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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s your philosophy on childcare and early childhood education?

 

As a Montessori school, we follow the Montessori Philosophy, Method, and Curriculum designed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the 19th century in Italy. The Montessori philosophy and method promote independence, concentration, child-led learning, self-awareness , environmental stewardship, empathy and care of others. Each classroom includes the areas of language, sensorial, mathematics, art, practical life, culture, geography, biology, zoology, and motor skills.

  • How can I tell that MMUMS is a good Montessori School?

The word “Montessori” is not a trademarked name. This means anyone can put the word in the name of their daycare or school and not actually have any components of Montessori education in the facility. For an authentic Montessori school to provide true Montessori education, the classrooms must be filled with Montessori materials, the teachers must be Montessori trained from reputable training centers, and the Montessori method and curriculum must be followed according to the American Montessori Society or the Association of Montessori International. MMUMS fulfills all these requirements and is in the process of becoming accredited through the American Montessori Society. The process takes 3 years.
 

  • Are you licensed? Are you accredited? By whom?

MMUMS is licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services. We are members of the International Montessori Council and American Montessori Society. The school is in the process of becoming accredited by the American Montessori Society. The process takes 3 years.
 

  • Is there a waitlist? How do I get my child on it?

At any given time, there is a waitlist for the infant classrooms; however, the length of the waitlist varies greatly from time to time. The waitlists for the older classrooms are much shorter and often there are spaces available within a month or faster. It is always best to check with administration to see how long the waitlist is and how soon an enrollment start date could be.

To put your child on the MMUMS waitlist, fill out an application and turn in the application fee. The application/enrollment form can be found here and you can pay the fee by check or cash.

  • What are your visitation policies in general?

Parents of children in the Nido Environment are welcomed to breast feed or bottle feed their children during the day. All parents are always invited to eat a meal with their children. Classroom teachers will work with parents on when is a good time to come for an observation or visit depending on the age of the child and the stage of enrollment transition. Parents are always encouraged to hang out with their child and his friends at pick up to get to know the MMUMS community.

  • What are the ratios of students to teachers in each classroom?

Nido Communities (6 weeks-18 months) – 1:2.5
Toddler Community (18-36 months) – 1:5
Children’s House (3-6 years) – 1:10
Montessori Elementary – 1:12

  • What is the education and training of your teachers?

Lead Teachers: Each lead teacher has a Bachelor’s degree in a child-related field as well as Montessori credentials in the age group they teach or is in the process of earning Montessori credentials. Some Lead teachers have a Master’s degree and some are working towards their Master’s Degree.

 

Assistant Teachers: Each assistant teacher has a Bachelor’s degree in a child related field, whether it’s education, early childhood education, literature studies, recreation therapy, etc. Most of the assistant teachers are in preparations for going to earn Montessori credentials for the age group they teach.

Teacher Aides: Teacher aides are hired because they display keen interest in the field of education or early childhood education. Often they are college students who are earning their degrees in child-related fields.

All teachers at MINE, ME, & US Montessori School have years of experience working with children.

  • What do the students do after they finish their Kindergarten year?

Some children will attend public schools. Many students will stay to continue their Montessori education into their elementary years.

 

We will continue to build the Montessori Elementary program as our cohort ages into their later elementary years. We will continue to grow the school as long as we have interested families. Our goal is to grow up through high school.

  • What is your vaccination policy?

MINE, ME, & US Montessori School requires that all children are current with their vaccinations according to the Center for Disease Control’s schedule. MINE, ME, & US Montessori School does not enroll children who are on a delayed vaccination schedule.
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html

  • Do you transport children in a vehicle?

No. We do go on walking field trips with the children. We walk on the sidewalks in the surrounding areas.

  • What is your technology policy?

MMUMS does not use any technological devices used by the children in the classrooms. The teachers use iPads in the Nido Environment and Nido Community to document daily records for the infants; however, the children are not exposed to the presence of the iPads.

Nido FAQ's

What is the Montessori philosophy on education for toddlers?

