1. How does Walden assess whether Montessori is a good fit for my child?
We generally do not require assessments of children ages four or younger. However, we do encourage you to proactively let us know of any concerns you may have for your child, or any special needs you are aware of, so we can discuss placement options. Older Preschool children entering late in the 2nd year or directly into the Kindergarten year of our Preschool Program (Preschool/Kindergarten, ages 2.5–6) are asked to come in for a brief visit, which may consist of some time with a teacher, as well as participation in some individual and group classroom activities, usually over the course of 30 minutes.
2. Why does Walden recommend five days a week?
Three day programs are often attractive to parents whose children do not yet have the stamina for the full day preschool program; however, five day programs create the consistency that we believe is important at this early, formative age. In the Montessori approach to education, consistency is extremely important in developing the child’s sense of order, responsibility and empowerment. The idea is that the more consistency now, the better the foundation for learning in the future. Please note that the five full day program is strongly encouraged for students once they turn four years old.
3. Why does Walden encourage a three year commitment?
A three year commitment to Walden is strongly encouraged to fully benefit from the experience. The Montessori classroom, with a multi-age environment, was designed to have children participate in the various stages of development. When children first enter a Montessori classroom, they are effectively the youngest. They learn from their older peers, who model best practices, as they serve as role models, mentors and helpers, remembering what it was like to have once been the youngest. Having the opportunity to exercise leadership skills provides valuable life lessons.
4. Why Walden Montessori for Kindergarten?
Montessori has been consistently acclaimed as one of the most developmentally appropriate models available in the world for early childhood and elementary education. The primary reason to keep your child in Montessori for Kindergarten is to complete this maturation process, from the youngest student in the classroom to the oldest student in the classroom. Not only will children have the opportunity to completely develop academically, they will also have the opportunity to grow socially. As Maria Montessori says, the child is like a flower that needs to be tended. Once it starts to bloom, it must continue to be stimulated and cared for, as it has been from the very start. Science continues to validate the procedures and methods Montessori invented and that have been in practice for over one hundred years.
5. What does a typical day in the classroom look like?
When your child arrives in the morning, we ask that you say your "goodbye" at the door and let your child come into the classroom on their own. We encourage them to be responsible for their belongings and to hang up their backpack and coat on their own. These are the beginning lessons for fostering independence and your support is helpful. We usually have group time in the morning and afternoon, when we give lessons, show new materials, sing songs, read aloud, have discussions, etc. The classroom environment is prepared to promote independence. The inherent values in the Montessori method are freedom of choice, self-discipline, respect of the environment, trust, and peace. The focus is on the process, not the product. There are no time limits on work, and the rewards are internal. It’s the innate wonder and curiosity rewarded with pure joy. Each individual work is not shared with others. Each child is responsible for the work they choose. Children learn to wait for a favorite work and to make sure that it is taken care of and is ready for the next child. Collaboration and cooperation occurs naturally within the classroom community.
Lunch is a wonderful opportunity for children to socialize and practice good manners. After recess, full day students will have a story time. This allows them the time they need to refocus for the afternoon. We typically read a chapter book which encourages the children to follow along with a story over several days.
The afternoons offer additional work time and group lessons with the teacher. Additional subjects in the afternoon are: Kindergarten Art (Preschool children have art lessons incorporated the classroom), and Kindergarten Fitness.