Below you will find some frequently asked questions that will hopefully help you get to know our school and what we are about. If you have any further questions you can continue to browse the site or contact us.
What is Authentic Montessori?
Since Montessori is a word in the public domain, it is possible for any individual or institution to claim to be Montessori. An authentic Montessori classroom must have the following basic characteristics at all levels:
- A classroom atmosphere which encourages social interaction for cooperative learning, peer teaching, and emotional development.
- A schedule which allows large blocks of time to problem-solve, to see connections in knowledge and to create new ideas.
- A diverse set of Montessori materials, activities, and experiences which are designed to foster physical, intellectual, creative, social, and personal independence.
- A partnership established with the family. The family is considered an integral part of the individual’s total development.
- Teachers educated in the Montessori philosophy and the methodology for the age level they are teaching, who have the ability and dedication to put the key concepts into practice.
- A multi-aged, multi-graded heterogeneous grouping of students.
How is Montessori Elementary Different?
Although the Montessori Elementary classroom appears to be unstructured compared to the Ministry classroom, the children are actually engaging in independent learning and self-directed activity. The children are working on a series of activities at different times from the curriculum. The child works at his own individual level and the teacher will work towards achieving the most for his developmental needs and abilities. An agenda is set for each child at the beginning of the day and they work towards completing tasks in order of priority and preference.
Will my child get homework in Elementary?
The children will receive homework only if:
- She/he needs to reinforce certain skills. This would include math facts, sight words, cursive writing practice etc.
- She/he was unable to complete the expected work of the day.
- Project work such as creating a poster, science fair or researching a topic.
- Daily Reading.
- Specialty Homework for French.
** Please note that Ministry related minutes per day of homework is respected. Therefore, 10 minutes for grade 1, 20 minutes for grade 2, etc.
How else does the teacher know what level of understanding my child has?
Montessori teachers are keen observers. They assess what their student knows based on the way they work with the materials, the precision of their written work, the way in which they take concepts that they have already learned and use them for a new, but similar exercise, and the way they show other children how to complete an exercise. Of course, we keep detailed notes and observations on your child’s level of expertise. Also, Montessori teachers encourage elementary children to communicate their thoughts and opinions both individually and in group format providing children with the capabilities to share their knowledge in a welcoming environment.
What will happen if I decide to pull my child out of Montessori and put them in the Traditional stream of education?
At MSK we have carefully created a curriculum that equals and exceeds the Ministry curriculum expectations for Elementary. To ensure that your child has covered all aspects of the ministry curriculum we have included all the topics that are studied in the traditional stream, even if they are not a part of the Montessori curriculum.
Montessori children have learned to work both in groups and independently. As a result, they have developed excellent communication skills that will help them adapt to any setting. Furthermore, teachers will encourage your child to make choices and set schedules for themselves which will be beneficial to them for time management and problem-solving in their new environment. The good behaviors and routines that your child will attain in the Montessori environment will result in a lifelong quest for knowledge. It is impossible to predict that your child will make a perfectly smooth transition to a new surrounding, they may take time to adapt; however, we can assure you that the natural love of learning that your child has developed in the Montessori environment will remain with him/her, wherever their academic journey takes them.
How does the Montessori curriculum compare to the Ministry of Education expectations?
Again, we have carefully created a curriculum that equals and exceeds the Ministry curriculum expectations for Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Geography, History, French, Health and Physical Education, Science and Technology, and the Arts. To ensure that your child has covered all aspects of the Ministry curriculum we have included all the topics that are studied in the traditional stream, even if they are not a part of the Montessori curriculum.
How will parents be kept informed about their child’s activities?
At MSK we feel that it is imperative for parents and the school staff to work together in order to create the best environment for your child’s education. We need to keep an open communication between parents and the school in order to accomplish this. We will do our best to keep you informed by offering:
- Parent information evenings
- Report cards three times per year (for Elementary children only) and two times per year (for Casa)
- Two scheduled parent-teacher interviews each year
- Frequent communication between teachers and parents (monthly contacts)
- Parent participation in the classroom and field trips
- Letters and memos sent home frequently
- E-mail is also available
- Monthly scheduled observations
- Workshops housing specialists knowledgeable in the field of education and children