The Montessori philosophy and method promote independence, concentration, child-led learning, self-awareness, environmental stewardship, empathy, and care of others. Each classroom includes the areas of language, sensorial, mathematics, art, practical life, culture, geography, biology, zoology, and motor skills. 

 

Montessori in the Nido Community

The work of the Nido Community is to teach and allow for independence for the child. All the work in Nido Community is available to the children to work with on an individual basis. Each work is embedded with isolated concepts and a control of error and materials to ensure that the child is able to independently work with the materials. The Nido Community teacher acts as an observer of each child; watching for signs of readiness or interest in new works. By observing and then presenting work on an individual basis the teacher is able to give each child access to concepts and lessons when they are most ready and excited to receive them.

 

My child has issues with food, how do you handle that?

We serve family style in each classroom. The children are encouraged to take a “grateful bite" of each food item on their plate before they are invited to have as many more servings of everything served at the meal. There are typically at least 5 food items for each meal. One that all children like, two that have been introduced before and are in the canon of food items served at school, one item that is fairly new to the menu, and one that is unusual and brand new to the menu. With this formula, the children are set up for success with their grateful bites. 

 

How do you handle food allergies? 

Documentation of food allergies must be provided by a doctor. With the awareness of each child's food allergy in mind, we do not eliminate the food completely from the menu. Instead, we serve the family-style meals as scheduled and will serve with another item that may be substituted. For example, if we are serving butter croissants with homemade chia-strawberry spread and almond butter and a particular child has a food allergy to tree nuts; we may serve sunflower seed butter along with the meal. This allows the child to acknowledge her food allergy and make the choice that is best for her body. Teachers are aware of all food allergies and will guide and/or substitute for the child as needed. We will work with you to provide the allergen substitutes. Additional paperwork from your child’s physician is required if your child has allergies and needs modifications to the MMUMS menu.

 

What is a typical day like?

The Nido Community follows a routine rather than a schedule. That is, each part of the day follows in the same sequence, just not necessarily at the same time each day. Typically, children arrive in the morning and play outside until about 9:00 am. They then go in for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before morning snack. After snack they begin their work cycle in which they are free to choose work from the shelves and work for as long as they are compelled to. Around 11:30 am, they go outside for about an hour. They then go in for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before lunch. After lunch is nap for about 1-2 hours. They then go to the bathroom for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before afternoon snack outside on the veranda. After snack is time to play outside until their parents pick them up. The amount of time outside depends on the weather; however, we go outside everyday no matter the weather, even if it’s for a shorter time. 

 

How do you handle discipline or behavioral problems? For instance, how do you handle biting, hitting, or bullying situations?

There are no behavioral problems, but, rather, developmentally appropriate behaviors. We follow the Montessori Method, Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson, and use redirection. Positive discipline problem solving can be understood as an attitude of parents and teachers towards children: “Together we will decide on rules for our mutual benefit. We will also decide together on solutions that will be helpful to all concerned when we have problems. When I must use my judgment without your input, I will use firmness with kindness, dignity, and respect.”

 

What is the Nap Policy?

Each child takes a nap every afternoon after lunch. Each child has his own cot and school-provided nap blanket. The lights are dimmed, and soft music is played during nap. The teachers help the children who have difficulty relaxing by themselves by patting or rubbing their back or stroking their hair or face. Nap typically lasts a couple of hours, but some children sleep longer. If a child cannot sleep, they must rest on a cot until nap is over. 

 

Is there a dress code?

Practical clothing is a must at school. Please do not send your children to school in apparel or accessories with characters on them. Cartoons, superheroes, and other characters are fantasy based. Montessori philosophy and curriculum emphasizes the real world. At MINE, ME & US Montessori School we strive to introduce children to the wonders of the real and natural world through experiences, materials, and conversations. Please make sure that your child has weather-appropriate clothing every day. This means rain boots, rain jackets, snowsuits, snow boots, mittens, hats, and changes of clothes. Additionally, there are no shoes worn inside the school. Your child may bring slippers (with no characters) in the cooler months. 

 

Do you celebrate holidays with the children? 

