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Tag: Early Childhood

Open House – 1/18/23 – 6:30pm (Admissions Info)

Montessori Community School will be hosting an Open House Meeting (formerly General Admissions Information Meeting). Parents are invited in-person, to learn more about the Montessori method, curriculum and philosophy, and how our programs are designed to educate the whole child. You will have the opportunity to visit our classrooms and meet our Montessori teaching staff.

January 18, 2023


Program Ages:

  • Infants / 3 – 18 Months
  • Toddlers / 18 Months – 3 Years
  • Early Childhood / 3 – 6 Years
  • Elementary / 6 – 12 Years

You are invited, regardless if you have previously made an inquiry to the school or spoken with someone from our dedicated staff. This is an in-person event for adults only. An opportunity for your child to tour is available later.

You may fill out our “Request a Tour” form and specify the Jan. 18 event in order to indicate you will be attending.

Introducing our Early Childhood Staff

Early Childhood (EC) teachers are trained to encourage self-directed learning that promotes self-confidence, independent thought and action, and critical thinking, while fostering social-emotional and intellectual growth. That’s no small feat! We are so very grateful to have such talented and beautiful individuals on staff to support the children in this important work.

Magnolias, Dual Language

Andrea, Kayla & Kendalyn

Sequoias, Dual Language

Ruth, Cathie & Cynthia


Tori S. & Ruby


Karey & Tori C.

Click here to watch a short video from the American Montessori society about the importance of the capstone year (year 3) in the Early Childhood classroom.

The Most Important Montessori Lesson

I love what a Montessori education does for a child’s love of learning. I love the enthusiasm that it engenders. I love to watch the understanding that dawns on a child as a concept makes sense for the first time.

Montessori children learn to read – often very early. They learn their numbers – not just counting but understanding that seven is one more than six and not just because it follows six. They begin to add and subtract, even multiply and divide. They learn about leaves and leaf shapes. They learn about zoology, geometry and time. There seems to be almost no end of the surprises of what our children learn.

It is ironic, however, that the most important lesson does not appear on a progress report. Montessori is the only educational philosophy that builds its structure on the lessons of grace and courtesy. The individuality of the classroom can only succeed if each child exercises care and consideration for his or her classmates by taking turns, helping each other, encouraging each other and teaching each other. Grace and courtesy sets the tone for the classroom. The quietness and the serenity allow the concentration that precedes significant accomplishment. Learning well the lessons of grace and courtesy will make your child stand out for the rest of his or her life but even grace and courtesy are not the greatest lesson.

The great lesson is the ability to positively control yourself. Most of us grew up with “self-control” meaning to do exactly what someone else told you to do – “be quiet, don’t, stop, no, don’t move” etc. The great Montessori lesson (and the one that takes great effort and often a lifetime to master) is self-control. The mastery of self-control leads to making wise choices. Wise choices come from focus, determination, knowledge and controlling your self. The way you learn to make wise choices is to be allowed to make choices (and live with the consequences.) And then, to make a better choice –living with the consequences until you have practiced enough to begin to make wise choices the first time.

Traditional education does not afford a child the opportunity to exercise real self-control, make independent choices and work through them to a successful completion. Traditionally, if you fail a test you move on. In Montessori, you strive for mastery before you move on. In Montessori you progress from strength (mastery) and not weakness (failure.)

This same wisdom applies to the lessons of grace and courtesy – learning how to deal with people – and when you offend, learning how to make amends and not brush it off.

The lesson (and benefit) of self-control is that it concentrates your power and enhances your achievement. Self-control is essential to making wise choices. Without self-control the child is subject to every interior whim and outside influence. Self-control helps focus the child to be able to make wise choices.

The most important lesson in Montessori education is not an academic one but one of self-control and focus. Your child will gain many academic skills in Montessori but the greatest lesson is self-control and with it the ability to make wise choices.

Edward Fidellow 

Is there a Lack of Socialization in Montessori?

It is ironic that one of Montessori education’s biggest strengths (socialization) is often misconstrued as a weakness. This misperception starts from another Montessori strength – individualization. The argument starts from a true premise (the individualization of education) and ends with a false conclusion that children don’t get a chance to socialize.

There is some vague, hazy notion that children in a traditional classroom (who operate as a group) have greater opportunities for socialization. The reality is, “How much socialization do you get with the back of the head of the child in front of you?” (If a student does turn around to socialize he can count on the ever present, “Turn around in your seat.”

