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American Montessori Society | International Montessori Council  

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Montessori Education

We are always happy to answer your questions about Montessori education and our school. We encourage observations and ask that you contact the school to schedule a time to visit our classrooms. You can reach us by phone at 703-481-2922 or at the e-mail address listed below. The best time to call us is on school days between 9AM – 4PM, Eastern Time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We gathered some of the commonly and frequently asked questions and tried to answer them here for the benefit of our visitors. 

Why Montessori method as opposed to traditional method?

Five key benefits of Montessori education that do not seem to exist with the traditional methods are as follows:

1. Montessori moves from ‘Concrete’ approach to ‘Abstract’ aproach.

2. Montessori facilitates a natural love for learning.

 3. Montessori seeks to educate the whole child.

4. Montessori abstain from rewards.

5. Montessori focusses on the individual child and their potential.

Importance of Kindergarten year in a Montessori classroom

Traditional kindergarten certainly has benefits and some children do better in that environment. However, there are numerous advantages to keeping your child in a Montessori program for their third year.

1. Lessons of the first two years come together
2. Becoming a leader for the younger students
3. Support from a familiar teacher and classmates

For more information, leave us a message

How much does the course cost per child?

The fee changes depending on the child’s age and class.  for complete information on fees and class hours, please check on this page for details.

Does RMS offer before-and-after care?

Sure, we do offer “Before-and-After care” to children. For complete details, please check on this page.

Are there special Academic Therapy services availiable at RMS?

Yes, we do have the additional services through a network of professionals providing Academic therapy, more details.

Is Montessori a franchise?

No. Montessori is a method of education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy. The first school based on her methods opened in Rome, Italy in 1907.

Most Montessori Schools in the United States are private schools. These private schools follow many different administrative models: sole proprietorship; board directed; parent cooperative; charter.

There are private Montessori schools that are affiliated with a particular religion and some that serve special needs children. For-Profit and Not-for-Profit are tax designations rather than a statement on whether or not a business shows a profit.

There are both For-profit and not-for-profit Montessori schools in the US. There are an increasing number of Montessori programs in public schools across the US.

In the Washington area, there in public programs in the school systems of Arlington County, Prince Georges County and Washington, D.C.

My friend told me that Montessori allows a child to do whatever he wants for as long as he wants to do it. Is that true?

Yes and no! A child may choose to work with any activity in which he/she has had a lesson. A child may ask for a lesson from an adult or another child.

If the work the child chooses is inappropriate for his/her developmental stage, the adult will direct the child to an activity which has elements that have drawn the child’s interest and which is a foundation for what the child wants to do.
If a child chooses to do work that someone else is doing, the child who has the work may, but does not have to, share his/her work (some work is meant for only one child at a time.)

A child may work with an activity as long as he/she wants under the following conditions:

  • Sometimes a child works with the same activity every day for a long period of time.
  • It is up to the teacher (and it is part of her/his training) to observe why the child is exhibiting this particular behavior.
  • It may be that the child is afraid to move on to a more challenging piece of work, and it is then the role of the teacher to invite the child to have a lesson on the next level of the activity.
    One way to do this is to tell the child when he/she enters the classroom in the morning that you would like to give him/her a lesson on a particular activity.
  • The teacher may ask the child if he/she wants to do it first or second. The child will almost always say second, but will then come for the lesson later in the morning.
  • Sometimes a child works with the same activity every day for a long period of time because he/she wishes to socialize with a friend and if he/she has some work out, the teacher isn’t going to say: “You need to get some work out.”
  • The need to socialize may be the child’s most important developmental need at this time.
  • It would be up to the teacher to allow the child a reasonable amount of time with the activity and then suggest that the child put that work away and choose another piece of work.
  • The child may choose new work and go back to socializing with the same friend but at least the child is not monopolizing materials that he/she is not focused on.
How does the teacher know when to direct a child to new activities?

The Montessori teacher’s training is different from that of traditional early childhood and elementary teachers in that a great deal of emphasis is on observation. The teacher spends a part of every day just observing the children, and the assistants are asked to share their observations with the teacher as well. On occasion the teacher will spend the day as a “watching day” where the children know that his/her work for that day is to observe.

Other ways for the teacher to know that a child is ready for a new lesson include: the child asking for a lesson, another child asking if he/she my give a lesson (the children are frequently keen observers of each other), and information supplied by parents and caregivers. The teacher is but a partner in the child’s education, and communication among all of those concerned with the child’s development allows the teacher to design the environment to meet each child’s needs.

