Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers:


1. What ages may attend?
All ages. Responsible caretakers must accompany children under 6 and the handicapped.

2. Are degrees awarded?
There is no need for “degrees” that declare a “finished process.” Learning at the center continues uninterrupted for a lifetime or as long as the learner wishes.

3. Is there a graduation?
Unlike a manufacturing company which mass produces a finished product on an assembly line and which declares “done,” at the end of the process, the learning center operates on an individual basis. The learner decides when he/she has had enough, would like a sabbatical or would like to re-enter. Typically learning is for a lifetime and they are never “done.”

4. Are grades given?
A reporting system will inform parents, if so requested, of their children’s significant accomplishments, skill attainments and next readiness level(s). No letter grades will be given.

5. Are records kept?
Yes. Detailed records of every piece of mastered learning are kept for every learner in the center. This is done by the special computerized machines in the mastery area, which certify and reward learning achievements. These records are for use by the learner, the parents and/or any key person selected by them such as potential employers or university admission officers. The records are never used to penalize or “fail” a learner.

6. Will the center be “accredited?”
Not in the traditional sense. However, there is a system in place to validate attainment of competency levels, thus serving as accreditation for the wider world. The computerized machines in the mastery areas (the “Magic Mastery Machines”) along with apprenticeship records, completed projects, awards, and outstanding employment service will provide certification of accomplishments. This sort of accreditation will be much more meaningful because it is individual rather than institution based.

7. Will this be legal and in compliance with attendance laws?
Yes. It has been declared legal for parents to provide children with a learning environment as an alternative to publically provided schools. This is what makes homes schooling legal.

8. Is the center able to assure “student achievement levels?”
The learning center is not responsible for achievement just as libraries don’t have to account for the amount of learning that happens after a year of reading their books. Achievement is the business of the parents and children planning for it together. Nonetheless, achievement levels will ordinarily be astonishing and may be certified by results shown on the “Magic Mastery Machines,” as well as testimony by the masters.

9. Is the learning center actually something of a vocational school?
Unlike vocational schools, the learning center encompasses the greatest classical subjects, studies, books, and thinking of all time, as well as the deepest concepts of math and science. It bears resemblance to a vocational school in that it prepares learners to make practical contributions and become fully qualified for employment.

10. Will the masters and mentors have “tenure?”
They will naturally accrue longevity and increase in status because of experience, but these will not be used as an automatic safeguard for the incompetent.

11. How many masters and mentors will there be?
There will be at least one master and four mentors in each loggia along with auxiliary staff personnel. The larger loggias may have numerous masters, a larger number of mentors and many other staffers.

12. Just what is a loggia, exactly?
The word loggia is an Italian word which means a gallery or arcade open on at least one side. It is pronounced "lo'je uh". It will have a waist-high fence and a gate for traffic control It is easy to see into each loggia but one must enter by the turn-style. Each loggia will have four partitioned areas: 1.Curiosity and Motivation 2.Projects and Experimentation 3. HandsOn Learning 4. Mastery and Apprenticeship. A complete description is found in BREAKTHROUGH TO BRILLIANCE: Changing the World by Changing the Way We Learn.

13. How many learners will be in a loggia at a time?
This depends upon the size of the loggia: in the smallest loggia, only twenty learners will be allowed in the first section (“The Curiosity Center”) at a time. Thirty learners will be allowed in the second section (the “Hands-on Learning Center”). Twenty-six will be allowed in the “Project Center” and up to ten will be allowed in the “Mastery Center.” Thus, 86 students may be allowed in each loggia. Larger loggias may accommodate up to 150. A system of lights will indicate when areas are filled to capacity.

14. Must a learner always finish what he/she starts?
Learners will be strongly encouraged to finish, sign, date and exhibit all projects. With most learning packages, computer programs, videos, equipment, tools, games, and some raw materials, he/she may stop at any time. However, if the learner comes into an apprenticeship relationship with a master, he/she will enter into a more binding situation, contracting for progressively longer periods of time.

15. Will there be scholarships?
Yes. Scholarships will be granted by various non-profit organizations, including the Hamilton Learning Foundation, as well as many for-profit corporations and civic organizations. Scholarship information will be readily available.

16. Can learners work in exchange for membership fees?
Yes. There will be an abundance of co-op work situations available, such as loggia assisting, grounds-keeping, animal tending, sweeping, cleaning, food services, computer work, babysitting, clerical work, organizing of learning materials and inn-keeping, all of which can earn credits for use at the center.


1. How will parents find their children in such a large unstructured place?
A computerized system of turn-stiles and electronic lanyards will give parents instant access to their children at all times. Each child will have an assigned mentor to act as personal sponsor. Color-coded nametags and programmed lanyards will permit or restrict access to various areas in compliance with parents’ wishes.

2. What about food and eating schedules for children?
Learners may have snacks or packed lunches at appropriate tables in the loggias, out in the mall or on the grounds, and will be expected to clean up after themselves. Meals will also be served in the Food Court on the lower level, and children will be encouraged and taught to have nourishing meals at reasonable times.

