How is Montessori different from traditional preschool?
Why should I pay for Kindergarten when I can get it free through the school district?
Do Montessori kids have a hard time transitioning to traditional elementary school?
Not typically! Most modern school environments have adopted various aspects of the Montessori philosophy. You’ll find learning centers, mixed age classrooms, independent learning, etc. Rarely do children sit in rows anymore. Still, this can be a concern to “New to Montessori” families. Sometimes it is an adjustment for students to realize that they will be doing the same thing as everyone else and that they may be sitting still for longer periods of time. However, by the time a child gets into first grade, she has usually mastered aspects of self control and this combined with the natural curiosity and love of learning that she has acquired during her Montessori years, helps her to succeed. We find that public school teachers love Montessori kids!
Where can I find out info such as; class times, tuition, class sizes, etc.
Can I schedule a tour?
Please do! We generally do tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM or 1:00 PM. Give us a call to schedule a tour. If you need a different time, just ask and we’ll try to make it work. (360) 698-7620
Should I bring my child?
You may, yes, but it’s up to you. Some parents like to see their child in our school environment and have a chance to meet the teachers, etc. Others like to come without their child so they can see the school and ask questions without distractions. Either way, it’s up to you. Keep in mind that if you bring your child to lots of different schools, it can be confusing to him if HE has to choose! This is your decision!! A good approach would be to visit several schools without your child and after you’ve made your decision, bring your child in for a visit. At this point, you can say to your child, “This is your new school!” All that being said, it often happens that when a child comes with her parents, she will disappear into the classroom and begin happily working away with the assistance of our teachers, leaving parents to get their questions answered.
When should I start thinking about school for my child?
January! We start children when they are 3 years old and the school year always starts in September. Figure out in what year your child will be 3 years old by September (or at the latest, by the end of October) and call us in January. In other words, if your child will be 3 by September 2019, call us in January 2019 about enrollment for the following school year. If that time has already passed, just give us a call and we’ll see if we have a spot for your child. We typically fill up by June for the following school year but don’t let that scare you. Being in a military area, plans change, people move, a spot might open up!
What special programs do you offer?
Summer School – https://ckmontessori.com/summer-school/
Music lessons and Sign Language – https://ckmontessori.com/preparing-your-child-for-school/#jump-weekly-schedule and https://ckmontessori.com/what-makes-us-unique/
Cultural lessons – https://ckmontessori.com/what-makes-us-unique/
Do you offer a military discount?
We cannot afford to offer a military discount at this time. However, we do offer flexibility with the deposit for our military families. We understand that being in the service means that you might have to move in the middle of the school year. With plenty of notice, we will be able to refund your normally non refundable deposit.
Do you offer a sibling discount?
We do not. The truth is simply that we keep our prices as low as we can for all students while still being able to maintain a beautiful school with well qualified (and happy) teachers. Siblings do get priority in registering for a new year however, which comes in handy since we often fill up early!
Can I pay with credit card?
No, sorry. Credit card and PayPal would still be an expensive avenue for the school. We do our tuition through Automatic Withdrawal every month. This process is done directly through the banks so it’s super easy for everybody. If you ever need to make other arrangements please just let us know.
Do you have a dress code?
No. Our only request is that your child comes ‘clean and healthy’ (Dr. Montessori’s words). One of the main things that we encourage on a daily basis with our kids is independence. We want to teach your children to learn to do things for themselves. Dressing themselves is a sign of independence! Please don’t ever be embarrassed if your child comes to school in her princess dress or has mixed stripes and plaids! We love it! When we see this we know that you are also encouraging your child to make his own choices.
That being said, you probably don’t want to send your child to school in his fanciest clothes because we paint, color, pour water, play in the dirt, etc. While our art materials are always washable, we’d hate to have your favorite outfit ruined.
Once a year, in the fall we do bring in a photographer to take pictures. Feel free to bring out the nicer clothes on that day if you want. We’ll give you plenty of notice and we’ll put the paint away that day!
