Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about Montessori and our school.

The Montessori method was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Dr. Montessori was the first woman in Italy to obtain a medical degree and later became a pioneer in the field of education.

Using her scientific background and ideas from several prominent scholars of the time, she developed a theory of education based on the notion that children have the capacity to learn independently from their environment. She promoted the notion that providing children with choices of activities in a well-prepared and nurturing environment allows them to develop their innate love of learning, their independence, self-esteem, and other educational habits that will serve them a lifetime. Dr. Montessori’s legacy can still be seen today by the increasing number and popularity of Montessori schools found worldwide.

Children in Montessori programs are encouraged to learn from their environment by exploration and discovery. For this reason, the Montessori classroom is stocked with very precise and developmentally-appropriate materials that are designed to engage the child’s interest and attention on multiples levels. Children are given individual or small group lessons on how to use these materials by trained Montessori teachers. The atmosphere of the classroom is peaceful, yet busy.

The Montessori method allows them to explore independently and to learn at their own optimal pace. Using the Montessori approach, learning becomes meaningful, productive, and effective. Children are encouraged to develop their own innate love of learning instead of it being hampered by a one-size-fits-all program. They are encouraged to develop and pursue their own interests, which leads to improved motivation, concentration, confidence, and self-discipline.

Our pre-school age program, called Children’s House, is designed to promote the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of each child. An important factor in maximizing the benefits of our program for your child is consistency. Young children can be adversely affected by unpredictable and disruptive schedules. This is why we strongly recommend a five-day schedule, either in a half-day or full-day program. Having a regular classroom experience helps your child internalize rules and expectations and allows teachers to guide and monitor his progress.

Please see the above link for information on the benefits of a five-day week. If you are unable to attend five days, you may select from either a two-day schedule offered on Mondays and Tuesdays or a three-day schedule offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Four-day programs are also offered on a more flexible basis. The abbreviated-week schedules are consecutive days to assist the class in normalizing and maintaining a predictable level of stability, which benefits all of the children in the class.

Please note that despite the fact that we have grandfathered in prior schedules for returning families, we ask that you please consider switching your schedules to help us optimize the normalization of our classrooms.

Our elementary programs are individualized to address the specific needs and strengths of each student. They strongly emphasize the development of higher-order thinking skills, independence, self-confidence, creativity, and responsibility.

Students spend the day working individually, in group activities, small-group lessons, or receiving one-on-one assistance from a teacher. They create reports, give presentations, work with Montessori materials, complete collaborative group assignments, plan and arrange class field trips and activities, and much more.

Research has shown that students learn best when work is meaningful, engaging, and interesting. Our elementary programs reflect this by empowering the students with choices, tailoring hands-on assignments to include the interests of the students, and allowing them the freedom to learn and develop at their own pace. The level of responsibility and degree of choices the students have empower them to take a vested interest and a sense of ownership over their work.

There are no limits or restrictions on how far our students are able to excel! Visit the Programs page to learn more about the many benefits of a Montessori elementary education.

Our elementary programs not only meet the North Carolina Standard Course of Study but surpass the curriculum in scope of subject areas and in skills development. The Montessori curriculum is not presented in the same sequence as in traditional schools due to our ability to present the material with an interdisciplinary and integrated approach.

Our Montessori programs are designed to address the individual needs of children regardless of their abilities, interests, and background. The Montessori method allows each child to progress at his or her own optimal pace using a variety of materials, instructional techniques, and activities. Whether your child is gifted, advanced, average, or has a learning disability or delay, the Montessori approach to learning has a great deal to offer your child.

The Montessori philosophy is based on sound empirical research in child development, psychology, and sociology among other pedagogical disciplines. Montessori classrooms feature several characteristics that reflect this research.

The multi-age grouping is one of these features. The impact and efficacy of peer learning is a powerful tool that benefits both the younger and older children. The younger children have older students to look up to and learn from. The older children are able to enhance their leadership abilities and reinforce an understanding of their own skills and knowledge by sharing with younger children. Children learn to collaborate, problem-solve, and expand their social skills in a way that would not be possible in a classroom comprised of one age group.

One of the most common misconceptions of the Montessori method is that the freedom of choice in the classroom means there is little or no structure. A very popular Montessori mantra, “freedom within boundaries,” exemplifies the philosophy of how this freedom manifests itself in the class. The child’s freedom of choice may not be limited in an overt and imposing manner by the teachers, however, these limitations and guidelines do exist.

The Montessori teacher is trained to provide the guidance and maximize the potential of each child in a respectful and constructive manner. The teacher uses gentle re-direction among other strategies to ensure the children are working at their maximum potential and are actively engaged in work during the day.

In the toddler and Children’s House programs, the teachers record information relating to cognitive, social, emotional, and physical developmental milestones. The child’s academic progress is assessed based on the mastery of lessons or demonstrations that show the child has abstracted a principle or concept. Montessori’s “three-period lesson” is a cornerstone of this evaluative process.

The elementary students are also evaluated on their mastery of concepts and subject matter. Evidence of mastery is demonstrated in their ability to relay the information to the teacher or their peers using a variety of methods. All elementary students take the IOWA Standardized Tests at the end of the school year to assist in evaluating their progress, their grade equivalence, and areas of strength and weakness.

Parents are invited to two parent-teacher conferences each year where they will be given a written report. We also invite the parents twice each year to a parent-child night. These nights give the child an opportunity to become the guide for the parent and show them their accomplishments and/or present some of the materials they have been working with.

The New School has provided an excellent Montessori education since 1984. As part of our commitment to quality, we have followed up with many of our alumni to find out what, if any, transfer issues they encountered. Our students have enjoyed not only successful transfers to the various schools and colleges they entered but have excelled. Acceptance rates of our alumni into private and magnet high schools and to universities all over the country and the world are very high. The high standardized test scores of our students also assist in the ability to transfer to the schools of their choice.

We have enjoyed seeing the myriad success stories of past students whose lives we have been privileged to be a part of and are planning to add an alumni page to this website in the near future.

Montessori schools are owned or operated independently. Therefore, you may see vast differences between different schools.

There are two main organizations known worldwide that offer accreditation to schools based on various qualifying requirements. The New School is accredited by one of them, the American Montessori Society. The other organization is the Association Montessori Internationale. Accreditation by one of these organizations is a good way to ensure the school adheres to Montessori principles and to the Montessori Code of Ethics.