About OakHaven Montessori School
- Is OakHaven a religious school?
No. OakHaven is not affiliated with any specific religion. Our emphasis on developing individual character while fostering interdependence with all of life lends a very holistic and spiritual dimension to this very loving and nurturing community. Cultural and religious variety abound at OakHaven, adding to the rich texture of our school.
- At what age do you recommend starting a child in Montessori?
Enrollment in Primary normally occurs between the ages of 2½ and 4. Children older than 4 will be considered on an individual basis.
- Do you have a kindergarten program?
Yes. Kindergarten is included in the Montessori Primary program, which is for children 3-6 years old. The final year of Primary school is the child’s kindergarten year.
- Is this a year-round program?
No, the school program operates during the traditional school year. However, we do offer Montessori summer camp for primary students at an additional cost.
- Can my child come three days a week?
No, we only offer a five-day program during the academic year. Summer camp for children 2 ½ through 6, however, does offer two, three or five day options.
- What is the daily schedule?
7:30—8:15 Students in our Before School Care program arrive.
8:15—8:30 All other students arrive.
8:30—11:15 Children receive individual or small group lessons and busily work at becoming skilled at the activities they have learned in previous lessons. They may be exploring in the classroom or outdoors in our beautiful yard or tending to their gardens.
11:15—11:30 Children set the tables for an 11:30 lunch.
11:30 Dismissal for half day students. Lunch for all remaining students.
12:00—1:00 After cleaning up their lunch dishes, children enjoy outdoor play time.
1:00 Dismissal for two-thirds day students.
1:00–3:00 Full day Primary students younger than about 4 1/2 years old move to our cozy nap room. The older Primary children and the Elementary children continue their classroom studies in the afternoon.
3:00—3:30 The Primary children are always excited to have Spanish lessons. (Elementary students study Spanish throughout the day as part of their everyday life in the classroom.)
3:30—5:30 Students in the After School Care program are dismissed.
- How many children will be in a class?
Each of our two Primary classes (2 ½ -6 years) has from 20-25 children (leaving room for mid-year additions of new students). Our Elementary classes (grades 1-6) can accommodate a total of 35-40 students.
- How many adults are in each classroom?
Each Primary and Elementary class has one teacher and one assistant. In traditional school environments all things are directed by and focused around the teacher. The child centered Montessori environment teaches children self control, self respect, and self reliance, allowing the adult role to be minimized.
- What special education do your teachers have?
After completing traditional schooling, teachers at OakHaven have been 100% certified by the Association Montessori Internationale (A.M.I.), the worldwide organization that assures that our faculty is expert at understanding and guiding children through the Montessori curriculum. This training is an intensive nine month, master’s level program. Refresher courses are held annually. Additionally, all of OakHaven’s faculty and staff have been trained in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, are CPR and First Aid certified and have passed a thorough background check and physical exam.
- Does OakHaven offer foreign language studies?
Yes. Spanish is taught in daily classes to children in the Primary full day program. At the Elementary level, Spanish is interwoven throughout the day by our bi-lingual Elementary teacher.
- Do OakHaven students wear uniforms?
Yes. Uniform shirts are purchased through our online store. The Parent Handbook outlines guidelines for choosing the remainder of the child’s clothing.
- Are meals included?
OakHaven is renowned for its dedication to nutrition and health.
Primary: Each morning, Primary children enjoy a healthy snack that is available to them from 9:15 until 11:00. Glycemically balanced lunches are provided.
Elementary: Students bring their own healthy lunches or prepare lunch as a group.
After School Care Program: Students in this program share an afternoon snack that we provide.
- How do you address special dietary needs in your Primary school lunch program?
Our food director provides alternative options for children with special dietary needs due to religious beliefs, vegetarian preferences or food allergies. In severe cases where it is impractical for us to provide appropriate choices, we are happy to work with parents to have them send select foods. Elementary children bring their own lunches.
- How am I, as a parent, invited to participate in my child’s life at school?
Parents at OakHaven are very involved in their children’s education and in our school community. Dynamic parent education nights occur 5-6 times throughout the school year. Private Parent –Teacher conferences with comprehensive written reports take place each semester. Parents are encouraged to observe frequently in their child’s classroom. Teachers stay in contact by phone or email to assure that parents are up to date on how their child is doing. A variety of fun social events for families takes place throughout the school year. Along with an abundance of parent volunteer opportunities, all these keep our parents very much a part of their child’s life at school and keep our OakHaven community unparalleled.