Is my child really ready for 4 days / week?
Yes! Since young children prefer a set schedule and routine, it’s better that they come several days in a row (as opposed to T-Th or M-W-F). Much more learning can occur when there is consistency. You will see that you child will appreciate knowing that it is ‘the school week’ and then ‘the weekend’.
What do you do for snack? On most days, we offer corn tortilla chips and water as a ‘help yourself’ snack. Children serve themselves if and when they’re hungry and wash
up their cup when they’re done. Many times (usually once a week) we offer a snack that will advance your child’s ‘kitchen skills’. Mini Pizzas, cheese and crackers, cereal with milk, banana slicing, etc. are just a few examples.
One day per week is ‘group snack’ day which often coincides with a student’s birthday. You can read about that here:
Do kids sit and eat snack all day?
LOL! No. Children generally will not eat past the point of being full. If we do notice ‘over indulgence’ we will limit their intake by telling them that they need to choose a work in between each snack helping. Once they get back to work, they are usually distracted and it’s not a problem.
What about allergies?
We keep a current allergy list in our ‘kitchen area’. If your child has food allergies, you may bring in a ziploc bag with special snacks. We can serve this snack to your child daily if he is allergic to corn tortilla chips OR we can serve him his special snack if there is a group snack that has something that he is allergic to. Our teaching assistants are highly in tune with who cannot have what.
How can I get my child ready for school?
In addition, please put your child’s car seat on the right side of the car. As you pull up, the teachers will easily be able to un/buckle your child’s car seat straps.
Outside Time – Why don’t you have more outside time?
You pay us to educate your child. While we believe strongly in the advantages of playing outside, we also respect the fact that you expect us to be using our trained teachers and classroom materials to advance your child academically! We only have your child for 2 ½ hours / day. A playground is something that you can provide outside of school hours!
Good point, why should I pay you to let my child play outside at all?
While our outside area does have a play gym, most everything else makes up an outdoor classroom. Children learn to pour water, garden, dig, negotiate, use funnels, weave, measure, use resources (rain barrel), etc. Lots of people skills are learned while ‘playing outside, too; negotiating, planning, sharing, etc.
How is tuition collected?
How does the deposit work?
What is your policy on giving you notice that my child will not be returning to school?
Please give us as much notice as you can. It’s always better for us if you can at least finish out a month. Please note that you will not receive your deposit back if you leave in the middle of the year. (The exception would be for military transfers.)
OK, we are registered! Now what?
How do I know what my child is doing every day?
While we may see you every day at the car, there isn’t enough time then to ask the teacher for a complete rundown on your child’s day. You can ask your child leading questions such as;
- What was your favorite work today?
- Who did you work with (or sit by at circle)?
- Did you learn about something special at circle today?
- What will you do tomorrow?
Please know that a 3 year old is not always able to verbalize or even have a good memory of all the things that s/he did for the last 2 ½ hours. You’ll see some of his work come home in his take home bag but this work is not at all representative of all that he has done during the week. We have so many materials that have manipulatives and you will not see this in the take home bag, of course. If you have concerns or our very curious, you may make use of our open door policy and visit or you may email or text the teacher and she will get back to you as soon as she can (usually within 24 hours). We conduct conferences in the fall with everyone but are able to conference as needed anytime during the school year.
Speaking of visiting!
Our open door policy is a wonderful thing! However, it’s best if you give us some time in September to get into our groove. Your child needs time to make the classroom HERS! When you visit after a few weeks, she’ll be SO proud to show you everything that she loves to do.
How can I help?
There are always things to do if you would like to volunteer. There are readers to listen to, paper to cut, masters to photocopy, etc. If you have time and would like to help us out, we can schedule a weekly time or you can just come in once in awhile, when you have a few minutes.
Do I have to help?
Nope! You most certainly do not. The way that you can help most might be to go home and take a nap! J We understand!! Been there, done that!
When is the first day of school?
