Why should I choose Montessori for my child?
As Dr. Maria Montessori said, “The child is the father of the man.” The purpose of the Montessori method is not only to educate the individual, but also to nurture the growing child who will one day play an important role in our society.
Montessori fosters the child’s innate passion for discovery and the ability to satisfy their curiosity through materials in the environment prepared. As the child learns that they contain the power to find knowledge, they build an inner confidence that will allow them to continue as a self-directed learner throughout their life. Indeed, as the saying goes, Montessori exemplifies the principle of “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach him to fish and he’ll eat forever.”
Montessori recognizes that children also develop physically, socially and emotionally, discovering their innate capabilities and the kind of impact they can and will have on the world around them. By interacting with a community within the classroom, children work with, help, and learn from others on a daily basis. Because students are given personal responsibilities and begin their paths to self-discovery and growth by learning to assess “What am I interested in?” and “What am I good at?”
Choosing Montessori for your child will benefit her future academic success as well as help develop the fullest potential in other facets of life.
How do you teach math and language?
In the Montessori classroom, almost all learning is hands-on. Math begins with detecting patterns and sequences, and as children grow older, they begin to learn how numbers interact with each other. Then they begin to notice how present math is in their everyday lives.
The first math materials are in the sensorial part of the classroom. These include the Pink Tower and Bead Frame. At first glance, they may seem more like toys than math work. But watching a child learn to use the Pink Tower reveals that not only are they learning to sequence and grade objects by size, but they are also learning fine motor skills and how to follow directions.
Children are taught to write before they are taught to read, as it is a direct preparation for reading. Montessori observed that children are born with the skills needed and the desire to learn how to speak and communicate through language, and therefore language learning is instinctive at an early age. Children also learn to read and understand through listening activities, and they learn to write with hands-on materials.
How do you teach art and music?
In the Montessori classroom, art is not taught as a separate subject. Colored pencils, paints, and other materials are used daily in works for diagrams and other visual representations of work (models, paintings, collages, etc). As the child gets older and more advanced with his artwork, he may wish to put more effort into learning new techniques or researching famous artists. Music is offered as any other lesson in the room. Children are taught songs from Day One and they are often repeated several times throughout the day.
Why do you start preschoolers with cursive writing?
There is a significant amount of research demonstrating the cognitive benefits of teaching cursive writing to young children. See this article. When a preschool child begins learning cursive, it requires them to recruit and train fine motor skills that writing in print or the use of a touchscreen device do not. The act of connecting letters together in cursive helps children understand how words are made. In addition, the gentle, swooping lines used to make cursive letters are more natural to children of this age to learn than straight, rigid strokes. Children who first learn to read print often have trouble with letter recognition, but with cursive writing there is very little confusion between, say, b and p or d and q. Once children have already mastered writing and identifying words, the transition to print is often graceful.
Why do you require attendance five days a week for preschoolers?
Montessori believed that establishing a role in a community was one of the most important parts of forming healthy self-esteem for a child. It helps children feel secure and gain a better understanding of who they are. Attending school five days a week helps the student begin to develop their independence and a work cycle that suits them. It lengthens their attention span and deepens their concentration, which aids in the growth of their self-confidence. All of these benefits are critical for future learning skills in your child’s future education and beyond.
What type of discipline do you use at GMA?
Self-discipline is a very important part of the Montessori Method and can benefit children both in and out of school. Therefore, disciplinary measures rarely need to be taken. But when needed, logical consequences or redirection toward new work is most often the method of choice. And, of course, corporal punishment is never used.
At what age should my child begin?
We recommend most students begin Montessori schooling between the ages of three and four-and-a-half. The type of learning that takes place in a Montessori classroom is a cumulative experience, with one year building upon skills learned in the previous years (these skills are not limited to academics but also include personal growth).
Before the age of four-and-a-half, children go through certain developmental stages known as “sensitive periods,” during which they can learn new skills and concepts very easily—like learning how to read and write, for example. This sensitivity will pass as the child grows, and once it has left, it never returns. From that point on, the child must learn because they are motivated to do so, as learning new things is no longer critical to survival.
What if my child has allergies or other food restrictions?
The Program Director should be made aware of any such issues at the time of application. GMA will strive to accommodate all students enrolled in our school, working with you to create a plan that is right for your child. If the allergy is severe or we are unable to accommodate a reasonable alternative, the child can be exempted from the school lunch program. All exemption requests are handled through the school Program Director. There are both vegetarian and vegan meal offerings daily.
Who can attend GMA?
Children between the ages of 18 months to 10 years are eligible to apply for admission. As a private school we can accept students from any district in either Kansas or Missouri.
What is Extended Day?
Our Extended Day program is very simply an extension of the Montessori time traditionally held from 8:30 AM until 11:30 AM every morning. There are actually two separate programs that allow parents to drop off children in their classroom as early as 7:30 a.m., or pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m. Children who arrive at school early can begin working with class materials as soon as they arrive, getting a head start on their day and more valuable work time! Children who stay beyond 3:45 PM will continue their day in their classroom with further Montessori lessons, enjoy outside play, and have a school-provided snack until they are picked up. See the Tuition & Fees page for more information.
Does GMA offer any extracurricular activities?
GMA believes it is important to provide opportunities for additional experiences and activities that are not provided in the classroom. Current offerings include Tippi Toes Dance, Art Explorers, French Club, Spanish Club, Chess Club, and private music classes (piano, violin, etc.).
Does GMA have a PTA?
Yes. GMA welcomes and encourages parent involvement in our school. The Parent Council provides many opportunities for parent involvement including room parents, volunteering for field trips, coordinating special events, showing teacher appreciation and fundraising.
GMA is located in a former church, is it a religious school?
GMA is not affiliated with any religion or church. In May 2014, GMA was fortunate to purchase the former Cherokee Christian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, for its school campus. Students of all faiths are welcomed at GMA.
Does GMA have a lot of fundraisers throughout the year?
As a private, non-profit school our main source of funding aside from tuition is fundraising. We have a variety of fundraising events throughout the year, offering parents and alumni a broad array of ways to help support the school. We partner with local restaurants and other vendors to make fundraising a fun and community-centered activity. We also have an annual auction which satisfies the majority of our fundraising needs each year, and is a fun way to spend an evening with other GMA parents while supporting a good cause! And of course we accept donations as well.
If you have a question that does not appear on this list, please contact the school office.