 

Should I keep my child in Montessori as he graduates to higher grade levels?

The benefits of Montessori—the emphasis on independent learning, for example, and the warm, supportive community—continue to be important at each stage of development as children grow into lifelong learners and responsible citizens of the world. As your child matures in her school activities so will her independence, problem-solving abilities, social maturity, and academic skills.

At the higher levels levels, Montessori programs combine rigorous student-centered academic studies with purposeful work—often including out-of-classroom excursions such as service learning, internships, outdoor education, and entrepreneurship designed to cultivate global citizenship and civic responsibility—preparing students to become contributing adults who are self-confident and possess the skills needed to thrive as active citizens in society.

To assess what is best for your child’s next stage of development, speak with his teacher to discuss your child’s learning strengths, interests, and areas for development, and your –and the school’s—learning goals for him. Observe the higher-level classroom environments to see, firsthand, what your child will experience as she grows and ask to speak with parents of children in the next level to learn about their experiences.

 

Why 5 days a week?

Two- and three-day programs are often attractive to parents who do not need full-time care; however, five-day programs create the consistency that is so important to young children and which is essential in developing strong Montessori programs. Since the primary goal of Montessori involves creating a culture of consistency, order, and empowerment, most Montessori schools will expect children to attend five days a week.

What is a Montessori school?

Montessori schools grew out of the scientific theories of Dr. Maria Montessori. She was a medical doctor, an anthropologist, and an educational researcher. She opened the first Montessori school in 1907. After extensive observations of students in her schools, she concluded that children who are placed in a carefully prepared environment are highly motivated to learn and will teach themselves. In Montessori schools, children can freely choose from many age-appropriate activities designed to teach specific skills. One hundred years after the first casa dei bambini (“children’s house”) opened in Rome, Montessori schools for children of all ages are found around the world. There are at least 4,000 certified Montessori schools in the United States and about 7,000 worldwide. Over 200 public school systems in the U.S. have Montessori programs.

What is the difference between a Montessori class and a traditional class?

Children in Montessori classes move freely around the room, choose their own work and learn at their own, individual pace. They learn the same kinds of things as children in traditional classes, but learning occurs through self-paced, hands-on activities rather than teacher-directed lessons and follow up seat work. The primary goal of Montessori classes is to help children learn concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Rather than providing direct instruction, Montessori teachers guide children to exciting moments of discovery, and works to create a non-competitive learning community in which children spontaneously share their knowledge with each other.

Another difference is that Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups. The combined preschool and kindergarten class has children age 3 to 6 years (PK-K); the lower elementary class has children ages 6 to 9 years (1st-3rdgrade)

Why does Montessori have mixed aged groups?

Mixed age groups free children to enjoy their own accomplishments rather than comparing themselves to others. Older children provide leadership and guidance, and benefit from the satisfaction of helping others. Younger children are encouraged by attention and help from older children. They learn through observation of older children. At the same time, older children reinforce and clarify their knowledge by sharing it with younger ones. Children easily learn to respect others,and at the same time develop respect for their own individuality. This interaction of different age children offers many occasions for building community, as well as nurturing the development of self-esteem. This encourages positive social interaction and cooperative learning.

With mixed age groups and individualized teaching how do Montessori teachers keep track of all the children?

The Montessori method is based on scientific observation. A key aspect of a Montessori teacher’s training is learning how to systematically observe when a child reveals an especially strong interest towards a piece of knowledge or skill. Teachers observe for children’s independence, self-reliance, self-discipline, love of work, concentration and focus. They also observe for the mood of the class – an overview of the mood of the whole class as well as the mood of individual children.

In addition to keeping observation notes, teachers keep records of lessons presented to individual children and record children’s progress in working toward mastery of skills.

Is Montessori for all children? What kind of student will do well in Montessori?

Montessori education has been used successfully for nearly 100 years with children of all socio-economic levels, of all academic abilities, and from all ethnic backgrounds. No single educational approach can work for all children, and there may be some children who do better with more teacher-directed instruction, fewer choices and more consistent external structure. In general, any child who can become engaged with a toy, game, or topic (dinosaurs, space, animals) and spend time exploring it and concentrating on it if left uninterrupted, should do well in Montessori.

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