Asked Questions

Q: What is the Montessori Method?

A: Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that the very young child goes through periods of great sensitivity during which he or she learns more easily than at any time in life. Montessori education uses a personalized approach in which each child, respected as an individual, discovers the joy of learning within carefully prepared surroundings. Materials in the classroom are designed to give the child new experiences as well as develop specific concepts. Children learn to work in an atmosphere of respect for self, respect for others, and respect for the environment.

Q: What is different about a Montessori classroom?

A: In a Montessori classroom you observe a child-centered environment with students engaged in a variety of learning activities. The environment is designed to encourage the child’s exploration and to develop a love for learning. A Montessori teacher is the link between the students and their environment. The teacher provides guidance to encourage each child to achieve his or her potential.

Q: Do you have a part-time program for toddlers and early childhood?

A: All of our classes meet 5 days a week. Toddlers attend half days from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Early Childhood students attend a half day program from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. Although many parents are skeptical about parting with their young children, they usually find that the children look forward to a consistent schedule that involves stimulating environments and friendly faces. Toddlers and new early childhood students are gradually “phased-in” when they start school to ensure a pleasant school experience.

Q: Does my child have to be toilet trained?

A: Children enrolled in our toddler program do not need to be toilet trained. The staff is supportive of children who are ready to start training. Children are expected to be toilet trained before entering a preschool program.

Q: Do you welcome families from other communities to attend your school?

A: Absolutely! There are 31 towns and cities represented in our student body. We have families from Homewood to Ogden Dunes and St. John to Chicago. We guess you could say, “It’s worth the drive!”

Q: Do you offer foreign language?

A: Yes! Kindergarten and elementary students meet once a week for Spanish instruction, which is taught through Language Stars. To find out more, visit their website at

Q: Do you have a before and after school programs?

A: Yes. We offer programs both before and after school for early childhood, kindergarten, and elementary students. Children enjoy time with their friends with both inside and outdoor activities. There is an extra fee for these programs.

Q: I’ve heard that there is no structure at a Montessori school. How does this work?

A: While it may look different from a “traditional” classroom, there are rules and structure in a Montessori classroom. Montessori classrooms are structured with the principles of freedom within limits and respect. Our teachers structure the environments to ensure children are challenged and encouraged to reach their potential.

Q: Do you offer speech therapy?

A: Speech Plus provides speech therapy for students throughout the day. Our new students are screened at the beginning of the school year. The results of the screening are sent home to the parents. At this time, parents and the speech therapist determine a course of action. There is an additional charge for the therapy, which is set by the therapist.

Q: Will it be hard for my child to transition to traditional school?

A: When the time comes to move into a more traditional school environment, Montessori children usually adapt well. Our programs are designed to help children develop positive self-images and confidence so they can face challenges and change with optimism. The Montessori environment helps build self-esteem, which research has shown to be a key predictor for future success.

Q: Why do you refer to your lead instructors as directresses instead of teachers?

A: The term “directress” is often used because our directresses guide, or “direct,” students based on their individual needs. Instead of “teaching” lessons to all students simultaneously, they observe the children and follow their leads. The directresses observe each child to track what and when activities are accomplished so they can encourage their students to choose a variety of work. This approach, as compared to a traditional school environment, allows the students to be more active participants in their learning. Our directresses are often referred to as teachers.

Q: How will the school communicate with me regarding my child’s progress?

A: Parent and teacher conferences are scheduled during the school year to discuss student progress. In addition, teachers are always available to speak with parents regarding a child’s progress or any other concerns.

Standardized tests are administered to our kindergarten and elementary students in the spring. Test results are sent home to parents.

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