Helping Parents Prepare for Elementary


illustration: 

This is the time of year when parents of our graduating students are thinking a lot about their child’s next year. 

What school should I choose? 

How do I know if it is a good school for my child? What is involved in the application and interview process? 

 

At MSS, we guide parents through this


Our Admissions director has many years of experience and offers Parent Information sessions in the fall and spring to provide important information. 

 

Our teachers are very well informed about the expectations of elementary programs in each of our four campus communities. 

 

We visit schools with our graduates to help them see what lies ahead.

 

However, even though these are very beneficial and necessary steps to preparing for the transition to elementary, it is not the reason that the children go on from MSS to do so well at their next school. 

 

What is involved in the interview process? 

What are schools looking for in children?


Social skills and awareness

English Language level

Movement and coordination

Participation and confidence

Ability to concentrate

Beginnings of academic skills in reading and math


How do MSS Montessori programs develop these skills?


Stepping into a classroom at MSS can be a very different experience for parents. The first thing you might notice is children moving freely throughout the room, walking and carrying a tray to a table, folding a napkin, slicing an egg, sharing a snack with a friend or working together with a friend on a mat using beautiful Montessori materials. How does this classroom prepare children for elementary?

 

During the interview, children are sometimes asked to greet the interviewer, say hello and introduce themselves. This act of grace and courtesy is practiced every morning as we greet one another at MSS. Montessori teachers shake hands and chat with each child as they enter the classroom. This is a very natural act as our culture is to acknowledge each child as we greet them or say goodbye at the end of the day. This builds trust, self-esteem and confidence.

 

The use of English language is often an area of focus for the interview. At MSS Montessori vocabulary building, conversation, knowledge of sounds and words lead to writing, reading and even the beginnings of researching small projects. Our classrooms have one English speaking teacher, one Chinese teacher and a Life teacher. 

 

The use of the extensive Montessori materials provides an important visual linkbetween an abstract sound and letter symbol for example. Working with quantities of numbers in our decimal system means children learn math from a conceptual approach versus rote memorization. This also fosters problem solving and prepares the child for the next stage of development in which their “reasoning mind” will be engaged in larger questions.

 

The multi-age groupings provide an even richer environment, as older children read to younger ones, and younger children are exposed to wonderful writing and sharing of interesting facts about geography, history, botany and zoology.

 

Children love to explore science through basic experiments. Observing how a plant grows and turns to the light or how a pumpkin decays in the garden. These kinds of activities are very interesting to children at this age.

 

 

Why are MSS students so well prepared?


It is the Montessori environment that attracts the child to explore, to communicate, and to experience learning through activity. The foundation of learning is established through the child’s feeling of discovery. 

 

The expansiveness of the curriculum and the way it is presented foster confidence, precision, thoughtfulness, and ownership of their learning. 

 

Current neuropsychologists such as Dr. Steven Hughes, a leading researcher and child psychologist remarks, “Brain development is experience dependent” and “The hands are the chief teacher of the child.” He describes Montessori classrooms as, “optimal learning environments” where all of the Executive Functions are used.