Frequently Asked Questions
How do your bilingual classrooms work?
Our Pre-Primary and Primary classes are fully bilingual (English and Spanish are spoken and taught throughout the day). Both classes emphasize the importance of developing Spanish comprehension and familiarity in daily conversation, instruction and learning across multiple subjects.
There are native English and Spanish teachers in both classes, and our philosophy is that teachers teach in their native language. See Our Bilingual Classrooms page for more details.
What is the best age to introduce a child to a second language?
The earlier a child learns a new language, the better. Ideally, children should begin learning a second language before the age of five. Studies have shown that children who learn a new language before the age of five use the same part of their brain as when they learned their native language. Younger children do not have inhibitions and can speak a second language naturally, and with native pronunciation.
What is Montessori?
The Montessori Method is a way of educating that respects the individuality of each child. Dr. Maria Montessori believed in the worthiness, value, and importance of children. Montessori takes to heart the needs, talents, gifts, and individuality of each child. It is a process that helps children learn in their own way and at their own pace. See our page All About Montessori for more information.
How do I know what my child does all day?
All of our lead teachers provide a weekly class report that shows what the children are working on throughout the week as well as other information that may be important to share with parents. If there are any concerns during the week, the teachers will communicate with parents through conversation, notes, phone calls or conferences if necessary. Parents are always welcome to call during the day to ask how their child is doing.
Do you have an outdoor environment?
Yes! When weather permits, each class has its own individual outdoor environment outside of the classroom in our community courtyard where children can work outdoors on a daily basis. In addition, we have a sandbox, balance beam and activities for the children to play with on our outdoor playground including: bikes, scooters, basketball hoop, hula hoops, balls, jump ropes, etc. We are very excited about building a new garden for the children to take care of as well this fall.
Do you offer a 3-day program for Primary students (3 - 6 years)?
No, we do not offer a 3-day program for Primary students. We offer a 5-day program, either half day (8:30am – 12:30pm) or full day (8:30am -2:30pm). It is important for the Primary students to attend 5 days a week in order to develop consistency, routine and normalization. Normalization is the repetition of a 3-step cycle: 1. preparation for an activity, 2. deep concentration while doing the activity, and 3. rest and satisfaction. The building of character and the formation of personality that we call normalization comes about when children follow this cycle of work for 5 days in a row. This routine supports independence, self-reliance and confidence.
What is your discipline policy?
Any child who is behaving in a disruptive or destructive manner is calmly removed from the situation. The child is then given a simple explanation (away from peers) of why his/her behavior is unacceptable. The child’s choice/action is discussed with the child in terms of bad/good choices and how their choices/actions affect their friends and environment. If needed, the child may be asked to spend a short time in the Peace Corner to calm him or herself. The child is allowed to select another activity once he/she feels ready to act in an acceptable manner. Throughout this procedure, the child is made aware of the consequences of his/her actions.
What activities do you offer in addition to the daily classroom routine?
We occasionally have experts come in and present about specific topics to the children.
Does my child need to be potty-trained to attend?
Pre-primary children do NOT need to be potty-trained. However, all Primary students DO need to be potty-trained and using the toilet independently.
Can my child take naps during the day? Can they nap if they're in Primary?
Yes, all children attending full day (8:30am – 2:30pm) the Primary classes take naps from 12:30 – 2:30pm every day.
What can I pack in my child's lunch? Is there anything that's not allowed?
Please provide your child with a healthy balanced lunch. No fruit snacks (unless 100% fruit) and no fast food/TV dinners. We ask that highly processed foods that contain a large amount of sugar or contain high fructose corn syrup be kept home. Water and plain milk are the only beverages permitted at school.
Do you accept children with allergies?
Yes, we accept children with allergies. We have an allergy list in every classroom that shows the name of each child with allergies and what he or she is allergic to. Our teachers are very conscious of providing snack foods that are allergy-free and maintaining strict cleaning policies in order to keep all our children safe.
Is there a dress code?
Children are free to dress how they choose. However we do ask that you help them follow these guidelines so they may have the best experience at school: clothing that fits properly, shorts under dresses and skirts, and no flip flops. Pre-Primary will benefit from having clothing that is easy for them to take on and off themselves during trips to the bathroom.
