Frequently Asked Questions!
1. Are Montessori programs limited to preschool children?
While the majority of Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs exist for children ages 18 months to 14 years. Currently our school houses students from 18 months through 6th grade.
2. Do Montessori methods work best for special learners--the gifted or the learning-disabled?
The methods used in Montessori schools are highly effective with both learning-disabled and gifted learners; the reason for their effectiveness, however, is that the learning environments have been designed to ensure success for all children.
3. I have heard that children in Montessori classrooms are relatively unsupervised and are allowed to "do whatever they want." How true is this?
Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If a child is being destructive or is using materials in an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material. In the elementary classroom, teachers keep a daily log of each student's progress and are able to redirect activities very easily in order to meet curriculum requirements.
4. Are Montessori classrooms too structured?
Although the teacher is careful to make clear the specific purpose of each material and to present activities in a clear, step-by-step order, the child is free to choose from a vast array of activities and to discover new possibilities. However, please see the response to question 3 regarding "aimless" use of materials.
5. Are Montessori schools religious in nature?
The Okemos Radmoor Montessori school is not affiliated with any religious organization. Although many private American Montessori schools do have a religious orientation, Montessori itself is not religiously oriented and finds itself quite at home in public settings where religious instruction is inappropriate.
6. Are Montessori schools only for the rich?
This misconception is due to the fact that the American Montessori movement that began in the 1950s was primarily a private preschool movement, supported by tuition. Now, however, Montessori education is available at approximately 200 public schools in the U.S., in addition to about 3,000 private schools.
7. Is Montessori some type of cult?
Montessori is part of the educational mainstream, as evidenced by growing numbers of graduate-level programs in Montessori education (such as those at Cleveland State University and Loyola College of Maryland) and the increasing popularity of Montessori in the public schools. There is absolutely no relationship to any type of cult!
8. Are Montessori methods incompatible with fantasy; thereby stifling children's natural creativity?
The fact is that the freedom of the prepared environment encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. While teacher-directed fantasy is discouraged, fantasy play initiated by the child is viewed as healthy and purposeful. In addition, art and music activities are integral parts of the Montessori classroom.
9. Do Montessori classrooms push children too far too fast?
Central to the Montessori philosophy is the idea of allowing each child to develop at his or her own, individual pace. The "miracle" stories of Montessori children far ahead of traditional expectations for their age level reflect not artificial acceleration but the possibilities open when children are allowed to learn at their own pace in a scientifically prepared environment.
10. Isn't Montessori out of date?
While appropriate changes have been made to the original Montessori curriculum (including the introduction of computers and modifications to the Practical Life exercises to keep them culturally relevant), the basic pedagogy has not changed much since Dr. Montessori's death in 1952. Contemporary research and evaluation, however, seem to be confirming Montessori's insights.
11. Once I am accepted into the program, do I automatically get a slot in before and after Child Care?
If you need before and after child care a $25.00 per session deposit is required as the same time you pay the $200.00 deposit. The returning parents are given priority. Any additional slots will be available to new parents entering the school. Deposits are not refundable unless the school does not have space in our before and after care programs.
12) Does my child need to be potty trained to start at the school?
In the primary community (3-6 year olds), the children do need to be able to go to the bathroom independently. In the toddler community your child is not expected to be toilet trained.