So how does Montessori’s individualism intersect with its socialization? In traditional circles there seems to be a fear that if students work together, one of them will do the work and the other will coast. Reality, (especially in Montessori) holds that children will demand performance from their peers. The classroom is noted for its peer performance and peer regulation. Even in preschool children will tell their classmates, “We don’t do that here.” Montessori promotes individual accomplishment but also provides for collaborative activity. Life is built on both.

Effective socialization is built on a solid foundation of respect. The emphasis on grace and courtesy is a foundational principle of Montessori education. In Spanish the phrase for good manners is “bien educado” (well educated). Without grace and courtesy the effectiveness of a Montessori education (and socialization) is compromised. The social component is tremendously significant in the whole development of your child. Socialization (and grace and courtesy) are intertwined throughout the day – from circle time, to snacks, to the playground or just working together in the classroom. Real socialization is about respecting others, treating others the way we want to be treated, learning to cooperate, learning to do our share, learning to contribute to our project.

Good manners is a concern for others and that is the basis for not only classroom socialization but effective lifetime success with people. Montessori children, even while achieving success independently, learn the lessons of sharing and helping others and contributing to the well being of their society. Could there be any more successful outcome of socialization?

By Edward Fidellow 

Bathroom Independence in the Early Childhood Program

All children entering the Early Childhood Program should be bathroom independent. This means that they can handle bathroom related tasks with little or no assistance.

We expect:

  • Children entering the EC classroom have had a good deal of experience listening to the cues of their body as to when it is time to go to the bathroom.
  • Children have had experience dressing and undressing themselves.
  • Children have been taught how to handle basic toilet hygiene. This includes- wiping, flushing and handwashing.
  • Children are using a regular restroom toliet and not a training potty.

Why does my child need to be bathroom independent?

Our Early Childhood classrooms are not equipped to have children enrolled in our program in diapers or pull ups. We do not have changing tables or cleaning supplies for diapering in these environments. EC classrooms are not staffed to allow for students to be provided a great deal of assistance in the bathroom.

How do I tell if my child is bathroom independent?

​If your child is staying in the same cloth underwear and clothing all day long, 4 out of 5 days per week, and they are independently recognizing the need to go to the bathroom a majority of the time, they are considered bathroom independent.

If your child does not initiate going to the bathroom most of the time and is having at least one accident a day or is not using the toilet for urine/BMs, it is best to wait until they are ready.

 Accidents happen…

We do anticipate that in a new environment some children will have some mishaps. Students are given lessons on how to handle bathroom accidents. Children are never shamed; the accident is handled in a matter of fact and practical way.

If regression in bathroom independence occurs, a gradual transition to school can be considered. A half day or reduced hours may help support the child to transition into the school routine and become fully independent in no time.

What if…

What if my child is not bathroom independent and is having multiple accidents throughout the day? The child’s start date will need to be delayed until your child is ready to be in the classroom.

Tips for gaining bathroom independence:

  • Stay near home or a toilet during this transitional time. If you are not consistent, you can slow the process to the point of regression.
  • Read interesting and relaxing books while they are sitting on the toilet.
  • Be consistent: once you decide to make the transition from diapers to underwear do not go back. Pull-ups serve the same purpose as diapers and should only be used overnight when children cannot control bodily functions while asleep.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. When the timer goes off say, “It is time to go to the bathroom,” and “Even if you don’t have to go, you can still try.” Lengthen the time as your child is successful with the shorter times.

Additional Resources:

**Adapted from Mandala Montessori 

The Capstone Year in Early Childhood

The Montessori early childhood classroom serves children from the age of 3 to 6 years. Ideally, children spend three years in this classroom. In Montessori, the 3rd year is often referred to as the Capstone Year. This year is equivalent to the traditional Kindergarten year. MCS strongly recommends that a 3rd year student follows a 5 day schedule so that they can capitalize on all of the learning opportunities open to them in this important year and so they can have enough time to practise and process the year’s curriculum. The final year in early childhood is the harvest year for all the planting and intellectual tending that has gone on for the preceding years in preschool.

The Capstone Harvest
The 3rd year child’s learning explodes into an avalanche of reading and writing and math. All of the earlier preparation (practical life, sensorial) now finds academic outlets. The 3rd year child not only gains a wider breadth of knowledge but a deeper understanding of what they have learned and now is able to use this knowledge to enhance their own intellectual pursuits.

