Montessori FAQ

Do all Montessori schools follow the same curriculum?

Any school can use the name “Montessori,” but not all employ Montessori materials or follow authentic Montessori principles, which include a three-year age span, an extended period of independent work time, and a Montessori-certified teacher. At KMS, all our teachers are certified Montessori teachers, and the school is accredited with the American Montessori Society.

What does a typical day look like?

For Primary children (ages 3-6), the day usually begins with circle time, for sharing songs, classroom news, and often a group lesson. From about 9:00 to 10:45, the children have an independent work cycle in which they are free to choose a work that interests them. The head teacher gives individual lessons, while the assistant teacher is there to guide anyone who needs assistance. After a brief second circle, it is time for recess! Children who stay for the afternoon have lunch and rest time followed by a second work cycle. The schedule is similar for Elementary students, but they have more responsibility for completing their work plan and also have other opportunities, such as writers’ circle, class meeting, book groups, outdoor classroom, ans special instruction in music, art, fitness, and Spanish.

What is the teacher: student ratio?

Our classrooms have 20 to 24 students, with 2-3 teachers. This allows for a good mix of ages and genders so that children learn from each other as well as the teacher and the environment. The older children often act as peer teachers to the younger children, and independence is encouraged so that children are doing many things for themselves

It looks like play, so why do you call it “work”?

Maria Montessori believed that play was the “work” of the child. You will hear Montessori teachers refer to activities in the classroom as “work,” but we use the term out of respect for the child, who is engaged in the important task of self-creation. Through play, children try on new roles: they imagine what might be instead of what is; they develop creativity as they combine old elements in new ways, and they learn problem-solving skills as they work through difficulties. They also begin to consider the needs and perspectives of others. What you will not find in our classrooms are conventional toys, because preschoolers with elaborate props actually make fewer imaginative responses. We believe that making a train out of cylinder blocks offers more opportunity for true play than having a toy train on the shelf!

What kinds of creative outlets will my child have at KMS?

Creativity and playfulness go hand in hand, and we strive to provide activities that will engage and excite all the senses. Each classroom, including the afterschool program, has an art area for children to draw, color, and paint. All children participate in group singing and perform in two concerts each year. Extended day and Elementary children also receive weekly instruction in art and music; Elementary students learn to play tin whistle. On special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day, children prepare food in the classrooms. Yoga and storytime are available through our afterschool program. Individual piano and violin lessons are also available on site.

How do you handle discipline?

Our teachers use the methods of “Positive Discipline” developed by Jane Nelsen. Avoiding the extremes of prizes and punishments, our goal is to help the child understand why a particular behavior is harmful by considering its impact on others. We encourage children to resolve their conflicts by talking and listening to each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Which program is right for my child?

We recommend a 5-day morning program for most children; however, some three-year-olds may benefit from starting with a 3-day mornings. At four  years of age, children should be doing at least five mornings. We also offer full days (8:30 to 2:30) which may be desired depending on the needs of particular children and families.

What are the benefits of a Montessori education?

Maria Montessori said, “It is true that we cannot make a genius. We can only give to each child the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.” Our ultimate goal is to help each child flourish as his or her unique personality emerges. There is growing evidence, however, that a Montessori education leads to greater social and academic success in later years. Read more.