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Montessori Frequently Asked Questions

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Where do Woodcrest Montessori students go after they graduate and how well do they transition from a Montessori environment to a more traditional school setting?
Roughly 50% of WMEC graduates go on to private schools and 50% attend their neighborhood public school. Virtually all of the WMEC graduates applying to private schools are accepted to their first choice school. WMEC graduates that attend public schools are regularly placed into honors or accelerated classes.

Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they've been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem solvers who can make choices and manage their time well.

They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others and good communication skills ease the way in new settings.

Are there any famous or successful people who were Montessori educated?
Below is a list of many familiar people who where Montessori educated:
  • Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder, Amazon.COM
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Founders of Google.com, credit their Montessori education for much of their success.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature
  • Katherine Graham (deceased), owner/editor of the Washington Post
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (deceased), editor, former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
  • Sean 'P. Diddy' (formerly known as Puffy) Combs, RAP mega-star
  • Anne Frank, famous diarist from world war II
  • Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
  • T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
  • Julia Child, famous chef, star of TV cooking shows and author of numerous cookbooks
  • Elizabeth Berridge, actress (Constanze in Amadeus)
  • Kami Cotler, actress (youngest child on long-running series-The Waltons)
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert, actors
  • David Blaine, a magician as well as endurance artist and advocate of "street magic."
Famous people who chose Montessori schools for their own children:
  • Stephen J. Cannell, TV writer-producer-director (The Rockford Files and many others)
  • Patty Duke Austin, actress
  • John Bradshaw, psychologist and author
  • Yul Brynner (dec.), actor
  • Marcy Carcy, TV producer
  • Bill & Hillary Clinton, former president/senator, NY
  • Michael Douglas, actor
  • Shari Lewis (dec.), puppeteer
  • Yo Yo Ma, cellist
Others with Montessori connections:
  • Jean Piaget, noted Swiss psychologist, made his first observations of children in a Montessori school. He was also head of the Swiss Montessori Society for many years
  • Mister Rogers, children's TV personality, strong supporter of Montessori education
  • Alexander Graham Bell, noted inventor, and his wife Mabel founded the Montessori Education Association in 1913. They also provided financial support directly to Dr. Montessori and helped establish the first Montessori class in Canada and one of the first in the United States
  • Thomas Edison, noted scientist and inventor, helped found a Montessori school
  • President Wilson's daughter trained as a Montessori teacher. There was a Montessori classroom in the basement of the White House during Wilson's presidency
  • Alice Waters, restaurateur and writer, is a former Montessori teacher
  • Bruno Bettelheim, noted psychologist/author, was married to a Montessori teacher
  • Erik Erikson, noted anthropologist/author, had a Montessori teaching certificate.

Do you do standardized testing?
WMEC’s view is that standardized testing is only one tool in the assessment of a student's or school's performance. The Montessori philosophy of meeting the individual needs of each child is emphasized rather than "teaching to the test" in order to raise the test scores. We want our students to learn the skills of test taking.

WMEC students are assessed starting with their enrollment and continually reassessed as they progress. WMEC students are taught test-taking skills over the course of the year. This assures that they will be well prepared for any system that requires testing.

WMEC does not discriminate in acceptance of students based on test scores or intelligence tests. We are very proud of our students' standings. They reflect students working above grade level and above the national average in all subjects. They are a composite of children of all abilities, learning styles and talents. We feel they reflect the quality curriculum all students can enjoy at WMEC.

Can you be flexible about the age for starting Kindergarten? Can children skip grades?
Montessori offers a huge breadth of academic instruction in each classroom. We prefer that children stay close to their peer group for social and emotional development. They can be easily accelerated academically.

Does your curriculum meet state standards?
Yes. Our teachers have reviewed the state guidelines and assure that our students cover the basics. We find that our students, depending on individual readiness, generally surpass the expectations of the state curriculum.

We're interested in the teaching of values, which we feel is missing from state schools. What values are part of your program?
The love of learning is the core of Montessori values. Speaking and acting with kindness, integrity, and respect is our top priority. Children and teachers develop a "Code of Living" or social contract to create an environment conducive to work and growth. Children are engaged in the process of developing internal discipline.

Universal spiritual insight and growth are addressed, but we are a non-sectarian school and do not teach any particular religion. We are not a Christian school. We do not discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation; rather, we value our diversity. Some of the other values integrated into the program at WMEC are citizenship, responsibility, independence, cooperation, team work, tolerance for differences, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and compassion.

Do you have a dress code or uniform?
Because, we value diversity and individuality, we do not have a uniform. We do request that students wear clothing with appropriate styles, messages, and graphics for young children. No violent images or inappropriate words are allowed on shirts or other personal items. No tattoos or colored hair is allowed. We encourage children to dress simply to keep the focus on learning and be prepared for art projects, science lessons, and playground activities.

How much homework is assigned?
Very little homework is assigned for the 2-4 year old students. About 10-20 minutes daily, for the Kindergarten students.

Do students get Art, Music, and Physical Education?
Yes. We offer optional dance and gym programs. Our art program includes cultural crafts as well as instruction in the basics. Singing and music is a regular part of our curriculum. PE includes skills, games and playtime. We emphasize good sportsmanship and teamwork.