FAQ About Montessori

1. What is the Montessori method?

Montessori is an alternative educational method based on the findings of Dr. Maria Montessori early in the 1900’s. Essentially, it posits that children can and should be educated in an independent manner. Doing this with the guidance of a teacher and the use of special interactive materials allows children to learn at their own pace and also has the benefit of helping children to be peaceful naturally. Please read more about the Montessori Principles.

2. Is Montessori for all children?

Yes, the Montessori method has been successful with children of different backgrounds around the world for over 100 years. However, there is no one school that is right for all children, and certainly there are children who may do better in a different classroom setting. We welcome parents to observe our classroom and communicate their questions and concerns, before and after enrollment. We always make decisions based on the best interest of each child.

3. How can Montessori teachers meet the needs of so many different children?

Montessori teachers generally present lessons to either small groups of children or one child at one time and limit lessons to brief, clear presentations. As a class becomes settled in the first weeks of the school year, the children return to lessons and become engaged with their own activities and learning more deeply as they learn for themselves.

Montessori teachers closely monitor this progress through record keeping and observation. Because they work with each child for several years, they get to know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, interests and personalities extremely well. Montessori teachers often use the children’s interests to enrich the curriculum and provide alternate avenues for accomplishments and success.

4.  What age is best to start Montessori?

The earliest a child can enter a Montessori environment at eBridge is at 15 months old in a toddler classroom. It is ideal to start children at such a young age for them to have the full benefits of functional independence and choice making.

5. Why mixed age class?

The mixed age group naturally reflects family and community. In a mixed age group environment, children do not just learn from teachers. Young children benefit directly from older students by watching them and getting help from them. Older children establish self-esteem and develop confidence and leadership by sharing their experience and knowledge with young children. Each individual child benefits from being in an environment of multiple abilities and interests.

6. Will the tuition apply to dependent child care credit for tax purpose?

YES.  Our school is licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care as a group child care provider. Children’s tuition is qualified for the dependent child care credit.

7. What is class size?

Each classroom has different adult to student ratios according to the age of the children and the state regulation:

  • Toddler: 1 teacher for every 4 children or 2 teachers for nine children.
  • Primary: 1 teacher for every 10 children
  • Elementary: 1 teacher for up to 20 children

Our primary classes have about 28 to 30 children with one lead teacher and two assistant teachers. This number is reached gradually over the span of 3 years as the class grows. When the head teacher is with the same group of children for three years, she is very familiar with children in the group. This format is specifically established to allow the children to become independent and self-confident.

Our elementary program is currently in its second year of growing up into a mixed age environment. Currently it is staffed by a lead teacher and an assistant teacher.

8. Will my toddler or preschool aged child have to sign up for five days per week?

Yes. All eBridge programs are five days a week. In order for children to develop the qualities of independence, respect, and responsibility they need consistency. They need time to practice, they need to have a sense of ownership of their environment. So, both our full day and half day programs are five days per week. Parents can choose between full day and half day based on their child’s age and their family’s needs.

9. Will my child take a nap at the school?

Yes if your child needs a nap. The School shall ensure that a quiet space and mat are available for any child who rests or takes a nap.There is a detailed description of what to send for your napping child in the parent handbook.

10. Does my child have to be toilet trained?

No. We help children in toilet training at school as part of our curriculum of care for self, care for environment, and refinement of movement. To encourage independence, we ask children wear underwear to school. We work with children and parents in a manner that is consistent with children’s physical and emotional abilities.

11. How do Montessori children adjust to public schools?

Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very independent and can adjust easily to the public school environment. Studies show that Montessori children adjust well and are generally among the better students in public school. They spend their time more productively because of their self-direction and positive attitudes toward learning.

12. Can I do Montessori at home with my child?

We encourage parents to apply Montessori principles of child development at home, complementing your child’s experience in Montessori School.

However, only a certified Montessori teacher can properly implement Montessori education using Montessori materials in the prepared environment. Moreover, the social development that comes from being in an environment with other children is an integral part of Montessori education.

13. Can I get a daily report for my child from Montessori School?

Unlike traditional preschool programs, Montessori programs do not issue daily or weekly reports about a child’s activities.  Instead of a checklist or fill-in-the-blank form, we issue comprehensive progress reports about the child’s development twice a year.

Traditional preschools conduct programs for the entire group and the child’s activities are focused in a small number of areas (e.g.  sand table, art activities, dress up corner).  Montessori programs have hundreds of activities for children to choose on a daily basis.  The entire program is individualized.  Because of the individualized nature, it is impossible to issue a daily or weekly report without sacrificing instruction time in the classroom, and this is not an area we are willing to compromise on.

In the past, parents report that as children feel more comfortable in the classroom, they become much more reliable reporters about their daily activities.  We privately send out online photo albums to parents of the children at work in the classroom on a regular basis.  The photographs show the diversity of activities and are a good way to discuss with your child what he/she does each day.

14. Will you provide a list of all the Montessori materials that my child will work on?

Without the context of AMI’s comprehensive and exhaustive training, a list of materials for its own sake would not be useful to parents. Instead we reflect the concepts that children derive from using the materials through our progress reports and during our parent education sessions.

We understand that it is helpful for parents to get familiar with Montessori materials and make better connection with children at home. If parents are interested in the Montessori materials, we invite parents come to our parent education session, get information available online and in parent-friendly books such as Montessori Madness by Montessori parent Trevor Eissler.

The pictures we send out show most of the materials in use. This is a good starting point for dialogue with your child about what he/she likes to do best at school. We also ask parents to join our parent education sessions to get to know more about Montessori curriculum and materials. If parents have any questions or concerns about what your child is learning, we invite parents to call or set up a face-to-face meeting.