CMH at a Glance (FAQ’s)

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1. How is the Montessori education different from traditional public, private, and parochial programs?

The “whole child” approach makes us special. The primary goal of our program is to help each child reach full potential in all areas of life: physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. Through our carefully prepared environments and the gentle guidance of our teachers, each child experiences the joy of learning and develops the ability to create his or her own knowledge. Graduates leave our school confident and competent to face future educational experiences. Each classroom is a carefully prepared environment that encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. Art and music are integral parts of a Montessori classroom.

2. Where does the CMH curriculum come from?

The curriculum at CMH is based on detailed, developmental continuums of knowledge and skills for each academic area. These continuums have been the basis for Montessori school curriculums – in this country and the world wide – for years. {state curriculum listing}

3. What if my child isn’t a self-directed learner?

All children enter the world as self-directed learners. Some children, do, however, “unlearn” this skill if they are in environments that fail to support it. In our classrooms you will observe children independently choosing from many purposeful activities that teachers place on the shelves. The entire culture of CMH is created to support self-direction and independence. This culture provides lifelong skills for the children. The classroom is structured to lead children to different disciplines and materials in ways that foster the child’s desire to learn independently. Teachers, with low student-teacher ratio, have the time to observe the child to see where to draw out the natural curiosity and encourage self-direction. Other students model the self-directed behaviors and help classmates who may struggle with this in the beginning.

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4. Does CMH offer early bird and after school care?

CMH offers an “extended school day” that can accommodate working families. Children can arrive as early as 7:00 in the morning before school starts at 8:35. Children who stay past the regular school day of 3:00 PM have the option of doing after school enrichment immediately following the school day or going to aftercare until 6:00 PM. The fees for these programs vary, so please contact the school office for specifics, 683-4757.

5. How are lunches handled?

Students at CMH are required to bring a sack lunch that follows the nutritional guidelines outlined in our Parent Handbook. We strongly recommend wholesome, balanced lunches including meat, fish, poultry, beans or legumes; fruits and vegetables; dairy; breads or pasta; and drinks made from 100% juice in any form or white milk. The following will not be permitted: soda pop, candy, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, chocolate and sugary snacks. Our teachers will be happy to discuss this program with you and offer menu suggestions. We encourage the participation of the children in menu planning and lunch packing. The children sit together for lunch in the spirit of good healthy, good manners and good companionship.

6. How is school transportation handled?

Parents are responsible for their child’s transportation to Children’s Meeting House. Carpooling is a popular option. Some school districts provide bus service for the children, or will reimburse you for providing this service. Please check with your local school district for more information. NOTE: If you need to have your child taken to a child care facility some districts will provide this service as well.

7. How is academic progress reported?

Regular parent conferences are scheduled twice a year, and additional conferences may be scheduled at any time. Parents are also encouraged to observe their children’s classroom (by appointment). Annual standardized achievement tests are administered for grades 2 through 6.

8. What type of discipline is employed in the classroom?

Methods of discipline used in the classrooms include clear communication of behavioral expectations, modeling of desired behavior by adults, problem solving, careful classroom structure, and time out to re-think one’s actions. CMH does not employ any form of corporal punishment.

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9. Is toilet-training required in order to enter the Pre-Primary class?

Diaper changing facilities are not available and therefore toileting awareness is encouraged. We are sensitive to the developmental differences in children in all areas of their lives and realize that not all children will have acquired this skill by age three. The staff will aid the child in developing and becoming aware of toileting needs. School readiness in general is really the deciding factor for placement into the Pre-Primary program.

10. Is religious instruction part of the curriculum?

CMH is not affiliated with any religious organization and does not offer any religious instruction. Our staff does explore different religious traditions and celebrations as part of the cultural studies curriculum.

11. Is there any research that supports Montessori education?

The following links are some recent research on Montessori Education. There are also many other websites that provide information about the Montessori philosophy.

Murray, A. K. (2011). “Montessori Elementary Philosophy Reflects Current Motivation Theories.” Montessori Life, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 22 – 33.

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard. See the book www.montessori-science.org/montessori_science_genius.htm.

Optimal Developmental Outcomes: The Social, Moral, Cognitive, and Emotional Dimensions of a Montessori Education www.ccma.ca/files/ Outcomes_Kahn,_Baker_etc..pdf

The Montessori Way by: Tim Seldin & Paul Epstein Ph.D.. The Montessori Way is more than a beautiful coffee table book: it is in-depth, yet easy-to-read by authors by Tim Seldin and Paul Epstein, Ph.D. explaining Montessori education in layperson’s terms, from the early years through to secondary school.

12. Can I volunteer at Children’s Meeting House?

All parents are members of PACT which stands for “Parents Assisting Children and Teachers.” The PACT officers have important leadership roles, such as coordinating our parent volunteers who serve a vital role at CMH. Parent volunteer opportunities are available in many areas of school life, including participating in various work parties throughout the school year, driving for field trips, making materials and other classroom support services, and helping with office work and fundraising events. Parents are encouraged to volunteer. There are numerous opportunities for parents to help in the classrooms, in school-wide activities planned by the Parents’ Association and in the school offices.

13. Where do children go after CMH? Do they transition to traditional schools easily?

Children graduating from CMH either continue on to another private school or their local school district. Research shows that Montessori alumni are independent workers, have good work habits, and adjust well to new situations. They rate well for their reading, writing, and math skills. They also exhibit a consistent “best effort,” self-confidence, respect for teachers and other students, enthusiasm for learning, and the ability to work independently and creatively. The longer they are in the Montessori environment, the stronger the skills.