Q. What is the best age for my child to begin at Alef Bet Montessori School?
A. We accept children as early as 18 months old.
The Montessori program is a 3-year cycle (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, etc..). A child age 2 will join the first cycle, in the Toddler Class. Note that his/her cycle of 3 years (i.e. 3 – 6) starts in the next year, as he/she turns 3 years old.
Q. Shouldn’t my child just play for a few years before starting school?
A. A child’s work is play! It is play with meaningful materials. Children love to explore, examine, and discover. The Montessori method was particularly designed for these inquisitive minds. The children lose themselves in their “work” in a joyful and self-fulfilling way.
Q. How does Montessori Support Creativity?
A. In the classroom there are many elements that help the child to develop basic skills, such as pencil holding, grip, balanced movement,and hand and eye coordination. Mastering those skills serve the child in working for example with art materials to create art work or with letters to create creative writings. READ MORE.
Q. What is so important about the early years?
A. The first period in human development, from birth to age 6, is the time when the child’s character and intelligence are being formed. The child has great creative energies that are being used to develop a mind with the ability to think, understand and remember. This extraordinary power of the child is like a sponge absorbing information from the environment.
Q. Dr. Maria Montessori named this power the “absorbent mind.” Dr. Montessori used to say,
A. “Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it” (Absorbent Mind, 1995).
It is the work of the child to build the person that he/she will become and the foundation for this important self-construction is formed in the early years.
Q. Why are different ages grouped together?
A. Montessori class includes children of different ages. There is a great benefit to the children in growing in a “family like” environment. Some cousins are at different age – but we still get along well. Younger children benefit from the guidance and stimulation of older children, while older children gain additional self-esteem and independence by helping younger ones. Children can always find others who are working at their level, regardless of age. The children stay in the same class for several years, developing strong bonds with their classmates and teachers.
Q. What is the Montessori Method?
A. The Montessori Method is named after Dr. Maria Montessori. It is a method of education. Dr. Montessori developed it based on scientific observation of the child. She recognized the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. The method aids the child by emphasizing independent activity without the unnecessary help of an adult.
Q. How do we know that it works? Is there any scientific research about it?
A. Recent studies have shown that Montessori children have scored higher on different parameters in comparison to traditional school. READ HERE.
Q. Do you have a baby at home ages 0-3 years of age?
A. Check Aid To Life – Here are some Montessori principles for supporting child’s development freely available to all parents in a way that is both simple to understand and simple to apply. Click here. Further materials are available on NAMTA.
Q. What is the Child-Development Approach of Montessori?
A. The child develops his character through his action. The methods allows the child to develop independence, self-confidence, self-discipline and a love of learning, spontaneously, without the need of adult intervention. Montessori method specifically recognizes the importance of social interaction. Children are free to move in the classroom, which enhances social skills. The child is able to learn by doing and working with the numerous educational materials available to him. Since all children learn differently, they are able to work individually or in a small group, at their own pace, assuring they will not be bored or frustrated by their activities in school.
Q. Who is Maria Montessori?
A. Dr. Maria Montessori lived in Italy (1870). A pioneer in her field, she was the first woman to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori became profoundly interested in the development of young children. Through careful and exhaustive scientific observation, she realized that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment
Q. Why should I send my child to a Montessori school?
A. The “toys” or materials found in a Montessori classroom, are unique to this method. They cannot be found elsewhere in such a wealth of variety. The use of the materials is fascinating and interesting. They are stimulating. There is a reason for every item in the classroom. The classroom provides an exciting environment for the child.
Q. What is the Sensitive Period?
A. Dr. Montessori recognized that each child has “sensitive periods” of learning. Research shows, for example that the first 6 months of a new born is a “sensitive period” to develop eyes sight up to 98%. A sensitive period is the time when the child has an intense interest and ability in acquiring a particular skill. His will to learn is particularly important during these sensitive periods. An AMI trained Montessori teacher detects those sensitive periods, and introduces relevant materials to the child. Your child will be able to choose when and how to work with the many Montessori materials that will aid in her mental and social development.
Q. Do you have a Kindergarten Program?
A. Yes, Kindergarten is the culmination of the Alef Bet Montessori Primary program. In this final year (of the Primary class), the child uses the very familiar materials that were introduced in past years, but in advanced ways geared for primary-school level curricula. The child shares work and lessons with the smaller children in the class, solidifying all the knowledge they have learned in the past years and developing them into group leaders. Kindergartners truly feel confident, secure and independent with high self-esteem. There is a real graduation ceremony at the end of the year to mark this important milestone.
