FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I know my child is ready for Montessori?
Children independent in the bathroom and between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 are usually ready. A child needs to have some impulse control and to have passed out of the oral stage (objects in mouth).
Why does my child need to be two or three to start the program?
The children’s house is designed specifically to meet the needs of a child between the ages of 2 1/2 to 6. Children have sensitive periods for learning which all fade by the age of 5 1/2. In class, lessons build on each other and cater to these sensitive periods. The kindergarten year is a time when connections are made and the fruit of all lessons is harvested. If a child enters the children’s house after some of these periods have faded the lessons are not fully absorbed.
How will my child transition if he/she has only been left with family?
When a child starts school at the age of two or three, often times it is the first time he/she is left with non- family members. We will prepare your child with a visit before his/her first day of school. The staff understands that this is a big step in your child’s independence; it’s an exciting time for the whole family. Our staff is consistent, loving, and patient. Children are always welcome to sit with a staff member or observe the classroom until they feel comfortable. We will keep you abreast of your child’s transition, daily.
Do the children do all their work independently? Are there any group lessons?
The children do most of their work independently. Children at this age are working on self-construction. They each have an internal drive that draws them to specific work on the shelf. A child may do any particular lesson one time or fifty times depending on the child’s age, interest, or stage of development. As a child draws closer to the age of six he becomes more interested in group lessons. Some of the higher end math and language lessons are given in small groups to feed that need. Small gatherings are held sporadically for grace and courtesy lessons, stories, or listening games. Everyday, the group comes together, as a whole, to read stories and sing. The group comes together for celebrations as well.
How do you know when to give a child a lesson?
There are two things a teacher observes in a child when preparing to give a new lesson. The first is the child’s skill level. It is a delicate balance between offering a lesson to a child that is challenging but not too difficult to discourage. The second is interest; children absorb a lesson in its totality if it is something they are attracted to.
What if my child is only attracted to a certain area?
The teacher will do her best to round out the child’s interests. Often times a child will do one particular lesson or lessons in a certain area over and over again. That is okay. The classroom is set-up so the child can do what he is drawn to until his drive for self-perfection is satisfied. If a student seems to be obviously avoiding an area in the classroom the teacher will work with him to create some interest. Usually, over the course of a child’s career (three years) in the classroom he will fully experience all areas of the classroom.
How is discipline handled in the classroom?
The positive functioning of each classroom rests on respect for each individual and respect for the environment. A major goal of the Montessori experience is to encourage self-discipline. From their first day in the classroom children are introduced to activities, which will elicit sustained work and concentration. They are given the security of clear guidelines for acceptable behavior, which are positively and consistently reinforced in “Grace and Courtesy Lessons”. When a child is behaving in an unacceptable manner, redirection (or introduction to a new activity) will allow the child to refocus his attention, and thereby, restore his behavior. A teacher may need to keep a disruptive child by her side until he calms down. A quiet corner with a few minutes peace may restore the child’s equilibrium.
Language and directives are stated in the positive. The staff eliminates the words NO and DON’T when directing the children. For example, “Walk please”’ instead of “Don’t Run”. This helps the child “see” in his mind proper behavior. Children are given choices whenever possible.
What if my child naps?
If your child stays all day and requires a nap, after lunch we will lay him down on a nap cot in a relaxing environment and allow him to nap for one to one and a half hours. We ask that you bring a blanket from home for naps which will be sent home on Fridays to be laundered.
What if we are enrolled part time and need to stay all day one day?
That is okay; just let your child’s teacher know a day ahead of time. Our hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you need your child to come early or stay late simply notify the staff. You will be billed for the extra care at the end of the month.
What if my child has a bathroom accident at school?
Each child has a box of extra clothes in his classroom. If an accident or large spill occurs, the staff will assist your child in changing. Wet clothes will be sent home in a plastic bag with a note letting you know what needs to be refreshed in your child’s box.
Is your program religious based?
Religion is a very private and personal matter. It is our school’s philosophy to respect all religions but to leave religious education to individual families. Our program has no religious affiliations. It is based on the theories of Dr. Maria Montessori, physician/surgeon, anthropologist, educator, and writer. All our teachers are Association Montessori Internationale (A.M.I.) trained.
What is the difference between kindergarten at Montessori verses public school?
In public schools, students generally learn information as a unit; the entire class gets the same lesson at the same time. This does not take into account children learning at different rates. Typically, in a traditional environment, the teacher makes most decisions regarding what a child is suppose to learn. Eventually, children loose their internal motivation for self-education.
In a Montessori classroom individuals work on a variety of different lessons at any one time. If 20 children are in the room, 20 different lessons can be going on at once. Students receive one on one lessons from the teacher, and classrooms are multi-aged.
For a Montessori kindergartener, anywhere from two to three years has already been spent in the Montessori environment engaged in lessons that build upon one another. The last year, the kindergarten year, is when the child’s Montessori experience really comes together. As an older child, their mental process moves from concrete thinking into abstraction; it is here true connections are made in their academics. Also, the last year in the children’s house is a time to be a leader amongst younger children utilizing all their grace and courtesy.
Is there Montessori for elementary aged children?
Yes. Longview has an elementary school~Big Leaf Montessori located at 1428 22nd Ave, Longview, WA 98632. bigleafmontessori.com
Can parents volunteer in the classroom?
A large part of the foundation in a Montessori classroom is the consistency. This includes placement of furniture, limits, regular classmates and adults in the room. Each classroom has a trained teacher and assistant in the environment that fully understands the work in the room and has a rapport with the children. On occasion there will be opportunities for a parent to help out with a special project, read to the children, or share a talent. Parents are always welcome to come for an observation.
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