MINE, ME & US Montessori School does not have a formal or group celebration for children’s birthdays in the Nido Environment and the Toddler Community. However, we encourage and welcome you and your child’s family members and special people in their life to join your child for a school meal on their special day. Please do not bring birthday treats to school for your child. MINE, ME & US Montessori School provides lovely, delicious special food daily.  We will find a culinary way to enrich your child’s birthday experience at school. 

 

What is the toilet-learning procedure?

When children begin standing, we begin changing their diapers standing up. This is to promote independence and agency in the process of diaper changing and eventually toileting. Children are taught to push their own pants down, take their diaper off and put it in the diaper pail. Each child is invited to sit on the toilet and try to urinate. The teacher then puts a fresh diaper on, and the child pulls up their pants and washes their hands. We teach these skills early so that when the child is ready physically and physiologically to begin toilet learning, he is already adept at the basic skills of dressing and undressing and is comfortable sitting on the toilet. When your child exhibits signs of readiness for toilet learning your child’s teacher will work with you to help your children learn how to use the toilet.

 

How do you keep parents up to date on their kid’s daily activities or behavior? Do you offer a daily report? For children 16 months and older, there is ample time at drop off and pick up for parents to chat with their child’s teacher about their day. Parents may call, email, or schedule a conference for longer conversations with the lead teacher.

 

Can I check in throughout the day?

During the first couple of weeks parents are welcome to call or email during the day to check on their child. After the transition period, parents can call with specific information for the lead teacher.

 

Will I receive progress updates?

MMUMS is a full-time, year-round school, rather than a daycare. As such, we provide progress reports and hold parent-teacher conferences three times per year. 

Toddler Community FAQ's

What is the Montessori philosophy on education for toddlers?

 The Montessori philosophy and method promote independence, concentration, child-led learning, self-awareness, environmental stewardship, empathy, and care of others. Each classroom includes the areas of language, sensorial, mathematics, art, practical life, culture, geography, biology, zoology, and motor skills. 

 

My child has issues with food, how do you handle that?

We serve family style in each classroom. The children are encouraged to take a “grateful bite" of each food item on their plate before they are invited to have as many more servings of everything served at the meal. There are typically at least 5 food items for each meal. One that all children like, two that have been introduced before and are in the canon of food items served at school, one item that is fairly new to the menu, and one that is unusual and brand new to the menu. With this formula, the children are set up for success with their grateful bites. 

 

How do you handle food allergies? 

Documentation of food allergies must be provided by a doctor. With the awareness of each child's food allergy in mind, we do not eliminate the food completely from the menu. Instead, we serve the family-style meals as scheduled and will serve with another item that may be substituted. For example, if we are serving butter croissants with homemade chia-strawberry spread and almond butter and a particular child has a food allergy to tree nuts; we may serve sunflower seed butter along with the meal. This allows the child to acknowledge her food allergy and make the choice that is best for her body. Teachers are aware of all food allergies and will guide and/or substitute for the child as needed. We will work with you to provide the allergen substitutes.

 

What is a typical day like?

The Toddler Communities follow a routine rather than a schedule. That is, each part of the day follows in the same sequence, just not necessarily at the same time each day. Typically, children arrive in the morning and play outside until about 9:00am. They then go in for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before morning snack. After snack they begin their work cycle in which they are free to choose work from the shelves and work for as long as they are compelled to. Around 11:30, they go outside for about an hour. They then go in for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before lunch. After lunch is nap for about 2 hours. They then go to the bathroom for diaper changes, toileting, and washing hands before afternoon snack outside on the veranda. After snack is time to play outside until their parents pick them up. The amount of time outside depends on the weather; however, we go outside everyday no matter the weather, even if it’s for a shorter time. 

 

How do you handle discipline or behavioral problems? For instance, how do you handle biting, hitting, or bullying situations?

There are no behavioral problems, but rather developmentally appropriate behaviors. We follow the Montessori Method, Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson, and use redirection. Positive discipline problem solving can be understood as an attitude of parents and teachers towards children: 

“Together we will decide on rules for our mutual benefit. We will also decide together on solutions that will be helpful to all concerned when we have problems. When I must use my judgment without your input, I will use firmness with kindness, dignity, and respect.”

