How is Montessori different from traditional schools?

Children in a Montessori school learn at their own pace, according to their own choice of activities. Learning occurs through all five senses, not just by sitting at a desk and listening, watching or reading. Our children experience learning as an exciting process of discovery leading to concentration, motivation, and self-discipline. These experiences combine to create a person who will enjoy a life-long love of learning.  Classes span approximately three-year age groups: ages 15 months – 3 years, 3 – 6, 6 – 9 and 9 - 12. The older children in these communities of learning share their knowledge with the younger children. For more information please visit the “Why Montessori?” (Hyperlink) section of this website.

How are Montessori teachers trained?

Our teachers receive intensive training beyond the level of a Bachelors Degree. Typically, classroom directors/directresses hold a Montessori diploma from the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Classroom directors/directresses study the principles of child development and Montessori philosophy in depth, as well as specific uses of the classroom materials. Training typically takes three years during which teachers are also required to perform an internship under the mentorship of a master teacher.

What standardized tests do you use and how do your students do on them?

Because the Montessori curriculum is organized on a different time-line than traditional curricula, typical standardized testing is not helpful until the Upper Elementary years.  In the Upper Elementary program, we introduce the principles and strategies of standardized testing, and give children an opportunity to practice the kinds of tests they will likely be taking in later schooling.  Our children regularly perform in the higher percentiles on these tests.

What will my child’s day look like?

Children and their parents arrive at school and are welcomed by the Head of School, a teacher, or a staff member.  Children are welcomed into the classrooms at 8:30 am and class begins at 8:45. Approximately three hours of the morning are devoted to a quiet work period in which students will be working independently on learning activities, in groups, or with a teacher receiving lessons.  Children move freely between lessons and projects under the watchful eye of the teachers.  The morning also includes a circle during which the whole class gathers for a discussion, reading or a presentation.  After recess and lunch, for children in Extended Day and above, the afternoon includes special activities such as music, language study, and physical education as well as additional work time in classroom lessons.  The class day ends at 3:15 pm, when children meet their parents in the parking lot.

What opportunities for arts activities will my child have?

The arts are integrated into the study of all of the disciplines in the classroom.  For example, as they study the timeline of life on earth, children will be encouraged to illustrate their study with pictures of the animals or plant life they learn about.  Cultural studies may involve the creation of masks as well as learning the indigenous music and dance of different people of the world.  The arts specialists work closely with classroom teachers to develop projects that integrate with the child’s learning as well as providing instruction in the techniques of the visual, musical, and performing arts.  Annual music, dance and theater performances involve all students: the Seasons of Light program in December, the annual play in May, and at the Moving On (Graduation) Ceremony in June.

What opportunities for physical education will my child have?

The younger children have regular physical education activities that are fun games focusing on movement and coordination.  The older children have physical education classes several times a week focused on physical skills and the concepts of more formal games and sports.  Our children develop physical confidence as well as the sense of fair play, teamwork, sportsmanship, and the foundations of life-long fitness.

How much recess time will my child have?

Each level has recess time after the morning work period.  Children who stay for the full day have an additional recess time in the afternoon.

Are there many Montessori schools?

There are approximately 4,000 Montessori schools in the United States and about 7,000 worldwide.