Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the size of a Montessori class?
A. Children range in age from 2.9 to 6 years. The class size is 20 with a Guide and Assistant Teacher. We encourage interactions between age groups, a hallmark of the Montessori philosophy. Often you will observe older child helping a younger child, or a younger child modeling their behavior after an older peer.
Q. Are all Montessori programs the same?
A. No, programs are defined by their accreditation. There are AMI, (Association Montessori Internationale), AMS, (American Montessori Society) and programs that may integrate some Montessori principles within their own philosophy.
Q. What does it mean to be a three year program?
A. We believe according to the Montessori principles that children need a Primary Program that involves three years’ experience in the Casa. This allows the children to grow and develop utilizing the full array of materials designed by Maria Montessori.
Q. Do young children need to be toilet-trained?
A. Yes, children need to be toilet-trained before entering.
Q. Do you offer art and music?
A. Children are given opportunities to learn musical notation, singing, and experience with the bells. Music history and appreciation is also a part of each Casa. Art materials are available in the classroom to motivate individual expression. There are no special classes for art and music. The children experience artistic expression within the daily three hour work cycle.
Q. Do you offer before/after school child care?
A. We do not provide child care but do offer a number of different classes including Sports, Art, Dance and Violin throughout the year after 3:00.
Q. What can I expect in terms of communication from the school?
A. There are two regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences each year. In the event of special concerns, the Directress will contact you to discuss and plan home/school strategies. We also provide a Parent Speaker Series, and our Thursday REDS newsletter to provide parenting strategies and updates on the events at school.
Q. What is the school's most basic expectation of families?
A. REDS is an early childhood school developed with the principles of the Association Montessori Internationale, (AMI) and Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophical tenets. We strive to assist families to learn about the Montessori approach during the Admissions process. In this way each family will be able to make an informed decision. We recognize that families who understand and embrace the mission of the school are integral to our community.
Q. How can I create consistency between home and school?
A. The more you can learn about the Montessori philosophy and principals the more you will be able to apply these to the preparation of your home environment. The most important principle, “Never do something for your child that he can for himself.” Children develop a love of learning and become responsible, independent and capable when home expectations and values are consistent with those at school.
Q. What are my responsibilities regarding communication between home and school?
A. In order to stay informed it is important to read all communications from school. It is also important to keep the Directress informed of any pertinent changes in your child’s life. Maintaining respectful, two-way communication is most important.
Q. Where did Montessori come from?
A. The Montessori Philosophy and Pedagogy was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. Her scientific observations led her to design a “prepared environment” where children could independently choose from a number of “works” and materials.
Q. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
A. The Montessori Program emphasizes learning through all five senses. Children learn at their own, individual pace. Learning becomes an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline and a love for learning. The Montessori education represents an entirely different approach.
Q. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
A. Many research studies have indicated that Montessori children are well prepared for later life in all areas, academically, socially, and emotionally. Children develop above average abilities in following directions, listening attentively, showing responsibility, showing enthusiasm for learning and adapting to new situations.
Q. Why is there no opportunity for pretend play?
A. During Dr. Montessori’s observations she noted that children were not interested in pretend play things but rather wanted to engage in the real world and perform real tasks that offered challenge and true satisfaction.
Q. Who accredits Montessori schools?
A. REDS is accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale, (AMI). Specific principles are adhered to and recognized as integral to the quality of the program. REDS is also accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, (NYSAIS).
Q. What is the three hour work cycle?
A. The three hour work cycle offers the child an opportunity for uninterrupted work time. Dr. Montessori's years of observation led her to believe that the development of a child's ability to focus and concentrate could best be cultivated through an uninterrupted three hour work cycle.
Q. What special training do Montessori teachers have?
A. As an accredited school through the Association Montessori Internationale, (AMI) the teachers receive intensive training in AMI teaching centers. This important training provides the principles of child development, the Montessori philosophy as well as specific uses of the Montessori classroom materials. This training is in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree and most often a Master’s Degree.
Q. Are there specific and different materials used in a Montessori classroom?
A. There are a number of very special materials used in the classroom. Sensorial, math, language and cultural materials are all presented carefully by the Directress to provide the child with specific directions in their usage.