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1. HOW DOES THE BETH MONTESSORI CURRICULUM COMPARE TO THAT OF PUBLIC OR TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS?
Beth Montessori not only covers the standard, state-required curriculum, but also provides children with the tools and opportunities to learn much, much more. The children have limitless opportunities to learn how the universe and its components work, and are encouraged to explore in great depth and through hands on experiences the topics which are of interest to them. Beth Montessori is also unique in that it includes a Judaic component to this experience, enriching your child's understanding and appreciation of the Jewish culture and traditions. Additionally, the Montessori experience focuses on the development of the whole child - in addition to a solid academic foundation, the children develop important attributes such as a love of learning, independence and responsibility, collaborative skills, grace and courtesy, confidence, and the knowledge that they can contribute meaningfully to society.
2. ARE ALL MONTESSORI SCHOOLS ALIKE?
No. Unfortunately, since the name "Montessori" has no copyright, any school can call itself a Montessori school. Thus, schools vary in their knowledge of and adherence to Montessori principles. Beth Montessori adheres to the principles of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) which is an organization dedicated to sustaining the integrity of Maria Montessori's work, insuring that the Montessori philosophy and principles are followed as Dr. Montessori had intended. To insure this high standard of educational philosophy, Beth Montessori's staff is all trained in AMI.
3. WHAT HAPPENS TO CHILDREN WHO TRANSFER FROM THE MONTESSORI PRIMARY PROGRAM TO A PUBLIC OR TRADITIONAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
The transfer from Montessori is usually fairly smooth. The actual time needed to transition will depend greatly on your child's adaptability to new situations. But the Primary program gives your child the tools and reasoning skills that will then facilitate their adjustment into any new environment. It is highly recommended though, that Montessori children transfer only after they complete the full Primary level (which is a three-year period, ages 3-6).
4. WHY SHOULD THE PRIMARY LEVEL BE THREE YEARS LONG?
Children in the Montessori system remain in the same classroom for a period of three years. This is done for two reasons: (1) The Montessori curriculum is structured over the three year period, advancing and progressing with the child's age and ability; each year builds on the other as it takes three years to complete the whole curriculum. The third year is particularly important as it is the culmination of the first two years. (2) It is recommended that a child remain in the same classroom and with the same teacher for the three years in order to facilitate your child's adjustment; each year they will find themselves in a familiar environment with a person they already trust and will thus conserve the energy they would otherwise spend on adjusting to a new environment, and use that energy for growing and learning instead.
5. DOES YOUR PRIMARY PROGRAM COVER A KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM?
Yes. The Primary program not only covers a Kindergarten curriculum but also manages to cover certain concepts that go far beyond Kindergarten level. The very hands on materials allow the children to explore and experience very advanced concepts in a very concrete form, allowing them to understand many concepts that are often covered much later in their educational career. In addition to this, the third year in the Primary program (which would parallel a child's Kindergarten year) is the most important year in the three-year period. It is in this third year that we see the culmination of the first two years of work and experience. Since each year builds on the other, and each year prepares them for the next; it is in this last year that everything they have learned up till then comes together, as the child draws many connections and becomes aware of the incredible abilities they have acquired through the years.
6. WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THE MULTI-AGE CLASSROOM?
The multi-age grouping of having 3 to 6 year olds in the same Primary classroom is an essential component of Montessori education. Five and six year olds are the classroom leaders and act as role models. The younger children are interested in learning and emulating the older children and so they look up to and are often motivated by the older children. The younger children have a great opportunity to learn from their peers, who often have a lot to offer. The older children are able to reinforce what they have learned by giving lessons to the younger children. The older children therefore develop a sense of confidence and competence in knowing that they have already mastered certain abilities that the younger ones are still developing. It gives the older children great satisfaction in knowing they can help others, while giving the younger children a sense of belonging and attention. The multi-age classroom allows a more dynamic social interaction and the result is a communal sense of caring and respect for each other.
7. HOW IS CLASS PLACEMENT DETERMINED?
The Director and the teachers determine the best placement for each child. We consider the needs of balancing the existing classroom community as well as meeting the needs of each individual child. Several factors that are relevant in having a balanced classroom include: gender, age, temperament, learning style and class dynamic. It is also recommended that siblings be placed in different classrooms. Once your child is placed in a classroom, it is recommended that he/she remain in the same classroom for three years.