 

How do you keep parents up to date on their kid’s daily activities or behavior? Do you offer a daily report? There is ample time at drop off and pick up for parents to chat with their child’s teacher about their day. Parents may call, email, or schedule a conference for longer conversations.  

 

What is the toilet-training procedure?

When children begin standing, we begin changing their diapers standing up. This is to promote independence and agency in the process of diaper changing and eventually toileting. Children are taught to push their own pants down, take their diaper off and put it in the diaper pail. Each child is invited to sit on the toilet and try to urinate. The teacher then puts a fresh diaper on, and the child pulls up their pants and washes their hands. We teach these skills early so that when the child is ready physically and physiologically to begin toilet learning, he is already adept at the basic skills of dressing and undressing and is comfortable sitting on the toilet. When your child exhibits signs of readiness for toilet learning your child’s teacher will work with you to help your children learn how to use the toilet. 

 

What is the Nap Policy?

Children under the age of 4 must take naps during the day at school. The number and length of naps varies by age. Children ages 18 months-3 years old nap for 60-90+ minutes after lunch, typically around 1:00pm. Soothing music or relaxation sounds are played quietly. Each child has their own cot and nap blanket. Teachers help children go to sleep who have difficulty relaxing by themselves but patting or rubbing their back or stroking their head. 

 

Do You Celebrate Holidays with the Children? 

MINE, ME & US Montessori School does not have a formal or group celebration for children’s birthdays in the Nido Environment and the Toddler Community. However, we encourage and welcome you and your child’s family members and special people in their life to join your child for a school meal on their special day. Please do not bring birthday treats to school for your child. MMUMS provides lovely, delicious special food daily.  We will find a culinary way to enrich your child’s special day that is appropriate and the least distracting.

Children's House FAQ's

Children’s Daily Experience

One of the most crucial tenets of the Montessori Method and curriculum is the 3-hour work cycle. Typically scheduled in the morning, the children have a three-hour work cycle in which they are free to choose and work with the materials in the classroom, given presentations on works by certified teachers, and enjoy small group snacks with their friends. The genius of the three-hour work cycle is that the child can work on a material for as long as he wants without fear of interruption from artificial scheduled activities such as circle time, outside time, or snack time. These activities are built into the work-cycle. Without arbitrary interruptions, the child is free to work as long as he is called to the material. This builds concentration and self-confidence in his abilities to master a skill or concept and to make choices in his learning.  The Children’s House daily schedule reflects the Montessori Curriculum and the MINE, ME, & US Montessori School philosophy of the importance of food and nature in young children’s education.

                   

The Exercises of Practical Life

The work and materials of the Exercises of Practical Life are presented to the 2.5 to 6-year-old as tools to support each child’s development into an independent person. We nurture the growth of the whole child in Children’s House and recognize the child’s need for more than traditional school subjects. The works in the Exercises of Practical Life speak to the need of young children to independently take care of themselves and their environment. Works in the area of Practical Life include care-of-self activities like hand washing, and work with dressing frames which give the child the space to practice the different elements of dressing such as tying bows, buttoning, and lacing shoes.

 

Children are given presentations on different ways to take care of the world around them. Care of environment activities include window washing, gardening, and button sewing. These activities in the area of Practical Life build confidence in the young child as they are able to practice independently caring for themselves and their world.  Small group presentations given to children allow them to practice social graces like “how to introduce yourself,” and “how to accept a compliment.”

 

The young child’s need for movement and interest in finding new ways to challenge themselves through movement is honored through movement works like the silence activity and the walking line. Through presentation and practice, children are able to work on refining their movements and moving their bodies freely and gracefully.