What are your policies regarding sun safety and the AZ heat?
During the hotter months in summer we have limited outdoor time (no more than 30 minutes at a time, not during the hottest times of day), and we provide more active indoor activities. We value and understand how important it is for children to live active lives outdoors, but we also realize weather does not always allow for that. We ask children to wear or bring their own sunblock in order to protect their skin. Hats and sunglasses are allowed and encouraged outside; we also provide plenty of shade on our playground. In addition, every child is required to bring his or her own water bottle each day, and these are taken out with the children every time they go outside to recess.
What happens if my child gets hurt at school?
We provide first aid and ouch reports (a detailed report of what happened) for all children who get hurt at school. All of our staff members are CPR/First Aid certified. In case of injury or sudden illness we call parents immediately to alert them of a situation that may require immediate attention or pick-up from school.
When does your school year begin and end?
Our school year begins in late July and ends in late May of the following year.
Please refer to our Calendar page for the full calendar.
Do you offer Extended Care over breaks?
Yes, Extended Care is offered 8:30am – 4:30pm over school breaks (fall, winter and spring). Children who are enrolled in Extended Care for the entire year have priority. Please check with the office to find out if there is space available for a specific break. See our Calendar page for exact dates.
Do you celebrate birthdays and holidays in the classes?
Yes, we celebrate birthdays and some holidays in classes. Children have a Celebration of Life on their birthday to have a chance to be creative and tell the story of their lives. Due to our students’ diverse nationalities and creeds, we do not celebrate any particular religious holidays in our Montessori Classes. We do make it a point, however, to incorporate our students’ unique differences into learning opportunities. Parents are welcome to let us know if there are cultural days or events that are important to your family.
Do you have any discounts available on tuition?
Yes. We offer a sibling discount of 10% off tuition for the sibling of a currently enrolled student. In addition, we have a scholarship fund that all Kindergarten students are welcome to apply for. We encourage all parents to donate and ask for donations to our scholarship fund on a regular basis in order to keep the cost of Kindergarten tuition low.
Can I get a discount or refund for vacation time or long absences for my child?
No, we do not offer any discounts or refunds for absences. Monthly tuition payment installments count towards tuition for the entire school year; they do not pay for a particular month.
I can't afford tuition. Do you have a scholarship program?
Yes, we have a scholarship program available for Kindergarten students. All students entering Kindergarten are welcome to apply. Primary students can start recruiting donations to the scholarship fund as well in order to build the fund so it is available once they are in Kindergarten. For more information, see AZ Tuition Connection or Arizona School Choice page.
Can I pay hourly for Extended Care?
Yes, if Extended Care is only needed on certain days/ weeks the drop-in rate is $15/ hour. However, children who are enrolled in Extended Care for the entire year have priority, so drop-ins are only allowed as long as there is space available. We do ask for at least a week’s notice for drop-ins so that we can plan ahead and notify you if we do not have room.
Is there a registration fee and/or deposit? If so, how much, and when is it due?
There is a $250 non-refundable annual Application Fee and half of one month’s tuition as a security deposit due at the time of registration.
A child is not considered registered until these fees are paid. They must be paid on or before the child’s first day enrolled at the school.
Are your teachers Montessori certified?
Our lead teachers are all Montessori certified by either AMS or AMI. Some teacher’s assistants are in the process of getting their Montessori certification, but we do not require our assistants to be Montessori certified.
What is your teacher turnover rate?
All of our lead teachers have been with us 3 years or more. As the school grows, we will continue to hire qualified and dedicated staff members.
Do you require fingerprint clearance cards and background checks on all of your staff?
Yes, all of our staff members are required to have fingerprint clearance cards and background checks prior to their start date.
Can I observe in a classroom?
Yes, current and prospective parents are encouraged to observe classes to see how the classes work and what the children are accomplishing. If you are interested in the school, the first step is to take a tour, then if you like, you may schedule an observation. Please contact us to schedule a time to observe.
What opportunities are there for parent involvement?
Our school provides multiple activities and occasions for parents to get involved. There are two Parent Workdays, both on Saturdays, during the school year where parents help with a school improvement project. We welcome and greatly appreciate your involvement and support!