FAQs

Q. What is the difference between Montessori and traditional methods of teaching?
A.

Traditional Montessori
Teacher sets curriculum Child chooses materials from a selection carefully pre-selected by the teacher
Teacher sets the pace Child sets the pace
Emphasis on the abstract Opportunity to work with concrete materials as long as needed
Teacher directed Child chooses the activities from those that have been presented to him/her
Teacher centred learning environment Child centred environment
All children treated alike Individual differences are recognised
Children sit in designated places Children free to move around
Silence is often enforced Freedom to speak (without disturbing others)
Work is often interrupted Three hour work cycles
Class of same-aged children Three year age range
Work from workbooks Specially designed materials
Whole class lessons Individual or small group lessons

 

Q. At what age should my child start a Montessori education?
A. The best time to start a child at Blue Gum Montessori School is at three years of age when the intelligence and social characteristics are in full flight of formation. Maria Montessori called this the ‘Absorbent Mind.”

Q. Does my three year old need to be toilet trained?
A. Yes, preferably Montessori Schools generally require children to be toilet trained before commencement in Junior Primary. We offer a Transition to Junior Primary class where children are assisted with their toileting, social and emotional skills and overall development. Children entering our school are placed in the most appropriate class according to their developmental needs. Clearly accidents do happen. However it is not the core role of the teachers and assistants to toilet train the children in their class.

Q. What is the difference between sending my child to Blue Gum Montessori School at the age of three and four, and day care?
A. Montessori is formal education, not child care or Kindy. Montessori activities are part of a carefully planned, purpose filled and progressive curriculum that starts the first day the child enters the school, and continues until the child is twelve years old.

Q. How well do students do at Blue Gum Montessori School?
A. Students’ achievements compare extremely well with traditional school outcomes. One of the best predictors of success is a positive sense of self. Blue Gum Montessori School programs, based on self directed, non-competitive activities, help a child develop a good self image, giving them the confidence to face challenges and changes with optimism and resilience, and instilling a love of learning.

Q. How will my child interact and cope in a multi-age classroom?
A. Multi-age classrooms offer a number of advantages which enhance a child’s educational experience.

1. All social groups interact within a wide range of ages: it’s the natural way for humans to relate.
2. Children learn from their peers as well as their teacher.
3. There are always groups of children working at the same developmental academic or interest level.
4. A family/community atmosphere is fostered within the classroom and the school.
5. Most WA schools are only just catching up as they implement mixed age group classrooms. Unfortunately, most schools do it for purely administrative reasons not educational reasons.

Q. What level will my child be working on? What if they are ahead or behind for their age?
A. The Montessori Method caters for every child as an individual. A child progresses at his/her own rate. At Blue Gum Montessori School, records are kept on each child thereby providing staff with a profile on their general ability, achievement and readiness. The level and ability of each child is continually monitored, and if a learning difficulty arises, that child will receive additional one-on-one support to help them over the hurdle, or parents will be advised to seek outside support.

Q. How do I know my child will not spend all their time doing art and craft?
A.  Teachers, and later the students themselves, keep a record of all the tasks they do. This is monitored, and where appropriate, students will be directed to other activities to keep their school tasks well balanced.

Q. I have heard that the children are allowed to do whatever they want. Is this true?
A. In a Montessori school there is the concept of freedom within knowledge. The children are free to choose work from the presentations (lessons) that they have been given. They are free to behave as they wish within the parameters of community living. It is this freedom that will allow the child to discover what he/she is capable of and encourages the development of independence.

Q. How is discipline handled at the school?
A. There are few discipline problems in a Montessori classroom because of the strong sense of order which balances the structure and freedom. The concept that freedom carries responsibility is introduced from the time the child enters the school. Children can choose from a variety of paths and they are taught the skills and given the tools to succeed in their choices. They are also taught social values to help them make these choices.

All staff are proactive in providing an environment in which respect for others is developed and nurtured. Very occasionally, if a problem persists, a child may be removed from a group to a designated area for time-out to reflect on their behaviour or to become calm – always within the classroom environment. Once they feel calm and in control, they are free to return to the class.

Q. How does Blue Gum Montessori School fit in with the National and State Curriculum and testing program?
A.  All schools in Australia, regardless of ethos or affiliation, are required by law to undertake the National testing of students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

In addition Blue Gum Montessori School is required by the WA Educational Act of 1999 to demonstrate that student outcomes are reflected in the WA Curriculum Council’s Curriculum Framework and its 13 Overarching Statements.

Q. How will my child handle the transition to a traditional high school?
A. Our graduates have made the transition well, both emotionally and academically. The children are prepared for the move.  The Montessori aims of encouraging independent learners, responsible community minded citizens, respect for the environment and cultural diversity all go toward assisting students to make the transition to secondary school a smooth process.

Q. As a parent, what is expected of me?
A. At Blue Gum Montessori School it is not only the child who joins the school, but the family. Parents who are thinking of choosing Blue Gum Montessori School for their child’s formal education should bear the following in mind before making a final decision:

1. All parents must be prepared to have a continuing personal involvement with the school. This involvement may include, but not limited to, Busy Bees, completion of term jobs, election to the Board, fundraising, attendance at parent education evenings, regular classroom observations and parent/teacher interviews. Voluntary work by parents is very rewarding and contributes to keeping costs and fees down. It also builds community.
2. At Blue Gum Montessori School, education is a partnership between the child, the school and the parents, and it is expected that the Montessori philosophy be extended into the home.

Q. Children can be in the same class with the same teacher for three years. How does that work?
A. Montessori’s research indicates that children develop in three year cycles, so the child that comes into the classroom is not the same child who leaves the classroom three years later.  Montessori teachers know that, and it is that vision that they hold when working with the children.  The same class allows the children to develop strong community ties, ideas of community responsibilities and adapting to the changes of a community life, with the movement of children in and out of the class when it is their turn to join or progress to another class.