Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Montessori philosophy and how can my child benefit from this philosophy?
Montessori educators believe that children learn best within a warm, social environment that supports and encourages them to develop their full potential. At Cambridge Montessori School, your child will benefit from core Montessori values, such as:
- The “whole child approach”- The Montessori method encourages not only cognitive learning, social skills, and physical coordination, but also strongly focuses on emotional growth, independent learning and the development of self-esteem.
- The “prepared environment” - A Montessori classroom is specifically designed to create self-directed learning. The materials, social climate and the role of the teacher encourages children’s natural curiosity and initiative in a safe, positive climate.
- The Montessori materials - At Cambridge Montessori School, each classroom contains numerous Montessori materials. These materials are created to be multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting so your child gradually masters various skills and the understanding of abstract concepts.
- The teacher - The Montessori teacher functions as a resource person, role model, demonstrator, record-keeper and meticulous observer of children’s behavior and growth.
2. Why should I choose a Montessori education for my child?
Dr. Maria Montessori found that the ages from birth through six years is the most critical time in children’s learning and development as they are the most receptive, curious and excited about exploring the world around them. At CMS, our classrooms nurture and stimulate their natural curiosity and excitement by offering children a variety of materials to manipulate and use.
3. What does Cambridge Montessori School have to offer that my child can’t get at a traditional preschool?
You will see the difference the minute you walk into one of our classrooms! The materials used to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, social studies, science and music are all unique to a Montessori classroom. Children are also free to choose activities of interest while teachers observe children, guiding them when a child is ‘stuck’ or is ready to learn a new skill.
4. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research shows that the best predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs help children develop good self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism because they are based on self-directed, non-competitive activities. Montessori - taught children are unusually adaptable and have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, Montessori children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time effectively. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas, to discuss their work freely with others, and their strong communication skills ease their way into new settings.
5. How is discipline maintained in Montessori schools?
At CMS, each student is expected to be respectful of the teachers and his/her peers. If a student is disrespectful or cannot stay with his/her work, the student will be redirected. If redirection does not help, the student is asked to sit and think about his/her actions. We believe children should not be subjected to ridicule and embarrassment. If the student is repeatedly or unusually disrespectful and disruptive, the student’s parents will be notified. It is important that the school and the parents work together for the benefit of the child.
6. What is the Montessori curriculum?
Montessori children work in two general areas: character education and academic education. At CMS, we strongly focus on children learning to take care of themselves, their environment and each other. Cooking, cleaning, building, moving gracefully, speaking politely, being considerate and helpful are some examples of character education. Academic education is highly regarded, as well. Parents are usually surprised to find that our students are reading, writing and completing high-level arithmetic at such an early age. The classrooms are arranged according to subject area and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. All kinds of intelligence and styles of learning are nurtured: musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, intuitive, linguistic and logical. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher’s observations, and record-keeping.
7. Why do Montessori schools have mixed-age classrooms?
Children are grouped in mixed ages and abilities in three year spans: 0-3 and 3-6. There is constant interaction, problem solving, child-to-child teaching, and socialization. Children are challenged according to their ability and never bored with the multitude of wide-ranging activities in the classroom.
8. What is the role of the teacher?
Teachers, also called directresses, serve to guide the children through careful observations. There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. Teachers plan individual projects that are developmentally appropriate for each child. If a child masters a concept or new skill, the teacher guides the child forward with a more challenging activity that the child finds interesting.
9. Can I do Montessori at home with my child?
Yes, parents can use Montessori principles of child development at home. Cambridge Montessori School provides parents with educational materials on a continual basis so parents can incorporate core ideas of the Montessori method at home.
10. How nutritious are the snacks and lunches served at Cambridge Montessori School?
When creating our snack and lunch menu, we took time to make sure our students were eating healthy meals that provided the necessary amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fats. The health of our students is important to us. As educators, we know that children cannot function properly and sustain the high amounts of energy needed for learning unless provided with quality nutrition.