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Frequently Asked Questions

Preschool is often the first experience a child has of being away from his parent.  It is very common for parents to have questions about everything from how to say goodbye to what their child will be learning in school.  If you have a question which is not answered here, please feel free to contact us by email or phone.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

WHAT IS MONTESSORI?

Montessori refers to a method of teaching designed by Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori was born in Italy in 1870. She became the first woman to earn a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Rome in 1896. She then began to work with children with various degrees of mental illnesses and disabilities. By 1906, she took the methods she developed for working with special needs children and began to use them to teach children who were considered to be mentally normal. She was the first educator to use child-sized equipment and furniture in a classroom. She developed the theory of "following the child" where the environment and work available is changed based on the interests of the children in the classroom at the time. She implemented the ideas of allowing children to choose work themselves and giving them uninterrupted work time to help them develop their concentration. She believed the teacher should be an observer and should be there to help direct children in the direction that was best for each individual. Maria Montessori trained other teachers in her methods, many of which are used in non-Montessori schools today. Children's Montessori Preschool embraces the Montessori ideals of following the individual child and the teacher's role as observer and guider of the students. We follow each student's ability and interests in helping to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond. We have integrated more recent child development theories into our curriculum, making our program a hybrid of the best of Montessori philosophy and current modern teaching methods.

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WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO SEND WITH MY CHILD?

All the school supplies your child will need for the year are purchased by the school. However, each child needs to have an extra set of clothing (including socks and underwear) labeled with his/her name that will stay at school. This is in case your child needs to change due to spilling something on his clothes or after a bathroom accident. Students also need a pair of slippers, such as a pair of crocs, to change into during classtime. The slippers should allow your child to sit comfortably on the floor cross-legged.

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HOW SHOULD MY CHILD DRESS FOR SCHOOL?

Please help your child toward success and independence by providing clothing that he can do by himself. Sometimes an outfit may be cute, but accidents occur if a child can't get out of it to use the restroom. Your child's clothing should be practical for the day's weather conditions and should be items that can be easily laundered should they get dirty during the learning process. All children should have an extra set of clothing labeled with their names in case they should need to change while at school.

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WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SAY GOODBYE TO MY CHILD?

You and your child will become familiar with the school environment at your first visit, therefore we recommend when you bring your child to school you make your goodbye as brief as possible. A prolonged farewell can create uncertainty and unnecessary difficulty in separating from the parent. Here are some tips to help your child when it's time to say goodbye in the morning: *Let your child walk from the gate onto the playground or into the building. Carrying your child sends him the message that he is too young to be away from mom or dad. Giving your child a sense of independence will help him build the self-confidence to say goodbye without crying. *Make your goodbye a consistent, repetitive procedure. Do your parent jobs while your child does his jobs. Our program is designed to help foster independence in the students. Giving them jobs helps draw them into the classroom environment and takes their minds off the fact that mommy or daddy is leaving. Establishing a routine helps children learn to anticipate what is coming next, and knowing what is happening helps them feel safe and self-confident. *Avoid the "sneak away". Never leave without saying goodbye to your child. Children may become frightened if mommy or daddy has suddenly disappeared. Over time, this can damage your child's trust in you. If your child is trying to prolong the goodbye, our staff may try to distract your child by giving them lessons or drawing their attention to something in the classroom. In this case, it is perfectly ok to walk away while your child is engaged with the teacher. *Reassure your child that he or she will have lots of fun at school, and mommy/daddy will always come back. With this age group, you often get exactly the behavior you expect to get. If you believe your child will be able to say goodbye without crying, that is what will happen. If you are apprehensive that your child might cry, he or she will feel that apprehension and interpret it as you not being comfortable leaving him or her in our care. Your behavior and expectations will determine your child's behavior and success at school.

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WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE EACH DAY?

