What is the best age to start my child in a Montessori program?

The best opportunity to start your child at Children’s Circle Montessori School is between 18-24 months. We will only accept children into our Primary 1 program (children 18 months-3 years old) if we will have a spot available for them in the Primary 2 program when they are 3 years old. Many times all of our enrollment spots for the Primary 2 program are taken by children transitioning from our Primary 1 program. For this reason we have very limited spots for a child almost 3 or already 3 years old. 

How can I identify an authentic Montessori program?

A Montessori program should have a Montessori trained head teacher at each age group. At Children’s Circle we have 4 Montessori certified teachers for our two classrooms. In addition to certified teachers, there should be a full complement of Montessori materials in the Primary 2 classroom and appropriate Montessori activities in the Primary 1 classroom. 

Why does Montessori have mixed age groups in their classrooms?

The Montessori classroom, with a mixed-age environment, was designed to have children participate in various stages of development. When children first enter a Montessori classroom, they are effectively the youngest children. They learn from their older peers, as the peers serve as role models, mentors and helpers, remembering what it was like to have once been the youngest. Having the opportunity to exercise leadership skills provides valuable life lessons. This is also why we ask parents for a 3 year commitment in our 3-6 classroom. It is the only way they can experience all the stages of growth from the youngest in the classroom to the oldest. 

What is the difference between traditional preschool and a Montessori program?

In most preschools, the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In a Montessori program, the children work at their own pace, independently learning concepts from multi-sensory materials designed for self-correction and physical exploration. The children in a Montessori program have a wide range of materials that they can choose to work with at their own interest and pace. In a traditional preschool children are often limited by the materials available and their group as they are often all taught the same concept at the same time. 

Do children get to socialize with each other or only work alone?

Socialization is very much a part of our Montessori classrooms. You will notice children interacting continuously: younger children are inspired to do more advanced work by observing and learning from older ones, and older children learn through teaching and helping younger ones. Daily the classroom community comes together to sing and read stories. Lessons in grace and courtesy, an important component to building the classroom community, are often given in small or large groups. A Montessori classroom has often been described as a “natural social setting,” with children free to interact with one another. 

How can parents be involved?

At Children’s Circle Montessori we have parent teacher conferences in the fall and in the spring for each child. We have parent meetings where the parents can learn how to integrate school and home activities and learn more about the Montessori philosophy. Each spring we have a family work day and we have our end of the school picnic. We have a Parents Night in April where parents and grandparents may come to the school with their child to see the work they are doing in the classroom. There is a fall field trip to a pumpkin farm for the Primary 2 community.

How will I know what my child is doing in the classroom?

We do not send home daily notes about what the children are doing because we would need to write each child a separate note. They do so many things each day we would not be able to note them all! We do encourage parents to schedule a classroom observation after their child has adjusted to the school so they can watch their child interact with the environment and the other children. Parents are welcome to contact their child’s teacher anytime by email or text to ask questions. Parent teacher conferences in the fall and in the spring give parents and a teacher time to visit about each child and ask questions. 

What discipline method do you use?

Because self-discipline is an integral part of the Montessori classroom, disciplinary measures rarely need to be taken. Logical consequences, or redirection into new work is most often the answer. We do not use time outs or have a time out place. We do sometimes remove a child from the group to let them collect themselves and to talk with them. 

Does my child need to be toilet trained?

Children do not need to be toilet trained to begin in our toddler classroom. We do begin the process of toilet training right at the age of 2. Children do need to be independent using the toilet to transfer or begin in our 3-6 classroom.