 

The Sensorial Materials

The presentations and materials used in the Sensorial area of the Children’s House support young children in gathering and classifying sensorial impressions of their environment. Work in this area explores the different senses including tactile, visual, gustatory, and thermic. Through isolating senses work with the Sensorial materials aid young children in refining their senses and therefore their understanding of the world around them. As children progress through the work of the Sensorial Materials, they internalize the sensorial experiences they are practicing and begin to apply those experiences beyond their work in Children’s House. The Sensorial Materials also include work with the continents, countries and oceans that make up our planet. These cultural works within the Sensorial Materials give children the key to understanding the various land and water forms that comprise our planet in a tangible and meaningful way.

 

The Mathematics Materials

We introduce the area of Mathematics to the young child both directly through the Montessori math materials and indirectly through their work with the sensorial materials and the materials of the exercises of practical life. When we indirectly prepare each child’s mathematical mind for work within math, we do so with the knowledge that math is an inherently abstract concept. As we indirectly prepare the young mind for work with math and give each child experiences which speak to his developmental needs, we give them the means of creating a strong and successful mathematical mind to exercise and use for the rest of their lives.

 

While the area of mathematics is inherently abstract, the Montessori math materials are made to be both concrete and geometric in form which make them accessible to the young child. Through the use of movement, counting beads, and both individual and group work, children develop their capacity to understand quantity and numerical value. Children work to first understand the numbers 1- 10, then move to work in the tens, hundreds, and thousands. After each child has confidence in recognizing numbers numerically and in quantity into the thousands, they begin their work in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Linear counting, introducing quantities into ten thousand, and fractions are introduced as the child shows interest and capability.

 

The Language Materials

Young children are in an especially sensitive period in their lives for the acquisition of language. The Language Materials of the Children’s House give children experiences in spoken and written language. The Language Materials include work on science and culture as activities are presented to children around learning and classifying the language of plants and animals, invertebrates, and vertebrates, living and nonliving matter and the names of countries, flags, and continents. Children work to know the language and meaning of the different parts of plants, animals, phases of the moon, and of mushrooms. The Children’s House is an environment rich in spoken language and in opportunities for children to acquire and use new vocabulary. Children’s House written language works begin with a phonetic approach to the alphabet.

 

Children employ their tactile sense in tracing letters made from sandpaper as they practice their letter sound recognition. While the younger members of Children’s House work on their letter sound recognition, they are also given various work and experiences that prepare their hands for writing. Works throughout Children’s House give children the opportunity to use and develop a strong prehensile grip as well as practice moving their hands from left to right. After extensive work and practice with letter sounds and handwriting preparation children begin working with writing and then move into reading and grammar works. All the work given to children in the Language Materials is done to inspire creativity, to allow each child to recognize themselves as a storyteller, and to cultivate a love of the written word.

 

FAQs

What’s your philosophy on childcare and early childhood education?

As a Montessori school, we follow the Montessori Philosophy, Method, and Curriculum designed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the 19th century in Italy. The Montessori philosophy and method promote independence, concentration, child-led learning, self-awareness, environmental stewardship, empathy, and care of others. Each classroom includes the areas of language, sensorial, mathematics, art, practical life, culture, geography, biology, zoology, and motor skills. 

 

Montessori Curriculum for the Children’s House

All of the work in Children’s House is presented on an individual basis. Each work builds off knowledge acquired through previous experiences, ensuring that the child is able to independently work with the materials. The Children’s House guide acts as an observer of each child; watching for signs of readiness or interest in new works. By observing and then presenting work on an individual basis the guide is able to give each child access to work when they are most ready and excited to receive it.

 

Children in the Montessori environment are empowered through their right to choose and facilitate independent work. All the work given to the children is done with the intention of supporting each child’s ability to work independently, have confidence in their own capabilities, and to honor each child’s right to exploration and independent discovery within an educational environment. The individualized and child-led philosophy of the Montessori Children’s House gives children the freedom to follow their own needs and supports their growth into life-long learners and lovers of their world. The work and materials available in the Children’s House environment are broken into four areas: The Exercises of Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Mathematics.

 

Do children have to be toilet trained to be in the Children’s House? 

No. Children who are developmentally ready in every way except toileting are not held back until they are toilet trained. We graduate children to the next class based on development, not age or convenience. 

