Montessori Educational Centers
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Frequently Asked Questions

What ages do you accept?
Montessori Educational Centers educates and cares for children ages 6 weeks through 6th grade.

How many days per week is your program? What schedules do you offer?
Our program is 5 days per week, Monday - Friday. Recognizing the community’s need for extended hours, we are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Full Time 7:00am - 6:00pm
Toddlers: 18 months - 3 years  
School Day 8:30am - 3:00pm
Full Time 7:00am - 6:00pm
Primary: 3 years - Kindergarten  
School Day 8:30am - 3:00pm
Full Time 7:00am - 6:00pm
Elementary: 1st - 6th Grade  
School Day 8:30am - 3:30pm
Full Time 7:00am - 6:00pm

Why don't you offer 2 or 3 day programs?
We feel it is important to keep the child's schedule as consistent as possible. Our past experiences have shown us that children who attend less than five days tend to have a more difficult time transitioning into and settling into their day. They have a harder time developing relationships and do not get the full value of the education we offer.

What can I expect when I observe a Montessori classroom?
The unique environment of the Montessori classroom can be surprising when you first observe. The independence of the children is very evident; look for students choosing their own work, preparing snack by themselves, putting away their work without being asked, and assisting other students needing help. This self discipline and independence is fostered through a long and patient process. None of the children in the classroom behave in this manner prior to coming to Montessori. Your child does not need to be exceptionally disciplined at home or have any academic experience before attending MEC. The Montessori philosophy is founded on the principle that every child can succeed.

What makes Montessori a unique learning experience for children?

The foundation of all American Montessori Society accredited Montessori programs is adherence to Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophies regarding the education of the “whole child.” The methods are founded in decades of research, and the results continue to receive acclaim in numerous current research studies.

  • Here are just a few of the differentiators:
  • Children initiate their own learning based on their unique learning style, and their exploration is supported by highly trained teachers
  • Children engage in independent, self-directed learning as well as in small and large group activities within a multi-age classroom
  • The environment of each classroom, including the types and locations of multi-sensory resources and activities, is meticulously organized and maintained to provide optimal learning conditions for students of all ages.
  • Children are given the freedom to explore their interests, within a carefully monitored structure, with teachers helping to facilitate that exploration.
  • Goals of the program are to help children develop:

    - Respect for others and the environment
    - Self-esteem and self-confidence
    - Self-discipline
    - Coordination
    - Independence
    - Social skills
    - Emotional growth
    - Cognitive preparation

For more information about the Montessori philosophy, please call us. You can also learn more here.

What is the benefit of a multi-age classroom?
The multi-year span in each class provides a family-like grouping where learning can take place naturally. Because this peer group is intrinsic to Montessori, there are more language experiences and conversations in the Montessori classroom than in conventional child care settings. Multi-aged children enjoy mutually beneficial relationships. Because there are varying age and ability levels in each classroom, children can be working at whatever level they are capable of without competing against each other. In addition, they tend to grasp concepts much more quickly because they are exposed to so much at a younger age and not only given what is deemed as "age-appropriate lessons". Lastly, older children get an opportunity to reinforce many of their newly found skills by showing a younger child which helps them experiencing leadership within the classroom.

I have heard that children in Montessori classrooms are relatively unsupervised and are allowed to "do whatever they want." Is this true?
Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If a child is being destructive or is using materials in an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material. In the elementary classroom, teachers keep a daily log of each student's progress and are able to redirect activities very easily in order to meet curriculum requirements.

What is the role of the Montessori teacher?
The Montessori teacher (commonly known as a Directress) carefully plans and prepares the environment in the interest of the children. She facilitates the classroom activity and helps guide the children in a progression from one activity to the next. She is trained to work with each child individually, allowing the child to choose from many activities within their range of ability. She observes while the children are working and allows them the satisfaction of their own discovery.

How does a teacher earn Montessori accreditation?

Most of the teachers at the Montessori Educational Centers received their training from the Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute, founded by Dr. LaVonne Plambeck in Omaha in 1972. Training involves both an academic component, as well as a nine-month internship working under master teachers.

Teachers not only study the early childhood curriculum and philosophies of Dr. Maria Montessori, they also:

  • Compare the Montessori methods to other education approaches
  • Study the most current research regarding basic theories, states and areas of child development
  • Explore the complex interaction between heredity and environment
  • Discover how to observe, record and analyze a child’s physical, motor, social-emotional and cognitive development

Those who seek a teaching certificate with emphasis in Montessori may do so through a partnership between MAMTTI and Plymouth College.

How do you handle discipline and behavior problems?

Because we have a mixed age group, discipline develops naturally through the guidance of older students. The desire to imitate the positive behavior of a five-year-old is a strong influence on a three-year-old.

We stress consideration for people and property and help the children absorb the rules and our values right from the start. Our ultimate goal is always for the student to love learning! When occasional behavior challenges do arise, we handle them in an age-appropriate way with firm sensitivity. We make certain that the rules are clear and consequences fair and consistent. We primarily use redirection as an appropriate response to most instances. If the situation escalates, the child will be asked to “sit out” until he or she gains self-control and is able to act appropriately, follow directions, or show respect for people and property. We Never engage in any physical punishment or shaming!

We keep lines of communication open with parents. If the situation warrants, we work with parents to address ongoing behavior issues. We also encourage parents to talk to us about behavioral challenges they are seeing at home, ones we may not see at school. Working together, parents and teachers make a great team.

Are Montessori schools religious in nature?
Some Montessori schools, just like other schools, operate under the auspices of the church, synagogue, or diocese. Montessori Educational Centers is not affiliated with any religious organization.

What are the benefits of keeping my child in Montessori through his/her Kindergarten year?
This is a fair question, and it deserves careful consideration. The following article, Why Montessori for the Kindergarten Year, written by Tim Seldin with Dr. Elizabeth Coe offers an excellent answer.

Will it be hard for my child to transition to traditional school?
When the time comes to move into a more traditional school environment, Montessori children usually adapt very well. Our programs are designed to help children develop positive self-images and confidence so they can face challenges and change with optimism. The Montessori environment helps build self-esteem, which research has shown to be a key predictor for future success.

Can you recommend any books that would give me a more in-depth look into the Montessori philosophy?

The Secret of Childhood - by Dr. Maria Montessori

The Absorbent Mind - by Dr. Maria Montessori

Montessori in the Classroom - by Paula Polk Lillard

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius - by Angeline Lillard

I would like to visit one of your schools. Who do I contact for an appointment?
We encourage all families to tour and observe a classroom prior to enrollment. You can contact our Administrative Office at (402) 393-1311 or Contact Us.

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