Q. Does this open Montessori environment let children wander about aimlessly?
A. Montessori is highly individualized and yet group activities are found everywhere. It is also structured, with clearly defined procedures, purposeful activities, and oversight from the teachers. A child wandering aimlessly will be redirected by a staff member, gently, and find an interesting “work” or join a friend in an activity.
Q. Do children get to socialize and make friendships?
A. It is of the utmost importance that children also experience their classroom as a place where they can develop socially. In our classroom, they are free to move about and relate to other children in conversation and in their play.
Q. How does a child learn Social Skills?
A. The teachers show genuine respect to each child. The children, in turn, model this behavior in their social interactions. A special characteristic of the Pre-K & Kindergarten program is that the classroom encompasses the areas of learning and socializing. Teachers take the time to teach Grace and Courtesy lessons.
Q. What do children learn in the Primary class?
A. Children learn important social skills, grace and courtesy, reading, writing, language, mathematics, geography, science, history, music and Hebrew – using many manipulative materials in the room and through teacher guidance.
Q. Will my child be able to adjust to a traditional school after this one?
A. Studies have shown that Montessori preschool and Kindergarten graduates make a smooth transition to any elementary program they go on to attend. They enter elementary school with curiosity, self-discipline, initiative, persistence, concentration, and a positive attitude toward school.
Q. Is there a Montessori Program beyond Preschool?
A. Montessori education does not have to end with the preschool experience. It continues into a child’s elementary and even adolescent years.
Q. What is Montessori Elementary Education?
A. The Montessori elementary environment responds to the elementary-aged child’s expanding view of the universe. Children learn in a class of multi age group of 1st grade – 3rd grade and 4th grad – 6th grad. Some of the same materials from the preschool classroom are present, to be used in more complex ways according to the child’s development. In addition, many new materials are introduced as the child moves toward abstract thinking, developing his imagination to embrace concepts larger than his immediate environment.
Q. Is Alef Bet Montessori School affiliated with a particular religion?
A. We are a Jewish school with a Judaic program. We celebrate the Jewish holidays, we put an emphasis on the Hebrew language, we embrace the festivities in Israel and the connection between our heritage to Israel. We are not affiliated with any particular synagogue, however, our method of teaching is traditional. We honor our differences and will adhere to standards that will make all parents feel comfortable. It is part of our tradition to celebrate Shabbat and we are inviting our students’ families to share their customs with us. Our students learn about spirituality, love, kindness, and develop self identity through stories and lessons from Jewish culture.
School Hashkafa: Miriam Singer is the Judaic Director and is currently a teacher at the Alef Bet Montessori School. Yosef Singer, her husband, is the Rav of Young Israel Ezras Israel, an Orthodox Congregation in Potomac, Maryland, and functions as the spritual advisor and Halachic authority for the School. The day to day involvement of Rebbetzin Singer, as well as the guidance of Rabbi Singer, insures that the School maintain hashkafic and halachic practice consistent with the Orthodox standards.
Q. Does the School have a Parent Committee?
A. Our school has a very active Parents Committee. Parents get together to plan social events for the school, such as a Shabbaton Dinner (where the school’s parents cook the dinner together and enjoy a family-friendly Shabbat service and children’s program). Other events include: an Ice Cream Social, Purim Party, and our Annual Fundraiser event – Chocolate Extravaganza. The fun doesn’t stop when school lets out as parents also form after-school activities such as, soccer and karate.
Q. Do You offer Before and After Care?
A. We do not offer Before Care. The school hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parents can drop off their child as early as 8:30 a.m. We believe that a child at a young age needs to be with a provider one-on-one after several hours spent with other children. There should be some “down time” for the child after the school ends. Continuing After Care does not serve that purpose. Check our Tuition Schedule for information about available After Care/Extended Day Program from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Q. What Is AMI?
A. Dr. Maria Montessori opened a Center for Montessori training in Laren, Netherlands in 1938 and founded a series of teacher training courses in India in 1939. The training Center is called Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). This Center continues today to train teachers around the world. While Montessori education is not a trademark or franchise, AMI is the only Center that was established by Dr. Montessori herself.
AMI has a branch in the U.S., AMI-USA, and is the main center for our school’s teacher training and assistant teacher training. One of AMI main objectives is: “Spreading and upholding the pedagogical principles and practice formulated by Dr. Montessori, which ensures the independence of the child’s personality through successive stages of growth until he reaches full, normal development by means of his own activity.” For more information on AMI, click here.