FAQs

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 volunteering on committees. 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.

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 toileting policy?

In order to provide the Montessori curriculum, all children attending SAMS are required to be toilet trained prior to starting school. SAMS is not a daycare and the school is not equipped for diapering or toilet training services. When a teacher is busy changing a child’s soiled clothing, it takes away from learning time for all children and removes an adult from the direct supervision of and interaction with the rest of the class. Accidents also pose health risks to the entire SAMS community.

SAMS considers a child toilet trained when they…

Some toileting accidents may happen as a child transitions into school. By definition “accidents'' are unusual incidents that happen infrequently. Children will need an extra set of clothes at school for this reason. In these instances, the teachers will help children change their clothes, encouraging independence as much as possible. SAMS teachers will not wipe children’s bottoms. Parents will be informed in writing of accidents at school, and at that time it is the parent’s responsibility to address and work to correct this issue with their child. However, if there are still accidents after 4 weeks of transiting to school, this will no longer be considered an accident, it will be considered not toilet trained for SAMS, as defined below.

A child will not be considered toilet trained for our program if a child has four (4) accidents in a two (2) week period. If this happens a child will need to stay at home for at least five (5) days including weekends or longer until the child is fully toilet trained, which includes but is not limited to the above criteria. Parents are still accountable for payment of tuition per enrollment agreement policies that tuition is for the entire school year. If after this period there are still continuous accidents, the child may be dismissed from school because they are not toilet trained and they would benefit from another program.

Additionally, if a child is not using the bathroom at SAMS, having accidents without notifying a teacher, refusing to go the bathroom when asked, and/or is not aware they are soiled or wet the child is not eligible to use the optional Early Care, Lunch or the Afternoon Program until the team feels the child is ready.

This policy is intended to ensure the safety and happiness of the children and teachers at SAMS. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please reach out to discuss.

What is your discipline policy?

At SAMS, we strive for peace and respect amongst the children and teachers. This is achieved through the prepared environment, ground rules, expectations and role modeling.

Discipline at SAMS is based on Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline approach as it closely aligns with the Montessori philosophy. Her approach shares a mutual respect for both child and adult and focuses on children becoming responsible, respectful and resourceful members of the community. The SAMS team models grace, courtesy, respect and problem solving skills throughout the daily activities in the classroom. Redirection and logical consequences are used when appropriate choices are not being made or there are behavioral problems.

When conflict between children happens they are encouraged to “check in” with the help of a teacher. The child is to recognize how their actions, words or choices impacted others and then to offer resolution to correct the situation. Each child may differ in their ability to make correct choices. Some may need rules or controls that another may not.

At times the team may have a child visit the office for a short time period in hopes a different environment might have a positive effect on the choices they make. During their time in the office with a team member, they will be given calming materials and/ or books. The office is the only space at school that is separate from the classroom and has supervision. Parents will be notified if this happens.

If a child’s behavior becomes extreme, repetitive or disruptive the team will schedule a meeting with the parents, to establish a plan, develop consequences and if needed to seek outside resources for the child.

Is the optional Afternoon Program available to all children?

SAMS Morning Primary Program and the optional programs are structured and intentional. They are based on the Montessori philosophy and there are ground rules, expectations and purpose built into each program; they are not daycare or play based. When starting the Morning Primary Program, it is best for children to stay no longer than 11:45 for the first few days and/or weeks. This allows them to become comfortable with the school, teachers, and routine. If you want to extend your child’s day, we ask that you check in with a teacher beforehand to ensure a smooth transition.

Optional Programs are defined as programs that are not part of the Morning Primary Program tuition. These include Early Care, Lunch and the Afternoon Program.

Due to the nature of these programs some children may not be ready to extend their day to include the Optional Programs. If the team observes a child having any difficulties during the Morning Primary Program class time and/or the Optional Programs, they have the right to require that the child does not begin or continue attending the Optional Programs until ready or changes are made. These difficulties may include, but are not limited to: behavioral, toileting, following directions, listening, impulse control, being tired, or the need for one on one attention.

The decision for a child not to attend the Optional Programs is made by the team, not by any individual teacher and arrived at with the best interest of the child and the classroom in mind. If this decision is made, a parent or caregiver will be given suggestions on areas that are in need of improvement and that should be worked on at home and school. Along with this, a timeframe will be given to check in before a child is eligible to participate or return to the Optional Programs.

What is SAMS daily schedule?

SAMS primary program begins at 9:00 a.m. and runs through 11:45 a.m. SAMS also offers optional Early Care, Lunch and Afternoon programs, at additional cost, that extends 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: