Frequently Asked Questions

(Taken from various Montessori Schools throughout the United States as well as inquiries from the Children's Montessori Center area in Fargo, North Dakota.)

  1. How well do students transition from a Montessori environment to a more traditional school setting?

  2. Are there any famous or successful people who were Montessori educated?

  3. Can you be flexible about the age for starting Kindergarten? Can children skip grades?

  4. Does your curriculum meet state standards?

  5. We're interested in the teaching of values, which we feel is missing in traditional schooling. What values are part of your program?

  6. Do you have a dress code or uniform?

  7. How much homework is assigned?

  8. Why does the school maintain a non-competitive atmosphere?

How well do students transition from a Montessori environment to a more traditional school setting?

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.

A recent study, Outcomes for Students in a Montessori Program, A Longitudinal Study of the Experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools compares the academic outcomes of two groups of students who graduated from the high schools of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) during the years 1997-2001. The first group includes students who completed the 5th grade in Montessori programs at MacDowell and Greenfield schools during the years 1990-1994. The second group was a matched sample of graduates from the same high schools who did not attend Montessori schools.

The MacDowell and Greenfield Montessori programs were established as public magnet schools in the mid-seventies and have consistently striven toward a high level of Montessori practice. This study represents a convergence of interests on the part of AMIUSA, the American branch office of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), and the leadership of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The immediate interest of the MPS was the desirability of increasing the number of Montessori schools within its system. AMI-USA saw the necessity of high quality research, designed to address mainstream issues of accountability. Both organizations believed it was essential to document and evaluate outcomes for students who had participated in the MPS Montessori programs. NCERI (The National Center on Educational Restructuring and Inclusion, the Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York) was engaged to conduct this study.

This study supports the hypothesis that Montessori education has a positive long-term impact. Additionally, it provides an affirmative answer to questions about whether Montessori students will be successful in traditional schools.

Are there any famous or successful people who were Montessori educated?

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of google.com
Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder, amazon.com
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
Sean 'P.Diddy' (formerly known as Puffy) Combs, hip-hop mega-star
Anne Frank, diarist from world war II
Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family
T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author
Julia Child, chef, TV personality, 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, magician, 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
Cher, singer-actress
John Bradshaw, psychologist and author
Yul Brynner (deceased), actor
Marcy Carcy, TV producer
Bill & Hillary Clinton, former President/Senator, NY
Michael Douglas, actor
Shari Lewis (deceased), puppeteer
Yo Yo Ma, cellist

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 in traditional schooling. 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 that will be integrated into our program at Children's Montessori Center are citizenship, responsibility, independence, cooperation, team work, tolerance for differences, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and compassion.

Smoking by anyone is not permitted at any time on school property. Use or possession of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco in any form may result in immediate suspension or expulsion. The same is true for physical or verbal aggression, stealing, or destruction of school property.

Do you have a dress code or uniform?

We 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 bare midriff shirts or see-through clothing is allowed. We encourage children to dress simply to keep the focus on learning and be prepared for art projects, science lessons, and physical education/playground activities.

How much homework is assigned?

None for the Primary students.

Why does the school maintain a non-competitive atmosphere? There is a lot of joy and personal social and emotional development in cooperative learning. The cooperative, loving atmosphere in a Montessori school pays off in the long term, as compared to the painful, competitive, constantly comparing kids, someone-has-to-lose-in-order-for-me-to-win situation in traditional schooling.

In a Montessori environment, each child is on his or her own educational journey, and is not being asked to compete with others, only to continue on his or her own journey with due diligence while amongst others.

People and children learn a lot from each other. The students take pride in giving lessons and assistance and understanding to those who are younger than they are, and look to older students with an expectation of being treated well by them and learning from them. They learn leadership skills as well as support skills. Leadership requires skills in teamwork and cooperation. We are training the future leaders of our world.

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