We always start school on the Wednesday after Labor Day. The day before that (Tuesday) we have an Open House time for new students so that your child can see his classroom and meet his teacher. You will receive information about the Open House via a text message in August. You can also check our calendar here:
I just know my child will cry when I try to drop him off on his first day. What should I do and how do you handle that? Know that we have extra personnel on hand for the first few days of school. We will hold your child, read to her and/or provide her comfort until she is settled. Once your child is ok, we will try to text you a picture so that you can feel at ease. Read this article for more information.
Do I need to call if my child will not be at school?
You really don’t need to. It doesn’t hurt to let us know, but at this age if a child doesn’t show up we can pretty much assume that he is still with you. If your child is gone for a few days in a row please do let us know so that we don’t worry. Our new texting system makes it easy to let your teacher know!
Do I need to call if my child will be late?
No. You will need to park, however, and walk your child in.
Should I get to school early?
Actually, please don’t, at least not too early… Because of the fact that we have 72 cars in all coming in and out for drop off and pick up, we want to make the process flow as best as possible. Each class is offset by 15 minutes in order to accommodate this many cars. The teachers come out to the cars at 5 minutes before class starts and are typically finished by 5 minutes after class starts. The same rule applies to pick up times. Please try your best to be no more than 5 minutes early or late. If you are earlier or later than 5 minutes, you will need to park so as to not interrupt the flow of traffic from another class
My child is signed up for group snack. What do I need to know?
Please plan for 18 kids unless otherwise noted by your child’s teacher. Please make an attempt to make your snack ‘nut free’ but don’t worry too much about other allergies because we take care of that here. Involve your child when you pick out the snack (as much as within reason!) J He will love to contribute to the process. You can send along a drink for each child but if you don’t, we’ll be happy to give the kids water. Keep in mind that it’s not lunch – don’t stress – it can be as simple as a box of granola bars. For more info, check our ‘weekly schedule’ page:
I heard that I can come in for birthday circle. What time should I get there?
Teachers typically clean up for birthday snack and birthday circle about 45 minutes before the class is scheduled to end. That’s a good time for you to come in. You may bring in photos of your child when s/he was a newborn, at age 1, age 2, etc. We will show these pictures during her birthday circle and you can celebrate her growth with us! For more info, check our ‘weekly schedule’ page:
What should I know about coming in to visit my child in school?
The best way to observe in a Montessori classroom is to do just that – observe! Please remember that the Montessori system is based on the child’s natural draw towards works that will engage their mind best. Do your best to trust us, trust the Montessori system and trust your child! The best thing for you to do is observe what your child is choosing to do. You may join in with him but please do not put pressure on your child by choosing something for him to show you. This is HIS classroom. Trust that your child, with appropriate help from his trained teacher, is working through the curriculum in an appropriate order and at an appropriate pace.
More tips here on visiting a Montessori classroom:
Key words –In the classroom we call all of the activities ‘works’, not ’toys’. Along the same line, we say that the children are ‘working’, not ‘playing’. “A child’s work is to learn.” (Maria Montessori)
Please do not ever interrupt a child who is concentrating – not even to tell him that you like what he is doing. We want to allow our children to concentrate as long as possible on their work because this increases their attention spans… and let’s face it, that’s good for everyone!
When a child shows you something that she did, try and avoid straight compliments such as, “That’s so beautiful!” (Yeah, this one is super hard!) A phrase that turns it back on how the child feels about her work or the process of doing it is much better. A few examples of great reactions in a Montessori classroom are, “It looks like you worked really hard on that!”, “Look at all of those colors you used!”, or “You should see the smile on your face! You look so proud of your work!” (You can even send her into the bathroom to look in the mirror with that last one so she can actually see the pride on her face.) Statements like these put the attention back onto the child and the process, not the end product. We want the children to take pride in what they do, enjoy what they do, and not make things for the sake of getting a compliment from somebody else. Shouldn’t we all be a little more like that?
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