The questions below are our most common asked questions from parents. Click on the questions to view the answers. If the question that you have is not listed, please give us a call at (408) 251-8633 or send us an email.
When can my child start preschool? Typically, children begin the Cocoon class when they turn 2 by September 1st. This is a small beginning class for toddlers. Older Two’s and young Three’s are best suited for the Caterpillars class which is a smaller introductory preschool class. Children who turn 3 by September 1st may enter the Ladybugs class which is a traditional Montessori preschool class with blended age groups (3-5 years old). More mature 31/2 and 4 year-old’s who are ready for a longer school day or are preparing for kindergarten do well in the Dragonflies class which adds enriched activities and more time with the advanced Montessori materials in the afternoon.
Does my child need to be potty trained? We are different from many preschools in that we do take children who are not potty-trained. How we handle this depends on the age of the child and where he or she is in the process of their toilet training. The Cocoon and the Caterpillar class offer the perfect opportunity for toilet teaching to happen because it is built into the curriculum. There is also a changing table in that classroom. The early preschool teachers and parents work in partnership to enable the toileting process, one step at a time. In the Ladybug class, we expect children to be toilet-trained. Some children may enter who are not yet fully potty-trained but are in the process, having only occasional urine accidents. The teachers will remind these children to use the toilet, but there is no changing table in that setting, so is not set up for changing bowel accidents. However, we are sensitive to the fact that there may be children who have atypical delays in this area, and in special circumstances, we will sometimes make an adjustment to our policy. We set up a contract with the parents ahead of time. We are able to keep the child in the preschool if the parent agrees to come to school and change their child whenever a bowel accident occurs during class time. By the time they enter the Dragonfly class, children are expected to be fully toilet-trained.
Can parents come into the classroom? Yes, parents are always welcome! Parents may come into the classroom at any time that their child is in the preschool. In fact, we invite parents to volunteer in the classroom for various projects. We welcome your participation.
What about snack? Do you provide it? We ask that parents bring snack approximately 4-6 times a year for the entire class, and we ask that parents bring only fruits and vegetables and a gallon of water. We ask for healthy snacks only. We do not serve juice because we know the extra sugar is not good for children. After the children have had an opportunity to try a fruit or vegetable, we will offer crackers in addition.
But what if my child does not like what is being served? The beauty of eating family style with their friends is that children see their friends eating foods that they may not have tried. They become more interested in trying something new. Our snack program provides children with a wider range of foods they can enjoy.
But will my child go hungry? We would never allow a child to go hungry. There are many opportunities for a child to eat during the school session, including a light snack that is available during work time, cheerios for stringing in the art room, and the weekly cooking project. In addition, water is always available to children.
Can I bring cupcakes for my child’s birthday? We celebrate birthdays by singing “happy birthday” to each child and making theirs a special day. At school, we disassociate food from birthdays by having a celebration with a birthday sticker and school friends singing to them during large group time. If you do not want us to sing “happy birthday” to your child, we are happy to honor your wishes.
How do you decide which small group my child will be in? We look at each child’s developmental age and stage. Then we make the best fit based on this and other factors, including temperament, maturity level, and how a child gets along behaviorally with the other children in the group.
What type of training do your teachers have? All our teachers are trained in the Montessori method. All our teachers also have Child Development Permits that they have earned through various levels of college education. Most of our teachers have either an AA or BA degree, as well. For more details about each teacher, take a look at our teacher profiles.
What is the monthly tuition?Tuition is based on a yearly amount that is payable in 10 monthly installments. Tuition is pro-rated depending on your start date.
How do the teachers communicate with parents?
The teachers are always ready to talk with you and answer your questions. The teachers want to work in partnership with you and want to build a relationship with you and your child. You may talk with them at pick-up time (using caution when speaking in front of your child) or alternately, you may email or call and leave a message, and they will get back to you. To protect their family time, our teachers do not answer emails over the weekend.
How will I know how my child is doing?
At the beginning of the school year, the teachers sit down with parents in October for a short parent-teacher conference to get to know you and your expectations for your child. In November, a written developmental summary is sent home, outlining your child’s growth in important areas. In the spring, the teachers sit down with parents again for another face-to-face parent-teacher conference. At this time you will receive a second written developmental summary showing your child’s growth during the year. In this conference, there is time for conversation, sharing, and planning for the following school year.
What if my child cries? We understand that saying goodbye can be very difficult for parents, as well as children. We take separation very seriously. We comfort children. We make sure they have a lap to sit on. We listen to their feelings and we let them know that all their feelings are understood. We even sing the “Mommy Comes Back” song. We realize that separation is a process. It can take time. We may make special provisions if a child is having a difficult time in the youngest classes, such as asking you to stay for a while or shortening your child’s day. Above all, we have confidence that a child can experience success at school, and the teachers will make every effort to work with you and your child to help this happen.
How do you handle discipline? We see discipline as a learning process. Children are learning how to be social with each other. We don’t expect them to come to school knowing all the rules ahead of time. Our job is to teach and guide them. It’s OK for them to make mistakes. We talk about classroom expectations at the beginning of the year so that children know just what we expect of them: “We are safe. We are kind. We are respectful. We are friendly.” We give them reasons for the rules. We also help them see how their behavior affects others. We make our expectations fit the developmental level of the age group. We do not use time-out. Instead, we redirect, we re-state, and we reward positive behavior and offer logical consequences for negative behaviors. You may want to view our Positive Discipline and Safe Classroom policies for more information.
What if a child hurts my child? We encourage children to let a teacher know if someone has hurt them. Sometimes it happens that it was an accident. We first comfort the hurt child. Then we bring the two children together to talk about it. Often, it just takes the consequence of a child seeing that they have hurt another to help them express sorrow and apologize. The two children may even go back to playing together afterwards. We encourage parents to come to a teacher if their child has confided to them that a child has hurt them. We always want to know, and we value open communication.
What about ongoing behavior problems? All children have the right to feel physically and emotionally safe in their classroom. If we have a child who is having difficulty following our Safe Classroom Policy and it impacts your child, please let us know. We set limits on disruptive behavior that presents a safety concern. While we are willing to work with children experiencing challenges, our school may not be a good fit for all children. When parents agree to work with us, we will make every effort as long as the child’s behavior does not pose a risk to the classroom and we are able to see improvement.