Q: Where do most students come from?
A: The majority of our students come from Bonita and Chula Vista. But we also have parents from San Diego, Eastlake, Imperial Beach, Coronado, and National City that have enrolled their children here. Most students are from the South Bay area.
Q: Is it true that children in Montessori schools can do whatever they want?
A: You may have heard that students have a lot of freedom in Montessori schools. If you’re worried that your child will get too wild with all this new-found freedom, let us assure you this isn’t the case. We teach that freedom comes hand in hand with self-discipline. While students have freedom of choice, they have to be very respectful towards others and very respectful towards the environment.
Q: How do you discipline students at Montessori American School?
A: In the beginning, we explain to the children the rules of the class. We give them a lot of what we call grace and courtesy group lessons, and then we just reinforce them during the year. They become very respectful towards others. Montessori is very big on respect toward others and respect toward the environment. Teachers are the role models. We expect the children to respect us, but on the same token, the teachers really respect the child. In Montessori, we speak to the children very softly. You don’t hear, like in a traditional setting, the teacher really imposing herself in the class. It’s quite the opposite. It’s really trying to understand the child, explaining what the rules of the class are, and then just reinforce them with lots of positive reinforcement. We explain “This is the way we walk” and “This is the way you wait for the teacher” Students don’t interrupt the teacher if she’s working with somebody else. They know how to wait their turn. In addition, Montessori children are encouraged to learn patience. We just have one material of each kind. If two children want to work with the same thing, they have to wait until the other child puts it back and then they can take it to their place. They learn how to share which is also very important.
Q: What is the student to teacher ratio at your school?
A: The ratio in the older classes (in the 3.5 to 6 year old’s) is 12 to 1. But in the toddlers’ class, where we have 2 to 3.5 year olds, we have a ratio of 8 to 1.
Q: Are you going to help me to potty train my child?
A: If your child is under three, we’re happy to help you with potty training. From 3 years and older, we expect them to be completely potty-trained. That explains why we have three teachers in the younger class because one is going to devote a lot of her time to help students with potty training. Then when your child is potty-trained, we ask that you continue it at home.
Q: Why are your classrooms so quiet? Is that common in a Montessori setting?
A: Children at this age have a very short attention span. So in order for the child to really be able to concentrate, he can not have a lot of noise around him. In a traditional setting, you go into a preschool or kindergarten and it’s very loud. In our Montessori school, when you enter a classroom, you’ll notice that it’s extremely quiet. We are frequently asked “How do you keep the classes so quiet?” The answer is by speaking to our students very softly. In return, they do the same. Each child works individually while being very respectful to his classmates.
Q: Will my child still get a chance to take a nap?
A: Children under five in the state of California need to nap when they come to the full-day program (for five hours or more). When they turn five, then they don’t need to nap. We give them advanced work in the afternoon to get them ready for first grade, while the young ones are napping.
Q: How can we help implement the Montessori philosophy and program at home?
A: The best way that you can support our efforts from home is to encourage your child to be independent, self-sufficient, while being very respectful toward your child. We need lots of help in the process of independence and helping your child feel self-confident. Be sure to download our free eBook: How to Create a Montessori Environment in Your Own Home. This is the perfect guide.
Q: How well do Montessori students perform in traditional classrooms once they reach first grade?
A: Montessori children do fantastically well. This will be your best investment, because you’re going to put them ahead of the game from early on. Your child is going to leave much better prepared than any child that has been in a traditional setting. They are going to be very confident, very self-secure, very independent, very motivated towards learning, very responsible, and great at doing their homework. So traditional teachers love to have our Montessori kids because they behave incredibly well and they’re ahead of the game. Most of our students will excel from the time that they go into grade school.
Q: Do you accept children at any point throughout the school year or must they start in September with you?
A: Children in our school can start at any time during the school year, as long as we have openings. It just depends on availability.
If you have additional questions or you want more information about enrollment…