SUIMA Upper Elementary student, Joe Howell reads a book to his classmates as they spent time at SUCCM. Pictured here with Howell are Max Frost, Niko Frost, Sibyra Valdez, Meskvlwv Wesley, Saniyya Valdez, and Aeden Richards.
SUIMA teaching assistant, Aislinn Ryder helps preschooler Angelisa Pena hide her bones during the Hand Game activity.
SUIMA Ute Language Specialist, Daisy Bluestar is teaching the Ute language to a small group of community members. This was an assignment from the Southwest Indigenous Language Development Institute course she has been taking through Fort Lewis College.
Photo Credit: Courtesy SUIMA
Photo Credit: Courtesy SUIMA
Photo Credit: Courtesy SUIMA
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Reflecting on 22 years of Montessori  

Pɵˈɵkwatʉ  — ‘Eagle’s Nest’

Due to the articles I have been writing, some people have asked me about the beginnings of the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy.  In an article dated Sept. 1998 in the Denver Post, by Post Staff Writer, Electa Draper, she wrote “The [Southern Ute] Tribal Council resolved this month (1998) to open a private school next year (1999), preschool through second grade.  Its purpose is not only to preserve Ute language and culture but to also improve the quality of education… of Southern Utes.”   

During this time, the Blue Sky School, with kindergarten and first graders, was functioning at the SUIT Education Center, while plans for a new school and training in the chosen curriculum were taking place.  With the Tribe choosing the Montessori method due to its similarities with native teachings, 19 staff members at the then Southern Ute Head Start, became trained in Montessori philosophy.  When the school opened, the Ute language became the cornerstone of the school.   

On Oct. 25, 1999, the groundbreaking ceremony for SUIMA took place.  Less than a year later, on Sept. 6, 2000, SUIMA opened its doors to preschoolers and lower elementary students.  In November of 2000, the infant and toddler building was fully constructed, as was the SUIMA dining hall. Some of the newly hired staff came from the Southern Ute Head Start while others were from the public realm. As the students grew older, and more students attended, the upper elementary classrooms were put to use.  

We are soon to end our 22nd year, already looking at what the 2023-2024 school year has in store for us.   

Montessori tidbits 

On January 6, 1907, the first Montessori school was opened in Rome.  The name of the school was Casa dei Bambini which means “Children’s House.”  Since the opening of that school, there are over 15,000 Montessori schools around the world.  Maria Montessori passed away on May 6, 1952.  During her lifetime, Maria Montessori had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.  Since the founding of Casa dei Bambini, thousands of teachers and guides have been trained in the Montessori method.  The Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy was the first Native American Montessori school to earn its accreditation. 

Upcoming events – Fancy Fridays and early release every Friday! 

  • 3/10 – No School – (kách pɵˈɵghani) – teacher workday 
  • 3/11 – Fundraising at Sun Ute 
  • 3/11 — Rescheduled Family Dance 4p.m. in the SUIMA dining hall 
  • 3/13-17 – Parent teacher conference 
  • 3/13 & 14 – Primary and elementary students going to Little Shop of Physics 
  • 3/15 – Primary going to Farmington Museum 
  • 3/20-24 – Spring – (tamaritʉ) break 
  • 3/28 – PAG via Zoom 
  • 3/29 – Family Night 
  • 3/30 – UE Food sale 
  • 3/31 – Spring pictures 
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