3. How can parents feel comfortable about the character and morals of the staff?
Very careful screening and highest standards will prevail in all hiring. Only those who come with excellent recommendations from many reliable sources will be considered.

4. What about safety around hazardous equipment and substances?
Every effort will be made to assure complete safety. Hazardous equipment and substances will be off limits, or for use only with careful supervision by qualified personnel. Every piece of equipment will come with detailed instruction, and where necessary, will show warning flags, poison symbols and caution notes. Every learner who attends must sign a statement releasing the center from liability.

5. How will the center protect my child from proselytization?
The center is not the appropriate place for such activities. Those who attempt to use it as such would relinquish membership privileges.


1. With so many kids under one roof, won’t there be wild chaos?
No. Here’s why: 1. When children are truly learning, really absorbed, they are not wild, but very quiet. They are content to be at their own “work” fully engaged, carefully observing, busy absorbing, creating or experimenting. 2.When they are between experiences, they will be gently helped and guided by the mentors to the things they most want to understand. 3.The mentors will be nearby and will guide them, so that when they are ready to move on, they will encounter their next important concept and become absorbed again.

The following is a quote from Education and Peace by Maria Montessori. Because it is crucial in understanding just how this plan will work, it is quoted fully:

"In such an environment, [one constructed to meet the learner’s developmental needs] the child proves to be something quite different from a creature who enjoys wasting time and wants to do nothing but play. He becomes an individual who works very hard, who is very observant, and who is not destructive.

"He is incredibly meticulous (much more so than we adults are); he performs tasks scrupulously; he is capable of great concentration; he is able to control the movement of his body; and he is a great lover of silence.

"He is punctual in obedience; he obeys promptly and he delights in obeying. He works very well by himself and feels no need to compete with other children.

"Lying, disorderliness, temper tantrums, idle daydreaming, etc. disappear. Children’s characters change by means of a calm, constructive activity that develops their intelligence.

"We think the child is happiest when he is playing, but the truth is that the child is happiest when he is working…

"All this is the result of an interchange between the child and his surroundings, between the child and his work. It does not come about because there is an adult who guides every step, an adult who lords it over the child.

"On the contrary, the adult who comes into intimate contact with such children is well aware that new and mysterious feelings are awakened in him, and he begins to step aside."

If you have a hard time believing this, I challenge you to visit an excellent Montessoi school and see for yourself.

2. Are there any rules in place to assure good behavior?
Yes. There are only two simple rules for them to remember: 1) Always show respect when anyone is busy learning (which means leave them and their materials alone.) 2) Always show respect to the learning environment (by putting things back precisely where they belong and following the directions on instruction cards.)

3. How will the children keep these rules in mind at all times?
They will be carefully trained by simulated scenarios before they receive their license to use the center, to become skilled in reacting properly in every circumstance.

4. What if they continually break rules or refused to be trained?
They will be quietly removed from the center until they agree to be retrained and re-licensed.


1. Won't learners get bored after they've explored their subject of interest?
No. Not only is each loggia brimming with an incredible multitude of things to see and manipulate, but also, through computerized programs, there is an endless depth to the information desired, and innumerable paths to further explore.

2. How will pupils learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic?
Joyfully, excitedly, naturally and eagerly! By being in an environment totally saturated with the doing of these things, learners will feel very interested in having these skills. They will see the need for them in all they do and will be with other learners for whom such mastery is second nature. They will want to empower themselves to think and learn independently. They will want all the tools, capabilities and skills they can obtain for their own purposes. There will be no shame or sense of failure to keep learners from revealing their need for help. Instead, all sorts of non-invasive assistance and respectful encouragement will be at hand in the form of engaging hands-on, interactive learning packets, computerized fast feedback learning games and personal one-on-one instruction. Beautifully and clearly printed words will be literally everywhere in this environment because everything will be clearly labeled and annotated. The reading of labels alone will help lead to a mastery of reading. Likewise, everyone will want to make attractive, clear labels of their own, for all of their projects and exhibits. They’ll want to use fine penmanship and excellent grammar for all their correspondences, notations, quotes and compositions. Penmanship and calligraphy will be considered art forms.

Likewise, mathematics will be seen as a wonderful tool to help learners toward greater and greater precision and perfection in all that they do. It will always be found in concrete rather than abstract forms. Accurate counting, measuring, calculating and estimating will be a part of all their projects. Some may prefer to use keyboards and calculators instead of doing it all by hand. This will be allowed, too, once they have mastered the basics.

If the child has been in the Montessori School located on the lower level, he/she will have already mastered most of the preparation skills needed and be well on the way to having “the basics” under his/her belt. If not, the center provides plenty of ways for learning all that is needed. A full explanation of the mastery of basics is given in the book, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Because reading is so vital and a lifetime love of it so desirable in the life of a cultured person, there will be, out in the mall, a reading circle with the best books in the world being continually read aloud. Once the non-reading child expresses a keen interest in a book, mentors, assistants, and older children will assist him/her in learning to read that book. He/she may also be directed to the interactive, self-paced reading machines in the LIFE SKILLS LOGGIA.