8. IS THERE TOO MUCH STRUCTURE IN A MONTESSORI CLASSROOM?
No. There is order in the classroom, but NOT orders. The orderly external environment helps young children construct the "inner" order that they seek and need. Initially, the classroom Guides give clear and detailed lessons on how to use each new material or activity when they see that a child is ready for that introduction. However, as children experience more and more materials and activities, they are free to choose from the entire array and to discover new possibilities. This freedom to choose is of course governed and balanced by classroom rules, which create a certain level of structure, but this structure is there to provide order and predictability that in turn helps the children feel secure.
9. DOES MONTESSORI EDUCATION PUSH CHILDREN ACADEMICALLY?
No. Montessori philosophy supports following the child, allowing each child to develop at his/her own pace. Stories of Montessori children being far ahead of their peers do not reflect an artificial acceleration; it reflects a possibility when children are allowed to follow their interests in a specially designed environment.
10. DOES THE FREEDOM THAT THE MONTESSORI METHOD ALLOWS THE CHILD LEAD TO CHAOS IN THE CLASSROOMS?
No. Freedom of choice, movement, and speech are not a recipe for chaos when children are in a supportive, child-centered environment that engages them in interesting learning. The children learn self-discipline, as well as a respect for others, their environment and the learning materials as a part of being in the classroom community. Furthermore, the younger children enter a classroom with a culture already in place because there are older children in their second and third years who have already established a peaceful and cooperative dynamic. The younger children absorb and emulate the behavior and culture of the older children.
11. HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD AT HOME?
Beth Montessori encourages parents to show respect for their children and to model respect toward others. Love your child, support your child's growing independence, listen to your child, involve your child in your daily life activities (cooking, cleaning, etc.), provide order and routine, and read to your child. Come to Parent Education events, schedule classroom observations, attend Parent-Teacher conferences, and read Montessori books, so that you can be better informed about your child's day. You also can support your child's educational experience by adopting Montessori methods of speaking to your child and using Montessori methods for developing a "prepared environment" at home.
12. WHY SHOULD MY CHILD ATTEND A FULL DAY PRIMARY (INSTEAD OF A HALF DAY)?
The Full-Day option offers Primary children a consistent and familiar afternoon in their Montessori classroom where they extend their opportunity to reach their fullest potential -- intellectually, socially, and personally (physically, creatively, and emotionally). For example, a child that requires more repetition to master a task, has more opportunity to repeat his work and gain that mastery; a child that masters tasks more easily, has the opportunity to move on to more advanced materials. Further, all the children grow emotionally and socially from their greater interaction in their classroom community.
13. WHY DO WE ONLY OFFER A 5-DAY PROGRAM?
The Montessori philosophy promotes consistency and order and therefore believes that children need a consistent and orderly routine, which in turn gives them a sense of predictability and security. In addition, consecutive days facilitate the teacher's need to follow through or follow up on an individual child's progress in a particular area or lesson. In short, consecutive and consistent daily attendance will allow your child to progress and benefit more from the learning opportunities that are presented there, as well as provide them with a send of security and predictability.
14. DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BE TOILET TRAINED?
Depends on the program. If your child is in the Toddler Component, they do not need to be Toilet Trained. As a matter of fact, Toilet Training is supported and guided in the Toddler Component, especially because it is a prerequisite for the Primary program. To enter the Primary program, your child should be Toilet Trained. Having a Toilet Trained child in the Primary is important for two reasons: (1) If a child has control and awareness of his bodily functions, it generally means they are developmentally ready and mature for the Primary environment and will be in an age-appropriate context. (2) The Montessori method emphasizes independence and being toilet trained is an important step towards independence. If a child still has accidents or needs to be reminded to go to the bathroom, we are more than happy to offer support and reinforcement, but your child should be toilet trained when they enter the Primary environment. We also understand that there are special cases where a child may be developmentally mature in all areas but that. We are open to work on an individual basis with such cases.
15. DO YOU HAVE A FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM?
No, unfortunately we do not.