Frequently ASKED QUESTIONS
We serve children ages 2-5 and 6-9
(*Ages 6-9 only available at our Huntington Beach location)
5 Full Days: 9:00am to 2:30pm
5 Half Days: 9:00am to 12:00pm
3 Full Days: 9:00am to 2:30pm (M,W,F).
Extended Daycare Hours
Morning Care: 7:30am-9:00am
Evening Care: 2:30pm-5:30pm
Occasional daycare is available at a daily rate.
All program fees are based on a yearly schedule and not month-to-month.
Children entering the program after the beginning of the school term are
pro-rated to their starting date which places them on the regular payment schedule.
One Method - Three locations
The answer lies in our mission. Our mission, simply put, is to continue Dr. Maria Montessori’s work. With a direct connection to Dr. Maria Montessori herself, our founder created a lasting tradition that has transcended time. Our school really is part of the heritage and history of Maria Montessori. Our curriculum is carefully created using Maria Montessori’s handwritten notes. Our teachers and training draw upon handwritten diagrams and notes taken by our founder that dictated Dr. Montessori’s voice. The true Heritage difference though lies in our psychology. Many programs have Montessori material on their shelves; this material is now widely available and easily accessible. The hidden resource, however, is our knowledge and training of psychology; the psychology of the classroom, classroom management, teacher-student interactions, and the psychology of the child. Our curriculum is designed with psychology in mind. Our teachers can read between the lines and extend their curriculum and the Montessori philosophy beyond the physical materials of the classroom. The teacher’s training and the support and knowledge of the administration serves as the foundation of a thriving classroom, which in turn creates an authentic Montessori environment that fosters the development and curiosity of our children to truly discover the genius within them.
A student may be ahead or behind of his chronological peers in terms of ability to perform certain tasks. Whether the child is ahead or behind, he/she is provided with the opportunity to progress individually and is not held back or pushed forward based on so-called norms for a certain age. Moreover, it is not unusual that a student is working effortlessly through one area of curriculum but much more slowly through another. Montessori classes are organized to encompass a two to three-year age span, which allow younger students to benefit from the stimulation of older children, who in turn benefit by serving as role models.
Heritage has made a conscious choice to limit the number of facilities we operate because we understand that quality can only be attained through direct personal involvement. This fact is quickly evident the first time a parent visits an HMS campus. Undeniably, “corporate” child care, even within the Montessori community, leads to a lower quality school not only because off less hands-on involvement, but also because corporate enterprises prioritize gross revenue over the children’s needs. HMS will never put financial considerations above the children.
Almost any child will be comfortable in a properly functioning Montessori classroom. Dr. Montessori knew very acutely that the developmental level of each child is different and therefore his/her needs are different. The Montessori method is purposely malleable to the child, and in our experience, there are very few children that do not thrive in a properly functioning Montessori environment.That said, some Montessori schools have teachers that lack the skill needed to assimilate all of the children in the class. So, the short answer to this question is, it depends – on the school, the teacher, and the learning environment.
At first, Montessori may look unstructured to some people, but it is actually quite structured at every level. At the early childhood level, external structure is limited by clear-cut ground rules and correct procedures that provide guidelines and structure for two to four year-olds. By age five, most schools introduce some sort of formal system to evaluate students’ progress.Elementary Montessori children normally work with a written study plan for the day or week. The study plan lists tasks to complete and the student decides how long to spend on each and in what order they would like to follow. Beyond these basic, individually tailored assignments, children explore topics that capture their interest and imagination and share them with their classmates.
HMS teachers carefully observe their students at work. They give their students informal and formal exams or have the children demonstrate what they have learned by either teaching a lesson to another child or by giving a formal presentation. The children also take and prepare their own written tests to administer to their friends. Montessori children usually don’t think of assessment techniques as evaluations so much as challenges. Students are normally working toward mastery rather than a standard letter grade scheme. However, a properly managed Montessori school will provide grade equivalents in a progress report for parents in the event that the child leaves the Montessori system. While Montessori students tend to score very well on standardized tests and such tests do have their place, Montessori educators are legitimately concerned that many standardized tests are inaccurate, misleading, and stressful for children. Well trained teachers know far more about their students’ progress than any paper-and-pencil test can reveal. Remember, sometimes test taking simply reveals how well a child takes a test and does not indicate what kind of student he is in a classroom setting.We consider test-taking skills to be just another Practical Life lesson that children work to master.
At HMS, an individualized curriculum is implemented for certain subjects which require cognitive skills (e.g. math, grammar, reading) as opposed to the subjects which are content-centric (e.g. history). For example, there is typically no reason to individualize the presentation of the U.S. westward migration or the movement of tectonic plates.
Montessori children are generally curious, self-confident learners who look forward to going to school. They are normally engaged, enthusiastic learners who honestly want to learn and who ask excellent questions. These skills obviously carry over well to traditional learning programs and will serve the child their whole life. Some Montessori children will be bored in a traditional program; others may not understand why everyone in the class has to do the same thing at the same time. Most children adapt to their new setting fairly quickly, making new friends, and succeeding within the definition of success understood in their new school.
While parents are usually impressed with the HMS Montessori experience, at first they are a little bewildered that their children come home excited about mopping floors, doing dishes, and washing tables. A concerned parent may ask, what is the benefit of these “practical life” exercises?What practical life achieves in your child is first a feeling of, “I can take care of myself,” whether it is table washing or tying shoes. The child is given a sense of security that she has some control over her environment and her place in it. To make it simple, one of the basic Montessori tenets is, you always start with the concrete before moving on to the abstract. There is nothing more concrete in the child’s life than the exercises of practical life. Second, Montessori education begins with the development of all the senses as a way of connecting the child to his intellect. Third, Montessori relies on the self-control of the child’s physical abilities as a precursor to his intellectual capacity. Fourth, practical life exercises build physical discipline, and aid in the child’s ability to follow through and complete a project. Fifth, it significantly develops focus on details as a skill set to accomplish academic goals.Practical life is essential for the child’s future!