent adults and the sense of purpose necessary to make a meaningful contribution to world peace. To achieve this, students need to be given the opportunity to test out their own ability to be independent, and they need to be given a wide range of experiences in the real world so that they can discover the things they love to do and start to develop those passions as talents.

a high school student at her internship at HMNS
Internships

Beginning in their first year in the High School, students can identify an area of interest to work with professionals at a partner institution. Some examples are paleontology research at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, assisting a cardiothoracic surgeon with patient education programs in the Medical Center, learning coding at Flatiron, and studying capital investments with fund managers.

Some schools may offer students the opportunity to undertake a short-term internship, but Post Oak students aren’t limited. Your interests matter and you don’t have to wait to do work that means something to you.

Challenge the Norm

“Could I be a student here?” Every year we hear parents ask that question. Too few of us attended schools that felt right. Many of us would love the opportunity to do school again. Instead you are giving your children an extraordinary opportunity by choosing Post Oak.

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