A Montessori education is not just cumulative in its learning; it is exponential in its understanding. The learning that happens in this final year of early childhood is not just adding another year’s knowledge but multiplying what is learned and applying it to what is to come. It is common for Montessori 3rd year graduates to be able to read well (and write) and to understand math far beyond addition and subtraction all the way to multiplication, division and geometry. Maybe even more significantly, the lifetime patterns of responsibility, goal setting, having a work ethic, working through mistakes, inquiry and curiosity are being firmly set.

The 3rd year in a Montessori classroom is also the year of mentoring. It is the year when the five year old is able to really help their classmates. This mentoring year is significant for two reasons. First, when you teach others, you really master the subject for yourself. Second, when you are asked to teach you demonstrate your mastery of the material. It is this mastery that produces the profound feelings of self-confidence and assurance that is the hallmark of Montessori students. Real achievement and real achievement demonstrated builds real self-esteem.

To miss this formative year that sets successful life patterns is to miss the ultimate advantage of this unique preschool experience.

Leaving the Montessori program before the capstone year often places a child into an educational setting that is not as advanced; nor one that allows for the initiative that has been carefully cultivated during the earlier preschool years. The child is often introduced to a different curriculum one that lacks the individual intellectual satisfaction that comes from exploring and discovering the wonderful world of learning found in Montessori.The essence of successful life is to be able to make wise choices. The Montessori 3rd year student is at a major threshold of exercising that wise decision making power. To lose that opportunity is to lose a significant part of the hard won success of the preceding years.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”-  W.B. Yeats

The great gift of an education is not the accumulation of facts and statistics but the lighting of the fire of learning, discovery and joy. It is a gift that Montessori children have the privilege and pleasure of opening and using for a lifetime.

Adapted from The Kindergarten Year in Montessori by Edward Fidellow,

Re-Enrollment for 2022-23

We are happy and honored that you have entrusted us with your child’s education and look forward to continuing that relationship for the next academic year.

Re-enrollment for 2022-2023 is now open!

Every family should have received an email from on 12/15/2021 called Enrollment for Returning Student explaining how to complete the re-enrollment process for the 2022-23 school year. The email was sent to the same parent/guardian who filled out the application & enrollment forms previously.

Open enrollment for new families begins January 14, 2022. We wish to preserve our current families’ spaces by enrolling your children first. Re-enrollment needs to be completed by January 14, 2022. After this date, spaces will be opened to new families and your child’s placement will no longer be guaranteed.

Save the Date/s

​Unable to attend? Don’t worry, recordings were made of these meetings and are available for watching at your convenience. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

If your child is eligible to move into a new program next fall, please consider attending the pertinent informational meeting about that transition. Parents of rising students will receive an email invitation to a virtual meeting for the following date/s:

  • Entering Lower and Upper Elementary 12/2/21, 6:30-7:30pm
  • Entering Early Childhood 12/9/21, 6:30-7:30pm
  • Entering Toddlers 12/15/21, 6:30-7:30pm

Enrollment details to note for 2022-2023 include the following:

  • The tuition increase this year is 6% school wide.
  • If you are considering the Extended Day option, we would encourage you to sign up sooner rather than later. Staffing is based on those who have selected this option during enrollment and we cannot always guarantee space for later schedule changes.
  • Registration and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 will be conducted in late fall 2022.

If your child will not be returning for the 2022-2023 year, please email to indicate your decision. Alternatively, log into FACTS Family Portal and click Apply/Enroll -> Enrollment / Re-enrollment and click the button “Will Not Enroll.”

If your family has elected not to return to MCS next year, we recommend that you wait to relay that information to your child until closer to the end of the academic year. It has been our experience that children who are told in advance of such a change often lose their focus for the balance of the year, and begin the process of separation long before the change is imminent.

We understand that educational decisions are the result of a thoughtful, intentional process and we appreciate our families taking the time when they are considering re-enrollment for another school year. Do not hesitate to contact the Director of Admissions, Ramira Alamilla, at if you have any questions or need assistance in this process.

Winter Sports 2022

​MCS partners with a local resort each year to allow our students a region specific experience of ski and snowboard lessons. This year, our Winter Sports Program will take place at Snowbird- January 12th, 19th, 26th, February 2nd and 9th. Students K-6th Grade are eligible to participate in Winter Sports and are automatically enrolled in the program.

Registration & Payment:

All eligible students will automatically be billed for Winter Sports- $350 for Kindergarten aged students and $325 for elementary aged students. The afore mentioned amount/s will be added to your FACTS incidental account. If your child will not be participating in Winter Sports please email Sabine at to ensure that you are not billed.


Please note the following expectations to help your child be ready to participate in the Winter Sports Program:

  • Respect, grace and courtesy are expected at all times.
  • Students are responsible for being prepared each week for Winter Sports.
  • Students are expected to carry and keep track of their belongings and equipment.
  • On the bus, students need to sit in their assigned seats and speak quietly with their seatmate.
  • Students must stay with their group, listen and follow directions.

If a student is disrespectful, fails to adjust their behavior, or disregards directions, they will be asked to sit out. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may be asked to miss the next lesson. No refunds will be offered.


It is recommended that you start looking into booking rentals for your student. When borrowing equipment from family or friends, be sure to have your child’s gear checked by a reputable shop. Children grow very quickly, so double check that their clothes and equipment fit them correctly. A list of swaps and shops can be found here.


Chaperoning during Winter Sports is a great way to get your Parent Volunteer Hours in. It is also challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun! Please review the guidelines and expectations linked here and if you are willing to commit we ask that you sign up by completing this short Google form.

The recording of the recent Information Meeting can be found here.

Holiday Gift Guide – Parenting Connection

Purchasing the right gifts for our children can be difficult.  If you are anything like me, you want to give your kiddos meaningful gifts that engage their minds, inspire creativity, and leave everyone with a sense of satisfaction.  But what kinds of things can make us feel like we’ve made responsible choices as parents but still allow our littles the joyful experience of receiving?

Jamie Davis Smith, a Washington D.C.-based mother of four, posted this excellent list article that offers useful ideas for every age.  Additionally, below we have provided a list of ideas, categorized by age.

Best of luck and happy shopping!


  • Do buy toys that are made of natural materials and that require manipulation with the hands.
  • Avoid plastic, batteries and characters.
  • Shop at some of the following –, FatBrain Toys, MindWare, ThinkGeek, The Red Balloon, The Tutoring Toy and TJ Maxx.


  • Blocks (wood or soft)
  • Small household items (broom, dishes, cooking items, etc.)
  • Chunky puzzles
  • Push and Pull toys
  • Shape Sorters
  • Plush toys
  • Books
  • Pounding toys/tools
  • Balls

Early Childhood:

  • See age appropriate gifts from above
  • Wood Blocks
  • Dress Up Items (Doctor, Fireman, Police Officer, Train Conductor, Cowboy, etc.)
  • Art Supplies, Easel
  • Small household items (broom, dishes, cooking items, ironing board, etc.)
  • Clay, Play Dough
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games (Candyland, Hi Ho Cherry-O, SpotIt, Memory Games, etc.)
  • Musical Instruments

Lower Elementary:

  • Legos
  • Dolls
  • Books (coloring books, cursive practice, chapter books, etc.)
  • Cars (np batteries)
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Board Games (Sorry!, Candyland, Cranium, Zooreka, etc.)
  • Puzzles
  • Sports Equipment (soccer ball, soccer net, baseball, baseball glove, football, etc.)
  • Art SUpplies
  • Backpack
  • Scooter
  • Skateboard
  • Bicycle

Upper Elementary:

  • See appropriate ideas from above
  • Tangrams, Origami paper
  • Board Games (Apples to Apples, Story Cubes, Trivia Games, Whoonu, etc.)
  • Gift Cards for getting out (Rock climbing, trampoline parks, horseback riding lessons, ice skating, etc.)
  • Music

Tips for a New Montessori Parent

A happy welcome to the new families entering Montessori Community School.  Parents, you will soon discover that being a part of a Montessori community is encompassing and the efforts you make towards supporting the Montessori approach will determine the success your child has in this environment. Below is an article by Edward Fidellow which will give you several tips to embracing your new role as a “Montessori Parent.”

And so begins your journey……

Becoming a Montessori Parent by Edward Fidellow

There are seven simple steps to becoming a Montessori parent. When we say simple we don’t mean that they are not challenging. It is a lot like the definition of bull riding. “The object is to keep the bull between you and the ground.” Simple – but challenging.