 

Do you transport children in a vehicle? 

No. However, we do go on walks around the school neighborhood.  

 

What is a typical day like?

The Children’s House follows a schedule. Children play outside until 9:00 am when the work cycle begins. One of the most crucial tenets of the Montessori Method and curriculum is the 3-hour work cycle. Typically scheduled in the morning, the children have a three-hour work cycle in which they are free to choose and work with the materials in the classroom, given presentations on works by certified teachers, and enjoy small group snacks with their friends. The genius of the three-hour work cycle is that the child can work on a material for as long as he wants without fear of interruption from artificial scheduled activities such as circle time, outside time, or snack time. These activities are built into the work-cycle. Without arbitrary interruptions, the child is free to work for as long as he is called to the material. This builds concentration and self-confidence in his abilities to master a skill or concept and to make choices in his learning.  The Children’s House daily schedule reflects the Montessori Curriculum and the MINE, ME, & US Montessori School philosophy of the importance of food and nature in young children’s education. After the work cycle, the children eat lunch then take a nap or go outside to play. There is a second work cycle for the older children who do not nap. After nap and the work cycle, the children have afternoon snack and play outside until their parents pick them up. The Children’s House daily schedule is included in this packet. 

 

How do you handle discipline or behavioral problems? For instance, how do you handle biting, hitting, or bullying situations?

We follow the Montessori Method and Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline and use redirection. Positive discipline problem solving can be understood as an attitude of parents and teachers towards children: 

“Together we will decide on rules for our mutual benefit. We will also decide together on solutions that will be helpful to all concerned when we have problems. When I must use my judgment without your input, I will use firmness with kindness, dignity, and respect.”

 

Do the children interact all together or stay in age groups? 

Montessori classrooms are organized by multi-age groups. The Children’s House is for children ages 3-6-year-old children. When the children are outside, it is not uncommon for them to play with the children in the Nido Community, Toddler Community, and Montessori Elementary.

 

What is the nap policy?

Children under the age of 4 must take naps during the day at school. Children ages 2.5-4 years old nap for 60-90+ minutes after lunch, typically around 1:30pm. Each child has their own cot and nap blanket. The lights are dimmed, and soft music is played. Teachers help children go to sleep who have difficulty relaxing by themselves but patting or rubbing their back or stroking their head. 

 

Is there a dress code?

Practical clothing is a must at school. Please do not send your children to school in apparel or accessories with characters on them. Cartoons, superheroes, and other characters are fantasy based. Montessori philosophy and curriculum emphasizes the real world. At MINE, ME & US Montessori School we strive to introduce children to the wonders of the real and natural world through experiences, materials, and conversations. Please make sure that your child has weather-appropriate clothing every day. This means rain boots, rain jackets, snowsuits, snow boots, mittens, hats, and changes of clothes. Additionally, there are no shoes worn inside the school. Your child may bring slippers (with no characters) in the cooler months. 

 

Do you celebrate holidays with the children?

The school keeps a record of each child's birthday and celebrates each in a special manner called Celebration of Life. Pictures of students from birth to present are an excellent lesson in history that is personal and fun. Your child will share these at line time. You and your child’s family members and special people in their life are encouraged and welcome to join in your child’s Celebration of Life ceremony. You can discuss arrangements with your child’s teacher. Please do not bring birthday treats to school for your child. MMUMS provides lovely, delicious special food daily.  We will find a culinary way to enrich the Celebration of Life for your child’s special day that is appropriate and the least distracting. 

 

Parent/School Communication

Parents should let teachers know at drop off and pick up any of special circumstances with their child during the day. The teaching team will pass around this pertinent information, so all teachers know. Questions about curriculum, child development, and work in the classroom can be emailed to the Children’s House lead teacher. Parents can expect emails answered within 24 hours.

 

What are your visitation policies in general?

We welcome parents and other family members to observe the work cycle or to have a meal with their child during the day. Please contact the Head of School to make these arrangements.

Lower Elementary FAQ

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Upper Elementary FAQ's

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