Frequently Asked Questions

Please click one of the following Questions to see answers:

 

What is the best way to choose a Montessori school for my child?

Ask what kind of training the teachers have. Visit the school; observe the classroom in action, and later ask the teacher or director to explain the theory behind the activities you saw. Most of all, talk to your child’s prospective teacher about his or her own philosophy of child development and education to see if it is compatible with your own.

Are Montessori children successful later in life?

Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are naked ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.

When should I start my child in Montessori?

Montessori was herself amazed at the abilities of young children two and three years old. In her environments she discovered that they were able to absorb concrete materials using all their senses simultaneously, a unique ability soon lost. She called these times of special absorption “Sensitive Periods”, and developed specific materials for that time. As the child grows these periods change, yet the continuum is set in motion for the rest of the child’s life. Therefore, the early are the most important, yet most neglected in many societies. Starting a child at 6 weeks in a good Montessori environment can have results that will remain with the child all her life.

What is the Montessori Method of Education?

Maria Montessori’s methods of teaching evolved from her observations of the children in her care. She observed that the child absorbs from the environment she is in, and using specially designed materials she was able to call the child’s inner desire to learn. These materials are presented in small groups, frequently on the floor, encouraging individual hands-on participation, and peer problem-solving dialogue. The child is allowed certain freedoms to be independent within the highly sequenced structure of the Montessori Method. Control of error is built into manipulative materials and charts, encouraging self-confidence and independence.

 

Traditional Schools
  • Textbooks, pencil and paper, worksheets and dittos
  • Working and learning without emphasis on social development
  • Narrow, unit-driven curriculum
  • Individual subjects
  • Working and learning without emphasis on social development
  • Block time, period lessons
  • Single-graded classrooms
  • Students passive, quiet, in desks
  • Students fit mold of school
  • Students leave for special help
Montessori Environment
  • Textbooks, pencil and paper, worksheets and dittos
  • Working and learning without emphasis on social development
  • Narrow, unit-driven curriculum
  • Individual subjects
  • Working and learning without emphasis on social development
  • Block time, period lessons
  • Single-graded classrooms
  • Students passive, quiet, in desks
  • Students fit mold of school
  • Students leave for special help
  • Prepared kinesthetic materials with incorporated control of error, specially developed reference materials
  • Working and learning matched to the social development of the child
  • Unified, internationally developed curriculum
  • Integrated subjects and learning based on developmental psychology
  • Uninterrupted work cycles
  • Multi-age classrooms
  • Students active, talking, with periods of spontaneous quiet, freedom to move
  • School meets needs of students
  • Special help comes to students
  • Process-focused assessment, skill checklist, mastery benchmarks

 

What curriculum is in a Montessori class?

Basic subjects such as language, math, history, geography, biology, chemistry, geometry, music, physical education and art are introduced in Montessori classes first in the Toddler to Primary (14 mo- 6yrs) programs. Elementary Students (Youth Club), by nature, want more answers to life’s questions. The “how, where, what, when” questions are expanded into their environment and beyond. They want to classify, group, get control of their world. So the elementary curriculum incorporates that explosion into knowledge from questions with materials that name, classify, and redefine the natural world in which the child has joined. Montessori thought less of her method of teaching as having a curriculum, as following the questions of the child to create individual and group lessons based on where the child is and where the group of children might go. That is not to say that there method is without curriculum, nor that the child does what she wants. Our teaches are arduously trained in methodically sequenced lessons, frequently broken into many passages for children who need that degree of gradual movement form concrete to abstract presentation. These sequences in each subject matter make up, but do not necessarily define, the curriculum. Each new group of students dictates which lessons will be given according to the needs of those individual and collective with the children.

What is the purpose of the Montessori method?

Primarily, the purpose of the Montessori method is to provide an environment where the innate abilities of the child can unfold spontaneously, encouraging the development of the person within, allowing the child to achieve his greatest potential. As the child develops his inner self, a love of life and learning follows naturally.

Why the commitment to remain for kindergarten?

The Montessori primary program is one that builds each year upon the previous year. When a child starts in the class at 3 or 4 years of age he is guided and shepherded not only by his teacher but also by the other children in the class. In the beginning the child appreciates the help and guidance that is offered him. But as he grows a bit older, he starts to aspire to that position of leadership himself. He slowly starts to see himself as capable of offering that help rather than just receiving it. When his last year in the primary finally arrives, he is well aware of his responsibilities and assumes them with joy. All that he has watched his olderclassmates do for two years is now his to do. To the children it is like their senior year in high school. If you understand the Montessori Philosophy and fully appreciate what the program offers the children, this idea is not a difficult one to understand and the commitment is not a difficult one to make.