Today’s children are reading at much earlier ages (typically 4), than ever before, primarily due to television, other media sources  and hand-held devices. In any case, every effort will be made to see that each learner quickly becomes an excellent reader, once they have indicated this is their desire. Learners will soon find that the “Magic Mastery Machine” machines pay off handsomely when they master the four major skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in math as well as when they exhibit various skill levels in reading and writing. They may also gain these needed skills in the LIFE SKILLS LOGGIA, using the interactive, self-paced computerized programs. Mastery of “the basics” will simply not employ pressure, coercion, shame, or threats.

3. Won't some children naturally gravitate only to sports or leisure activities?
One reason children think they like recreation more than learning is that traditional schools have presented learning in such dry, dull, tedious ways and have made schools such a “lock down” situation that only recess seems a treat. Once the child is introduced to the thrill of learning by doing and discovering, this imbalance will change. However, some children may choose to “major” in sports. This is acceptable if this is his/her true path. Like all others, this path will lead to much learning.The sports child or adolescent will have many options for a “minor” from among the other rich offerings in the center.


1. Will there be only one learning center?
There will be the fully equipped prototype model as described, in a location yet to be designated. Upon its completion and successful, profitable operation, these learning centers will become a chain, with facilities in all major cities and many communities.

2. Can our community afford a center of our very own?
Yes. Please read “Stone Soup Schools” in the book, Breakthrough to Brilliance. Once the prototype is completed, most of the computerized learning programs, fixtures and displays can be inexpensively duplicated and made available through economies of scale. After obtaining the fixtures and donated computers, the community can use facilities, such as abandoned malls, warehouses or empty public buildings. It may combine several entities, such as the library, museum and school. All may begin to enjoy the wonderfully creative and extremely intellectually stimulating process of bringing together a rich panoply of natural artifacts found in nature, items found discarded or in second hand shops, and articles artistically created by locals. Individuals will contribute used books, educational toys, equipment and collections from their homes to help create an engaging learning environment. Their own center can thus be fashioned to reflect the unique personality, history and character of the individual community or region.

3. Is there also going to be a virtual learning center?
Yes. Once the prototype is in place, The Hamilton Learning Foundation will form a partnership with a leading technology company. Utilizing the visual and auditory components of the center, an intriguing website and interactive “video adventure” will be created to give people everywhere access to not just what is there, but to other resources as well, such as those found at the Smithsonian or at various museums across the country. This virtual learning center is already on the drawing board, with an intriguing name and original format.


1. What about children of the ghetto who roam the streets in gangs?
A center such as this could transform a ghetto. Faith and patience are required while they absorb the simple rules and learn to trust. Their potential is real; they are to be respected. They too, want to learn; they too have precious gifts.

2. How will the center affect our community and humanity?
“Havenotness” will become a distant memory of our culture. There will always be plenty of work, plenty of new ideas, discoveries, publications, inventions, productions, and investment opportunities. The yearning for novelty will be satisfied, not by shopping for unnecessary things, but by shopping for learning experiences, knowledge, skills, and self-discovery. Investment markets will soar as new products and services are discovered, invented and brought to market. People will lose interest in conspicuous consumption for status and will use prosperity for self-discovery and fullest utilization of their unique talents. Travel will increase, as will cultural exchanges and philanthropic outreach to impoverished nations. People will become more empathetic, respectful, and much happier as their souls go from barrenness to meaningful, joyful, rich fullness.

3. Could the learning center lifestyle disrupt social norms and family life?
Patterns we now see as “normal” will gradually evolve into much healthier ones. Family life will be deeply enriched and bonds greatly strengthened. All people and families will remain free to choose as much or as little as they wish. However, time spent there will offer such healthy vibrancy and deep satisfactions that other choices will pale by comparison.

This will cause a greatly enhanced economy – much more lively than ever before seen. When people who have been members of the center become employed by private or public companies, they bring to the table a keen sense of who they really are, seeking work in keeping with their burning interests, thus bringing much more energy to the workplace. Employers, knowing that time spent at the learning center will create brighter, more inventive and creative employees, will thus create more flexible schedules to allow for time shared between the company and the learning center.

4. How soon can the first learning center community become operational?
Once the grant money and capital are in place, teams of engineers, designers, curriculum specialists, programmers and architects will move with efficiency and diligence to produce the needed equipment for each loggia and determine the final plans. Once the building site is determined, it will not take much longer than the construction of the typical shopping mall, museum or residential development.

5. Is the center proposed as a replacement for public schools?
What is presented here is a prototype model. As such, it cannot immediately replace the public school systems of America, but it will provide an inspired vision for how true learning should be taking place in this era. Once proven as a viable enterprise, it will quickly begin to spread to other locations through franchises. Government vouchers will be issued and gradually, these learning centers will replace outmoded public schools, as we know them.
Involve Me & I Learn