The first step to becoming a Montessori parent took place when you enrolled your child in a Montessori program. That in itself is a challenge. Most of us weren’t raised in a Montessori school. The whole concept is foreign and takes a bit of courage to step out of the norm and our comfort zone. We may have chosen the program because it wasn’t like our school experience (which is why we chose it.) Or we chose it because we saw something unique in a Montessori child we knew. Or we were just plain lucky and stumbled on to a Montessori school and were fascinated by what we saw. Even then we had to deal with the question, “If this is so great, how come the whole world isn’t lined up outside the door to enroll?” (Which is the same question Montessorians keep wondering about too!) But you made a complex and challenging decision to become a Montessori parent. And here you are. So how do you get the best out of your decision? You go to step two.

You begin to understand the core philosophy of what Montessori is all about. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a Montessori teacher to be a good Montessori parent. (You don’t have to know how to manipulate all of those materials and you don’t have to keep fifteen children from climbing the walls.) The most significant Montessori concept is to respect the child. I can almost hear the wheels turning “Of course I respect my child, I love them very much that’s why I have them in Montessori, I want the best for them.” Of course you love them – but respect is different. Respecting the child is first, to respect the nature of children. Children are not mini adults waiting to be molded. They are like tadpoles and caterpillars that have their own form and function of life waiting to become what they are intended to be. We are often impatient for them to become because we don’t realize that childhood – with its curiosity, playfulness, messiness and all – is part of the process of them transforming themselves into the adults they will become. We have to respect that process – which doesn’t mean they always get to do what they want. One of the operative words in Dr. Montessori’s writing is the word “train”. We do need to train our children but we need to train ourselves “not to destroy that which is good” in the nature of our children. The second part of respect is to respect the personality of your child. Your child is not a blank slate. They are already imbued with the unique characteristics of who they are. The artistic bent is already there. The math bent is already formed.The leader, the follower, the giver, the taker, the extrovert, the introvert are already dna’d into your child. Right or left handed, right or left brained are already formed.

So how do you cooperate with nature? You become an observer. That is the next step in becoming a Montessori parent – you train yourself to observe. What does your child gravitate to? What gives them great joy? What occupies them endlessly? These are all clues to who your child is becoming. You are fortunate that you have a trained helper in your child’s Montessori teacher. Your next parent conference should ask more than what has she done but who do you see her becoming. It is hard to cooperate with nature if you are not aware of the nature of your child.

Our third step is to become their champion. I know. I hear you say, “Of course, I’m their champion. I love them.” And so you do. But are their goals your goals? Translation: Do you have goals for them that do not take into account who they are. (There are many jock fathers who do not have jock sons.) Yes, you have many wonderful goals for them to be caring and loving, honest and faithful, upright, truthful, etc – and these are worthy, significant and meaningful goals which they should attain to. But the expression of their lives – career, vocation, work – is best met and fulfilled according to their gifts. When your five year old says, “I want to be a fireman.” He may be reflecting the latest book or television program he’s seen. However, if you continue to ask the why questions, “Why do you think that would be a good job? Why do you think that you would enjoy that?” you may discover that your child is not drawn just to the excitement but to the fact of wanting to help people or he likes the aspect of being part of a team. All are important clues to his personality. Your child needs you to champion and encourage his personality (especially, if it is different than yours.)

The fourth step is to practice what they learn at school – grace and courtesy. Please and thank you, may I, excuse me, please forgive me and a host of other considerations practiced (and modeled) at home will go a long way to giving your child every advantage in life. People respond favorably to a child with great manners.

Fifth, practice independence. Independence is the ability to be self-governing and that comes from making choices, living with the consequences and having responsibilities. As often as possible give your children choices. “What do you want for breakfast, cereal or eggs?” “Do you want two spoonfuls of carrots or one?” (Don’t offer choices where there are no choices. “Do you want carrots? They say no and you serve them anyway.) Give your children chores they can accomplish – making their beds, putting dirty clothes in the laundry, dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Chores build responsibility; responsibility builds independence; independence builds confidence.

Sixth, give them the gift of time. Give them time to accomplish their chores. Give them time to be children. Give them time to breathe. Give them your time.

Seventh, practice humility. They have a lot to learn from you. What is easy for you as an adult is mystifying and beyond challenge for them. Let your words be seasoned with grace. Look for the good in what they do. Their motives are often pure; their actions imperfect. Yet, we have a lot to learn from them also. And when you are wrong (when, not if) practice the humility of saying, “Please forgive me.” It will not destroy your authority or their respect for you. It will teach them one of the great lessons of life – when you fail, whether it’s in a relationship, school, career or life – own the failure and start over again – to succeed another day.

Becoming a Montessori parent is to become the best parent you can be.