Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will my child cover the same material as with traditional education?
A: Yes. Our teachers carefully review the state guidelines and make sure that our students cover these basics, plus much more. As trained Montessori teachers, they look at the whole child, recognizing a variety of learning styles and allowing each child to develop at his own rate and in his own way. Depending on individual readiness, Montessori students generally surpass the expectations of the state curriculum because the Montessori materials and the one-on-one attention allow them to progress at a rapid yet thorough pace.
Q: How do you assess a Student's progress?
A: Our curriculum is carefully structured and the teachers maintain thorough records of each student’s academic development. Student progress is measured in a variety of ways including careful observation and recording of their daily work, demonstrated skills and understanding of the materials. These measures increase as the student progresses through the grade levels. Our students become well prepared for any system that requires testing. They actually enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate their success! Read more what our Elementary students have to say about their experience with Standardized Testing.
Q: Do you give standardized tests?
A: Students in 3rd and 6th grade complete three days of standardized testing. MSF uses the TerraNova achievement test, the most respected, valid, and innovative national achievement test on the market. The standards are rigorous, benchmarked, and require students to show, demonstrate, and produce their work. As always, MSF does not "teach to the test". In fact, the only thing students are asked to do to prepare is to get a good night of sleep and a good breakfast each day.
Q: Will my child get the socialization skills they need in such a small school environment?
A: Absolutely. Montessori at Sandy Ford's small environment, with observant teachers, allows each child to be themselves and to blossom in self-esteem and self-confidence. This, in turn, provides the base to learn communication, listening, and other socialization skills. Our children make friends not only in their own grade, but in higher and lower grades as well due to our mixed age classrooms. Additionally, our mixed age classrooms allow each child to gain the benefits of being led by fellow students, under the guidance of teachers, as well as to be a role model for the younger children in the classroom. Respect and thoughtfulness are modeled, and seen, in the classrooms everyday.
Q: What values do you teach as part of your educational program?
A: The love of learning is at the core of Montessori values. Children and teachers work together to develop guidelines to create an environment conducive to work and growth. Speaking and acting with kindness, integrity and respect is our top priority. The children are engaged in the process of developing internal discipline, insight and growth. Some of the other values integrated into our program are citizenship, responsibility, independence, cooperation, teamwork, tolerance for differences, peaceful resolution of conflicts, compassion, gratitude and environmental conservation. We are a nonsectarian school and do not teach religion, nor discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation. We value diversity.
Q: Why is it so important that my child become a self directed learner?
A: Our students are learning to evaluate choices, make decisions and prioritize. They are learning to trust their own good judgment and develop the ability to make wise choices. This will serve them well in their teenage years when they’ll need to handle peer pressure and temptations that often confront young people today. Our students tend to think independently rather than following group pressure.
Q: Is Montessori right for above-average children? What about children struggling in a subject?
A: The Montessori approach is designed to help all children reach their fullest potential at their own unique pace. A gifted child can go as far and as a fast as he or she likes, and a child with a learning disability can move at his or her own rate and style without fear or stigma. The multi-age grouping allows each child to find his or her own pace without feeling “ahead” or “behind” in relation to their peers. In a classroom with children of varying abilities and strengths, everyone learns from one another and everyone contributes. As a caveat, we are not equipped to handle some special needs cases, and evaluate each situation on a case by case basis.
Q: Why do you have multi-age classrooms?
A: Developmental differences in children are not dictated by age. Even among children who are the same age there can be wide differences in ability and maturity. This type of classroom allows students to find both academic and social peers, as well as providing the venue for peer teaching and mentoring. A child may need to read with the older children to find a challenge, and yet he may need the company of younger children in social situations. Having older children around challenges and inspires the younger children. Also, multi-age classes allow older children to learn leadership skills. It gives them the opportunity to impart their knowledge to others and contributes to their sense of self-worth and self-confidence. It also reinforces,in their own minds, the knowledge they have shared with others. In addition, the multi-age grouping allows teachers to work with their students for more than one year, getting to know their individual needs and encouraging them on their journey by introducing lessons and concepts at developmentally appropriate times.
Q: What is the Montessori Philosophy?
A: Montessori methodology focuses on “following the child,” a concept that has at its core an abiding belief that children and adolescents have an innate drive to seek out knowledge. Montessori schools are founded on the presupposition that children and adolescents are intensely curious about the world around them and desire to make that world a better place in which to live. Montessori classrooms are different than traditional classrooms in that they are multi-age, multi-level communities where students learn through innovative methods and service learning projects.
Q: Are there any famous people that attended Montessori schools?
A: Many dynamic and influential people attended Montessori schools as children, including:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Andrew Lloyd Weber
Prince William and Price Henry
The founders of Amazon, Wikipedia, Google, and Microsoft
The youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee
The youngest Rhodes scholar
The youngest artist to exhibit at the United Nations
See other Famous Montessori Graduates
Q: Why does Montessori adhere to a "non-competitive" atmosphere? We live in a competition-based world.
A: There is a lot of joy and personal social and emotional development in cooperative learning. Leadership requires skills in teamwork and cooperation. We find that the children strive to do their best and achieve more through self-motivation than through competitive pressure.
Q: What happens when it is time for my child to transition to a traditional educational environment?
A: Montessori children develop a high degree of self-confidence, independence, and enthusiasm for the learning process. Because of this, they can usually adapt to all sorts of new situations, including making a smooth transition to any public or private classroom. The self-discipline they have developed allows them to adjust to a teacher- directed class if necessary, and their strong sense of self-respect helps them to handle the temptations of peer pressure. Generally, Montessori students are good at collaborating and working as a team. They are good at problem solving and thinking outside of the box. They are respectful to teachers and other adults. They are able to adapt and ask questions.