Why so many children in each class?

This is a matter of philosophy, not economics. If you want children to become resourceful and responsible they must have opportunities to solve their own problems. The more adults in the class, the fewer opportunities for the children. The ratio we adhere to is what is required by the State. It allows children to become independent and self-confident.

How do the children know what to do when?

On a child’s first days of school he is given several lessons each day. Once given a lesson a child may choose that material without asking permission. The materials in a Montessori classroom were initially chosen by trial and error. Only those most interesting to the children were kept in the classrooms. So the children are naturally attracted to what is here. If, however, a child is not working in a particular area, for instance writing, this would be observed by the teacher and she would direct that child to take out writing work. So it is not just “do what you want”.

Why five days per week?

If you want children to develop the qualities of respect, responsibility and resourcefulness they need consistency. They need many opportunities to practice. If they are only coming a few days per week, they do not really feel the classroom is their own. They are only partially attached, and therefore do not develop a strong desire to be responsible for it.

How do you approach discipline?

It is our goals to have children internalize good behavior, not just respond to an adult. To do this we again are focused on respect, responsibility and resourcefulness. But children do not come to us with all of these qualities in place. When a child behaves in a manner that is unacceptable he is held accountable with a logical consequence, one that is related to the misbehavior. For example, if a child chooses a particular material and is using it incorrectly, perhaps even damaging it, he will at first be redirected to use it appropriately. If this does not remedy the problem the child will be told to put the material away and may not be able to use it again for several hours. We do not use time outs. If a child is consistently running in the class endangering himself and others, he might be asked to stay with the teacher or to stay seated at a table. But this problem was related to movement, thus the consequence is restriction of movement. This is not the same as the notion of a time out.

Why do you have mixed age groups?

If you want children to become responsible young adults they must have opportunities to practice at a young age. A mixed age group allows children of different ages and abilities to help each other and thus learn responsibility. In a mixed age class it is not always the teacher who solves problems. In fact more often is not. Instead it is another child. This is not possible in a class with children all of the same age and abilities. Since no two children grow and mature in exactly the same way the materials available to the children are varied and numerous. The proper activity for the right moment is there to be introduced to the child when he is ready or chosen by him as interests dictate. Thus, no child is held back if his skills indicate a need to move on, nor is a child pressured to keep pace with skills he is not yet ready to master. The sensitive periods of each child can be capitalized upon in a multi-age classroom.

How do you make the classrooms so peaceful?

It is our primary to goal to help the children develop the qualities of respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness. This guides every decision we make. If children are not behaving responsibly they are held accountable for their actions. But most notably, Montessori believed, as do we, that this peaceful and selfdirected child is the true child, not the disorderly and defiant child. If children are in an environment of respect and are expected to act respectfully they will follow suit.

What does Sienna have to offer that my child can’t get at other schools?

Sienna Montessori’s approach to education is unique. You will see that the minute you walk into one of our classrooms. The materials used to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, science, music, social studies are all unique to the Montessori classroom. The classroom materials used for our youngest students take abstract ideas and put them in a concrete form that makes sense to these developing minds. Students learn to learn from their peers, and respect their own and each other’s ability to be a teacher as well as a student. Finally, our teachers are primarily observers of their students, stepping in when they see a child is “stuck” or ready to learn a new skill. This allows the children to learn independently, with the guidance and support of our teachers whose primary focus is observing how your child learns, and rapping into those styles and approaches that work best for your child.

Why should you choose Sienna Montessori for child?

Between the ages of birth to six is when most of your child’s intelligence and social characteristics are formed. This is also when your child is most receptive, curious, and excited about exploring the world around him or her. Sienna classrooms nurture that excitement and curiosity by offering a variety of materials to stimulate and intrigue your child. Our teachers are trained to recognize when a child is ready to learn a new skill, and to foster his or her natural instincts and abilities. Your child is valued as an independent thinker, and encouraged to make choices on his own. A Sienna Montessori education provides students of all ages with information in a way they can understand it and enjoy it – learning is fun, empowering, and custom – fit to suit your child’s individual learning style.
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