While the weather is warm, we start each day with outside time on our playground. This time is very important for the social development of the children, and makes it easier for children to say goodbye to their parents. We then proceed inside for group time. We sing songs, play instruments, play games,and give lessons on work from the classroom and in foreign languages. This is also the time when children take turns giving the weather report and having show and tell. After group time, children are allowed to choose work from the traditional Montessori areas of the main classroom: Practical Life, Math, Language, and Sensorial. Children may also choose to look at books in the library or explore their creative side at the art center. Around 10:15 each day the children share snack together. This gives children the opportunity to interact with one another and work on their social skills, including using manners. Following snack, we have another work time in our second classroom. This room features works from various areas of study including science, zoology, botany, history, health and fitness, and geography. Children can also work on their socialization skills in the role playing areas of the grocery store, play house and grooming center. Each day at 11:00, we go outside to the playground. Children are picked up from the playground at 11:30. Lunch is from 11:45 - 12:30. Preparation for nap time, including cleaning up and brushing teeth takes place from 12:30-12:45. Story time is from 12:45 - 1:00. Nap time is 1:00-3:00. The rest of the afternoon includes another 30 minute outside time, snack, and games and other activities until pickup.

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CAN MY CHILD BRING ITEMS FROM HOME?

Please discourage your child from bringing items from home unless it is his or her sharing day. Sharing items can be anything from a favorite stuffed animal to a book on a topic we are currently studying in class. Items must be small enough to fit in our sharing bucket and should be something your child is comfortable describing to the class. Sharing time is designed to help children become comfortable talking in front of his peers, so he should be able to answer questions about his sharing item such as "what is it?" and "where did it come from?" Please do not allow your child to bring toy weapons for sharing.

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CAN I COME OBSERVE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY?

We maintain an open door policy in regard to our classroom. However, we ask that visits be short, as some children have a hard time seeing someone else's mommy in the classroom and begin to cry for their own mom. Observers should come and watch and try to minimize interactions with the students as much as possible to get a true idea of what happens in our classroom each day.

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DOES THE SCHOOL TAKE FIELD TRIPS?

While field trips can be a valuable educational experience for elementary school-aged children, preschool age children benefit most from consistency in their environment. Children of this age do much better visiting zoos and museums with their families than with their classmates. Also, the safety of the children in our care is always of the utmost importance and ensuring that safety becomes much more difficult away from the school grounds. We have fun activities come to the school, such as a visit from the Los Alamos Fire Department every October. Parents are also welcome to come into the classroom to talk about their jobs or if they have an interesting hobby they would like to share with the children.

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HOW ARE SNACKS HANDLED?

Snacks are purchased by the school and the charge is included in the current tuition rates. Snack items served include graham crackers, various vegetables, goldfish crackers, various fruits, peanut butter crackers, and muffins for birthday celebrations. The snack menu is customized each semester based on preferences of the students and taking into consideration any food allergies. Snacks are the same every day of the week; for example, every Monday the children eat graham crackers and drink milk. The repetitive nature of our snack calendar helps children feel safe and secure at school, as they always know what they will be having for snack on a given day.

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WHAT IF MY CHILD STAYS FOR LUNCH?

Unlike snack, lunches should be brought from home. Items should be packed in a lunch box or bag with your child's name clearly visible. Food should be packed so it is ready for your child to eat, in containers or bags that your child can open himself. Remember to include utensils and a drink. Please avoid sending items such as soda, candy, cake or gum.

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WHAT IF IT IS SNOWING ON A SCHOOL DAY?

In the event of snow, please check to see if the Los Alamos Public schools have called a snow delay. If LAPS has called a delay, we will open at 9:30, and all students may begin arriving at that time. If the public schools are closed we will be closed as well. The number to call for snow delay info is 663-2223.

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WHAT IF MY CHILD IS NOT YET POTTY-TRAINED?

Children must be two-and-a-half years old and potty trained before they may start attending school. If a child is not yet completely toilet trained but is working on it, admission will be considered. However, the student will be assessed an additional $50.00 per month charge until he/she is out of the training process.

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