Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about SAMS?

SAMS offers a safe and caring environment for children to begin their educational journey. In keeping with the Montessori philosophy’s child-centered approach, SAMS honors and nurtures every child’s unique needs and interests. Our staff provides gentle and nurturing guidance in all areas of development from socialization to learning to creativity. A low student/teacher ratio ensures focused attention for all SAMS students, supporting strong relationships between our staff and your children.

“Every child is a unique individual that needs to be understood, respected, admired and unconditionally accepted as a precious gift of life.”

Maria Montessori

What is the Montessori educational philosophy?

Maria Montessori developed her unique and revolutionary educational philosophy during the early 20th century. Montessori believed education began at birth and that most learning comes from a child’s physical surroundings. The Montessori classroom is a direct reflection of that belief; it is filled with educational materials corresponding to natural development cycles. These materials, called “work”, focus on different areas of learning including practical life, sensorial (pre-math), language, math, social studies, and science. The purpose of this work is to awaken a child’s spontaneous interest in learning. In a Montessori classroom, children are free to choose and pursue activities that interest them, allowing them to learn at their own level and pace.

“Education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.”

Maria Montessori

What is the SAMS classroom like?

The Montessori philosophy emphasizes the importance of beauty and order in a learning environment. In keeping with this philosophy, SAMS classroom is bright, cheerful, neat, and clean. When the children enter the classroom after their initial “outside time,” they choose an activity from child-level shelves filled with Montessori materials. These activities are sequenced from simple to complex, leading the child towards independence and coordination with each increase in complexity.

Whether working individually or in a group, children take a task from start to finish and, when done, return their work to its proper place. While the students work, teachers observe them, providing gentle guidance or giving lessons on specific materials. With the children occupied, focused, and content, the classroom becomes a quiet beehive of activity.

Why does the classroom have children with varying ages?

Maria Montessori believed that children flourish in mixed ages. She observed that older children enjoy being good examples to younger ones and that the younger children “looked up” to their older classmates. As a Montessori school, SAMS puts all its students together in one classroom. The younger children are fascinated by the older children’s choice of work and are motivated to choose more challenging tasks. In addition, the older students help their younger classmates to learn materials, which builds the older child’s self esteem, confidence, and leadership skills.

Can I volunteer in the classroom?

Because of the unique rhythm and flow of a Montessori classroom, teaching requires special training and experience so we don’t have parents volunteering in the classroom. However, there are many other opportunities for parents to give their time to the school through baking treats for special occasions, helping out with facility upkeep or driving on field trips.  There are also a few events throughout the year for parents to learn more about the Montessori philosophy and the going-ons at SAMS.

How does SAMS prepare a child for elementary years and beyond?

Montessori education and its specialized materials emphasize motor and sensory development, as well as basic language and math skills that are essential for any learning philosophy. At SAMS, children learn to think for themselves, solving problems using their creativity and imagination. In addition, SAMS students learn respect for themselves and one another, cooperation and consideration. This independence and self esteem provide a solid platform for SAMS students as they move into more traditional learning environments.

How old does my child need to be to attend SAMS Kindergarten?

Your child needs to be turning 5 on or before November 1 of the year they would be enrolling for SAMS Kindergarten. The year your child is eligible for SAMS kindergarten you will be offered an enrollment agreement. Please note that there is no flexibility in the date. This is an absolute cut-off.

Do children have time to socialize at SAMS?

Socialization skills are a very important part of both the Montessori educational philosophy and the SAMS program. At SAMS, children learn to cooperate by working on activities together. They also learn to share by waiting their turn for a specific, “favorite” activity and to not interrupt or disturb classmates while they are at “work.” Because children of all ages are in one classroom together, they learn respect and caring between older and younger students.

What is your discipline policy?

Beginning at orientation and throughout the school year, children learn about appropriate and considerate behavior and how these behaviors impact the enjoyment and harmony of the group. Through gentle reminders and consistent modeling, the children become sensitive to the needs of others and develop a respect for the classroom and materials. When a gentle reminder is not enough the teacher will intervene, respectfully but firmly, to stop the behavior and then redirect the child towards more positive, productive activity.

Does my child need to bring a snack to school?

SAMS provides organic snacks for all students. In fact, preparing and eating snacks is part of the classroom’s practical life activities. When a child is hungry, he or she can go to the snack area, put on an apron, and then prepare a healthy, nut-free snack. There is no specific snack time; students can choose to eat when they are hungry.

What is SAMS daily schedule?

SAMS primary program beings at 9:00 a.m. and runs through 11:45 a.m. SAMS also offers Early Care, Lunch and Afternoon programs, at additional cost, that extend the school day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. SAMS Kindergarten program runs from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Below is an overview of the SAMS daily schedule for the Primary Program:

9:00 to 9:15 a.m. Student drop off

9:30 to 11:10 a.m. Classroom time

11:10 to 11:30 a.m. Outdoor time

11:30 to 11:45 a.m. Circle time

11:45 Student pick up