Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard Montessori schools are rigid and don’t provide enough freedom?
Following the Montessori method, we provide children with the structure they need to be successful and creative. An ordered environment is a peaceful environment, one that allows a child to imagine, create, and experiment with an uncluttered mind. The children participate in maintaining an atmosphere of learning. For example, by returning materials to their designated location, children learn to respect their surroundings and each other. Each day the children enjoy ample free playtime outdoors, where safety and courtesy are the guiding rules.

Is it true that Montessori preschools are heavily academic?
Our school introduces many academic subjects to the children, but we always do so in a concrete, age-appropriate way. Maria Montessori discovered that the early exposure to information allows a child’s mind to absorb and organize knowledge more readily throughout life. Our goal, for instance, is never to teach children to memorize mathematical concepts bur rather to guide them to experience the relationships between numbers in a tangible way; that deep understanding of numbers becomes invaluable when children encounter abstract mathematics later on.

Does my child have to be potty-trained to attend Exploring Minds?
Children 3 and under do not have be potty trained to be enrolled. Children older than 3 must be potty trained. Click here for information on Potty Training (courtesy of The Magazine for Montessori Families).

Why doesn’t the school separate children by age group?
Giving one-on-one attention, Montessori teachers expertly guide each student to tasks appropriate to the child’s age and level. The Montessori method encourages children to work together to build self-esteem and a sense of community. It is beautiful to watch the way the children of all ages interact with each other. It is common to see older children helping younger ones during the school day; and the younger children look up to and learn from the older students.

How does a Montessori education benefit children?
Experience and research indicate that children attending Montessori schools tend to be competent, self-disciplined, socially well adjusted, and happy. Montessori schools are well known for helping children: develop self-discipline, concentrate for long periods of time, treat the environment and others with respect, have high self-esteem. Montessori school children usually strike a visitor as friendly, empathetic, and cooperative. The classroom is a cheerful social community where children happily help each other. Learning social grace and courtesy are a part of the Montessori curriculum. Most parents of children in a Montessori school comment on how much their children love school.

What is the discipline philosophy of the school?
Exploring Minds Montessori believes in a non-punitive approach to discipline. Ideally, children and teachers cooperate in creating an environment conducive to work and growth. During the day there is frequent discussion of appropriate behavior. In order to resolve the conflicts that do arise, we handle each individual situation in a creative and context specific way. As much as possible, we try to have natural consequences for inappropriate behavior. For example, if a child abuses a material, then he/she may not work with that material for a period of time. If a child seriously abuses the social environment, as in hurting another child, a natural consequence is being removed from the classroom, and the child may be sent home for the day. In case of ongoing discipline problems, the staff will notify parents and set up a meeting during which time the parents and staff may work toward a solution.

How flexible is the drop off and pick up time?
We ask that you make every effort to arrive during the drop-off hour in order to minimize disruptions during the morning work period. Pick up time is very flexible and you may pick up your child anytime you wish; however, half day children should be picked on time in order to avoid disturbing the children who nap.

How do you handle fights between the children?
As a Montessori school, we place a great deal of emphasis on peace education. Our goal is to help children learn how to be kind and respectful towards each other in all of their interactions through teaching them what we call “communication and conflict-solving skills.” We regularly engage in lessons of “grace and courtesy” in our curriculum and we also use role-play as a way to help children develop the tools to deal with difficult situations when they arise. When problems do occur we first encourage the children to handle it by themselves using the “communication and conflict-solving skills” we implement consistently; if all else fails we help them to find a fair resolution.

How involved are the teachers during outside “free play”?
The teachers are always supervising outside play, however there is no organized games or activities. It is “Free Play!” We provide opportunity for active and cooperative play with balls, tricycles, a play structure, and a sand table. We also bring out a variety of constructive and “pretend play” toys like: cars, blocks, puppets, dress-up, dinosaurs, dolls etc. We allow the children to explore their social-side with very little interaction from the teachers. The teachers only intervene to establish kindness and gentle relations between the children.

How do you handle violence?
Exploring Minds Montessori is a violence free zone. We do not allow play that involves weapons of any kind. This includes everything from using your hands as a gun to using a toy in an inappropriate way. Children at this age have very different ideas as to what is real and pretend play. What may be only a “pretend sword” to one child can actually be very scary and frightening to another child. We promote peace in self-expression!

How do parents and teachers communicate with each other?
There are many ways for you to communicate with the school. Each teacher and each student has a file in the front of the classroom. Parents are asked to check their child’s file each day. It is our policy not to discuss concerns about a child in front of him or her. When you have a question or a concern, you can put a note in the teacher’s file, email the teacher, or call the school. Each month, the school issues a newsletter, which contains information about the curriculum, special events, and any other information you may need. Throughout the year there are also several parent meetings, which take place in the evening. Twice a year, you will sign up for a parent-teacher conference during the day. We always encourage parents to ask questions, and we are eager to answer them.