Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a Montessori education unique?
One of the goals of a Montessori education is to help children understand, and achieve their full potential. The child’s social and emotional self is considered to be just as important as the cognitive component, and to this end, Montessori teachers are trained to observe each child closely; how they interact with the materials, with the environment and their relationships with their peers. Ideally children are taught by the same teacher for a three year cycle, which enables the teacher to wholly understand all aspects of the child; who they are, how they learn, what their strengths and challenges are. Children are curious learners, eager to acquire knowledge, and are capable of taking charge of their learning experience if they are provided with the tools and an environment that invites and challenges them to explore. Developmentally specific Montessori materials are presented in carefully prepared lessons by the teacher to individual students, or in small groups. Children collaborate on projects and research topics that capture their interest in the areas of mathematics, literacy, botany, history, zoology, earth sciences and culture. Children in Montessori environments are completely engaged in the learning experience, absorbed in their work, enthusiastic about school and confident in their interactions with others.
The MMS classrooms look peaceful and quiet. What kind of child is a good fit for your school?
Our welcoming, intimate classroom environments help children to comfortably socialize and readily forge friendships, whether they tend to be quiet and reserved or vivacious and animated. The classroom activities are structured to bring children together regularly in pairs or groups, both large and small. You are just as likely to see a child quietly reading in the book corner, as a group eagerly discussing their trip to Black Rock Forest. Our peaceful environments are a happy, inviting place where children are completely absorbed in the activities they choose to pursue. The children are respectful of their community and use quiet voices so as not to disturb their friends who are engaged in activities around them. Children who are social and outgoing usually delight in our friendly, mixed age classrooms, where they can offer guidance to younger children and reach out for help from the older ones. Children who maybe start out being quiet and shy, often find themselves drawn out by their older classmates, who help and guide them through their school day.
What is the reason for three-year age groups in the classroom?
The mixed-aged classes offer many benefits to the child. First, the younger children benefit from the example set by the older children, both academically and socially. The children learn from each other and learn to respect each other’s capabilities and learning styles. The older children benefit from assuming a leadership role in their class, helping the younger ones and sharing their knowledge. They develop a deeper sense of their personal journey by observing and recalling their own evolution in the classroom. The children develop a deep sense of community by spending three years in the same class. Finally, the mixed ages allow for small-group lessons that are geared to abilities, and recognize that each child develops at his or her own pace. Children develop a strong bond with the community of teachers and peers they spend three years with.
What is the advantage for my family of being part of a smaller school community?
At MMS, your child, and your family benefit from being part of a close community of like minded individuals. Our Head of School knows, and greets each child as they start their day at school. Communication between home and school is frequent and comprehensive, and because children typically spend a three year cycle with the same teachers, they are known on a deeper level both cognitively and socially/emotionally. Experienced teaching faculty devises development goals and establishes a program that is tailored to the needs of each child. This is possible because of the three year cycle in a class, as well as the student teacher ratio. With our smaller size, MMS is uniquely situated to understand, nurture, and develop each child to his or her full potential.
What programs are offered for the 3 to 6 age group?
- 3 and 4 year olds attend five days a week from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
- Optional Afternoon Program for 3 and 4 year olds from 12:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Kindergarten for 5 year olds from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Early morning drop off (8:00 a.m.) and after school child care (6:00 p.m.) are available as well.
How does MMS prepare its students for their ongoing schools?
MMS graduates have the reputation (among the top middle schools in the city) for not only academic distinction, but also for their well rounded development, social and emotional strength and maturity. They are unusually adaptable, having learned to work well independently and in groups. They have been encouraged to make decisions and appropriate choices from a very young age, which allows them to be flexible problem solvers and out of the box thinkers. Our graduates are successful in their ongoing schools because they have a solid foundation in academic subjects (such as math, literature, writing, and history) and they understand how to ask questions, analyze problems, organize their time and their work, and take pride in the presentation of their ideas. They are curious learners and know how to ask the “big” questions and where to seek the answers. MMS alums attend some of the most demanding schools in the city.