Journal Entry

Higher Ground opens first-of-its-kind winter school in Northern Utah

New Powder Mountain Elementary program bridges learning with real-world travel

Jan. 29, 2020 — POWDER MOUNTAIN, Utah — Higher Ground Education, global Montessori school operator, has opened its first Guidepost Montessori Winter School at Powder Mountain Ski Resort. With nearly 50 schools in operation around the world, this is the first time the school network has created a destination learning site. 

The new winter school, which launched as an in-home Elementary Program with plans to expand, is part of the network’s mission to make Montessori programming more accessible to more communities. This school will enroll families living in and traveling to the remote area, but it will also serve as a travel hub for its network of already-enrolled Guidepost Montessori families.  

“A core part of Higher Ground’s value proposition is to modernize the ability for students and families to enjoy the benefits of travel without compromising educational consistency or integrity,” said Ray Girn, CEO of Higher Ground Education. “We are excited to offer such opportunities to our thousands of enrolled families. Whether it is a Chicago parent bringing their toddler along on a business trip to New York, a Shanghai family enrolling for a few weeks at one of our California schools, or a California family wintering at majestic Powder Mountain, we believe integrated travel experiences can offer students and parents immense value.” 

Kacee Weaver, a Utah-based Montessori-trained educator, is running the program as Lead Guide and Program Manager.  Not only are students learning about local geography and snow experiences in the classroom, they also work with experienced ski instructors three days a week to improve their skills on the mountain slopes. 

“Each morning, the children hang up their snow gear and enter excited to begin their day of learning,” Weaver said. “Our classroom is fully equipped with the necessary Montessori materials, and seeing Montessori through their eyes has been invigorating! The great lessons have encouraged conversations about the world around us, and the children have enjoyed planning their own work and fulfilling their own agendas. The collaboration between families, the Higher Ground community, and ski instructors has been a great example of the goals we can accomplish through a shared vision.” 

Weaver has already connected with other Montessori schools, developers and founding families in the area to establish future schools for growth in Ogden and Salt Lake City. 

Meanwhile, Higher Ground Education hopes to continue exploring additional destination learning sites for all enrolled families, recognizing the benefits to more cohesively accommodating work, life, and travel. 

“Unlike most professionals who travel for work, my wife and I are routinely able to bring our young children with us,” Girn added. “If my work takes me to New York, Dallas, Charlotte or Portland — or dozens of other cities across the country — I just bring my kids along and drop them off at a network school during the day. It’s not only delightful that I don’t need to be away from my kids, but, more importantly, I can offer them the chance to travel, make friends, experience new communities, and spend evenings with me – while still having the stability of consistent learning environments and familiar routines.” 

About Powder Mountain 

Powder Mountain is an incredibly vivacious living community near Ogden that includes a year-round ski resort, family homes, real estate development and lodging and is host to Summit Institute, a global event whose mission is to apply creative solutions to real-world challenges related to the environment, education, the arts, health, and social innovation. Patrons of Powder Mountain enjoy a live-work-play lifestyle amid the thousands of acres of recreation in the Wasatch Mountains. 

About Guidepost Montessori 

Guidepost Montessori is a mission-driven, global network of Montessori schools operated by Higher Ground Education where joyful, self‑directed discovery fosters a lifelong love of learning. Our high-quality Montessori programming – backed by MACTE-accredited teacher-training – runs from birth through middle school, guiding families continuously through the most foundational and transformative years of childhood education.   

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