- Where do OakHaven graduates go?
The majority of our Primary students choose to remain at OakHaven for Elementary school. Some others have moved to public schools, parochial schools or traditional private schools. From the reports we receive, all have made the transition well and are continuing to thrive in their development
About Montessori Education
- Montessori classrooms look so different…. Where are the students’ desks? Where do teachers stand?
The different arrangement of a Montessori classroom mirrors the Montessori method’s differences from traditional education. Rather than putting the teacher at the focal point of the class, with children dependent on her for information and activity, the classroom shows a literally child-centered approach. Children work at tables or on floor mats where they can spread out their materials, and the teacher circulates about the room, giving lessons or resolving issues as they arise.
- Aren’t Montessori children free to do whatever they want in the classroom?
How do you ensure each one gets a fully rounded education?
Montessori children are free to choose within limits, and have only as much freedom as they can handle with appropriate responsibility. The classroom teacher and assistant ensure that children do not interfere with each other, and that each child is progressing at her appropriate pace in all subjects.
- Montessori is a pre-school system, isn’t it?
Montessori schools may be best known for their programs with young children, but the underlying educational method describes programs for students through elementary, middle, and high school. Two of our three sister schools in the metropolitan area have middle schools. Presently there are no Montessori High Schools in the immediate area, but plans are brewing.
- Are Montessori schools as academically rigorous as traditional schools?
Yes. Montessori classrooms encourage deep learning of the concepts behind academic skills rather than rote practice of abstract techniques. The success of Montessori students appears in the experiences of the alumni, who compete successfully with traditionally educated students.
- Without objective measurements like grades, how do you assess a Montessori child’s performance?
We know the children and we watch them. Parents of children at all levels at OakHaven Montessori School meet at least twice a year in conference with their children’s teachers to learn more about classroom work and behavior. Classroom teachers keep extensive records of lessons given and work practiced, and also offer the benefit of t heir individualized observations of the child’s work in the classroom.
- How do Montessori graduates fare in the real world, where they don’t always set the agenda?
Increasingly, the world of modern education and business favors creative thinkers who combine personal initiative with strong collaborative skills: exactly the characteristics which Montessori education nurtures. Cultural movers and shakers from Julia Child to the founders of Google, Amazon, and Wikipedia have spoken of how their childhood experiences in Montessori gave them not only the ability to work cooperatively in existing settings, but also the skills of confidence, creativity, and communication needed to make innovative and ground-breaking changes.
- How well do Montessori children transition to traditional schooling?
Of course, each child is an individual and will respond to change in his or her own way. But here are some common traits of Montessori children, traits that cause them to adapt to new environments with ease:
They are comfortable in their own skin. OakHaven grads have grown up in a nurturing culture that encourages self-motivation, independent thinking, and the experience of taking on big challenges—all great preparation for whatever life has in store for them. Such healthy self-acceptance lays the groundwork for honoring differences and practicing tolerance.
They are lifelong explorers. Taught how to learn, they love (and never stop) learning. The result is strong academic performance long after they leave OakHaven. Gaining knowledge does not feel like a chore; rather, it is the natural, rewarding result of their own curiosity.
They are fun to be around. Their enthusiasm, civility, and respect for others are contagious. Much of their education has been built on social skills like getting along with and learning from all kinds of people; collaborating to resolve conflicts; and approaching life with open minds and open hearts.
They have good character. What is valued most in an OakHaven classroom? Responsibility. Cooperation. Compassion. Ethical behavior. Stewardship of their community, the environment, the world. No OakHaven student is an island.
They are Montessorians for life. Most OakHaven graduates stay in touch with their “family” here. The self-confidence and resourcefulness they learned here, the enduring relationships they formed here, and their constructive work habits are lessons that never stop shaping who they are and who they hope to be.
- Does Montessori education work well for all children?
We find that most children develop exponentially in a Montessori environment, but each child must be viewed as an individual when assessing this or any educational system.
- Since Montessori classrooms emphasize non-competitiveness, how are students adequately prepared for real-life competition later on?
Montessori classrooms emphasize competition with oneself: self-monitoring, self-correction, and a variety of other executive skills aimed at continuous improvement. Students typically become comfortable with their strengths and learn how to address their weaknesses. In older classes, students commonly participate in competitive activities with clear “winners” in which students give their best performances while simultaneously encouraging peers to do the same. It is a healthy competition in which all contenders are content that they did their best in an environment with clear and consistent rules.