Common Questions about Montessori

When should we begin looking for a preschool?

It’s never too early to look. Many of the materials in our classroom are designed to appeal to the needs of children who begin attendance between the ages of 2½ and 3½. Enrolling at this age provides the optimal preschool experience for your child. Initiating the enrollment process before your child is 2½ years old maximizes the likelihood of space availability at this prime age.

What separates Montessori from other approaches?

Montessori education is driven by a child’s interests and developmental needs. These vary from child to child and from moment to moment. When a child is allowed to choose their own activities and pursue them until they are satisfied, they often become so fully engaged that they lose the sense of time and place. 

Montessori classrooms are designed to support children in the development of focus and concentration on a task. This leads to the ability to self-regulate, possibly the most important skill in creating one’s own success in life. Studies show that the development of self-regulation is best achieved before the age of 6, 

What is a typical day like in your classroom?

As the children arrive in the morning, they are greeted by a teacher at the classroom door Upon entering the classroom, the children greet their classmates and then choose an activity. Children often engage in individual and small group work.  

During the morning period, one teacher observes the children, taking notes on what each child has chosen to do and assisting children who need help while the head teacher spends the morning giving individual lessons. Sometime during the morning, we spend time outdoors (in all kinds of weather).  At times, if the weather is particularly foul, we may remain indoors. 

We usually have a short group time at the end of the morning during which we do a variety of activities – singing, sharing true stories, reading books or poems, presenting grace and courtesy lessons, group movement activities, or learning something interesting about the culture we are studying. The children are free to come to the group activity or continue in individual work. 

The younger children depart at noon. 

The older children then have lunch and go back to their individual activities, including the option for outdoor play. Full-day children are dismissed at 3 pm.

Don’t the children in a Montessori classroom miss out on social development?

Actually, they are in a more meaningful social situation in a Montessori classroom than they are likely to find elsewhere. In going about their daily activities in the classroom, they meet and talk with one another, discuss common problems, correct each other’s mistakes, answer questions, borrow and lend, and help each other in many ways. They will often spontaneously form into groups to carry out a task together. 

Don’t children in a Montessori classroom have too much freedom and little discipline?

The children are free to move around and choose the activities that interest them (provided the child has been presented with a lesson on the material). They are then free to use the materials as long as they wish and return them to the shelf when they are done. Within this freedom to choose are three basic rules that guide the child’s “freedom” in a Montessori classroom:

  1. The child may not disturb other children
  2. The child must treat the materials with respect
  3. The child may only take materials from the shelf, not from another child

These ‘freedoms within limits’ provide structure and support – honoring the individual child’s ability to choose how they focus their energies, but guiding them to do it in a disciplined manner.

I have heard that children often repeat the same activity over and over again. Why?

Children enjoy repetition because it addresses one of the basic needs of humans: the desire to gain mastery over their movements, to refine and perfect them. Young children are building their understanding of their environment. By repeating an activity they solidify their understanding of their environment. In addition, repetition provides the opportunity to predict an outcome and  check the accuracy of their prediction, while perfecting both fine and gross motor skills.

Can I come see the classroom?

We invite interested parents to schedule a visit to our school. Once enrolled, parents are encouraged to come in and observe the children in the classroom.  Observations begin in October for enrolled families.

Won’t my child have difficulty adjusting to another setting after attending a Montessori school?

Generally speaking, a Montessori classroom offers children the opportunity to develop all aspects of their personality. This breadth of opportunity during these formative years positions them to adapt more readily to a new environment, whether that is a Montessori elementary classroom or a public school classroom.

How does the school support parents?

The school offers parent workshops, which provide an important connection between school and home.  These workshops help parents to understand what we do in the classroom to meet a child’s needs and what parents can do in the home as part of their vital role in the education process.

We also periodically sent school newsletters to parents via email. Parents are invited to send our staff articles of interest, Montessori-related news items, announcements of a general nature, and news or reports from school committees for additions to the newsletter.

Do parents have to volunteer at the school?

Each family is expected to provide 15 hours of volunteer parent participation each year for the school. Family support in meeting the needs of the school provides benefits to both the school and the community of families at the school. Ultimately, the children reap the biggest benefits of all. 

If families are unable to volunteer, they may opt to pay $225 in exchange for those hours, or $15 per hour for the balance of hours not completed. 

Do you do fundraisers?

Each year, the families organize and conduct at least one fundraiser to augment our program. Our fundraisers are an opportunity to come together as a community, become acquainted with other families, and enhance our school.

Do you require a tuition deposit?

To ensure a child’s place in the school, a tuition deposit of one month’s tuition must be paid in advance of enrollment.  This does not pay the first month’s tuition and will be refunded when the student graduates or withdraws with all accounts paid in full. 

For two or more children in one family, only one monthly deposit is required, that of the family’s highest tuition rate. This deposit is retained in the treasury during the summer months to ensure the child’s place in the class for the fall.

What is the Tuition Payment Policy?

Tuition at Philomath Montessori School is based on an annual tuition charge for all programs.  Tuition may be paid in full, in advance, or monthly. Tuition is not prorated for absences, illnesses, vacations, etc. Tuition is invoiced monthly in advance by email and is due and payable to the school on the first school day of each month.

Do you offer scholarships or tuition assistance?

As part of our commitment to education, Philomath Montessori School offers tuition assistance to families in need.  Tuition Assistance funds come from the fundraising activities of current families, alumni, and voluntary contributions from school supporters.  The amount available is limited and uncertain.  If you would like your child/children to attend or to continue attending Philomath Montessori School and believe it is not within your financial means, you may be eligible for tuition assistance. Please email the school to request a Tuition Assistance application.  The deadline for submitting a tuition assistance application is May 15th.

What is your withdrawal policy?

When withdrawing a child during the school year, parents must notify the school in writing at least 30 days before the first day of the month of the withdrawal. The last date for withdrawal during the school year is April 1. If withdrawing an enrolled child before the school year starts, notice must be given in writing by July 15; withdrawals after that date may forfeit their deposits unless a replacement student is found.