6585 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230

FAQs

FAQs

Do all schools with “Montessori” in the name follow the Montessori Method?

No. At Pacifica Montessori, all head teachers are credentialed in Montessori, having gone through the full AMI or AMS Montessori training, and we apply the Montessori Method in full. However, there is no real copyright protection to the Montessori name, and therefore some schools have aspects of the Montessori philosophy and some are Montessori in name only. If you are looking for an authentic Montessori education for your child, ask where the teachers received their Montessori training. AMI and AMS both provide excellent Montessori training.

Does Montessori prepare children for the real world?

Yes. Children who grow up in authentic Montessori schools tend to be well-adjusted and very successful in life, with strong self-motivation and highly developed social and emotional intelligence. : Many of the world’s innovators and key influencers of positive change came from a Montessori education. Here are some examples.

How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they choose?

Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something they’ve chosen. While a student may choose what to focus on learning on any given day, there are specific materials and activities in the “prepared environment” of the Montessori classroom that enable him or her to learn progressively and effectively, at an individual pace.

The student isn’t at it alone. The teachers observe and guide, providing materials and activities that advance the child’s learning by building on skills already gained, increasing mastery, and preventing the child from moving on before being ready. In addition, seeing what another student nearby is doing triggers curiosity, creating a natural interest in diverse areas of the curriculum.

Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?

Montessori schools teach a curriculum that includes the same basic skills as traditional schools, with academic rigor. The subject areas of traditional schools, such as math, science, history, geography, and language, are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together, creating a cosmic perspective.

While studying a map of Africa, for example, students may explore the history, art and inventions of several African nations. This may lead them to explore ancient Egypt, including hieroglyphs and their role in the history of writing. The study of the pyramids then has a logical progression to geometry. This approach to curriculum shows how everything is interrelated, and enables students to become thoroughly immersed in a topic, allowing their love of learning to blossom.

Why are there mixed-age classrooms?

In the Montessori classroom, children are part of a diverse, dynamic community. Older children are role models for the younger children. Younger children look up to the older children and want to be like them, creating a sense of motivation to learn new things and develop positive character traits like responsibility, respect, kindness and honesty. Children learn at their own pace. Students are also teachers. A student who has already mastered a lesson may teach a lesson to other children in the class. Children at Pacifica Montessori stay with the same preschool and kindergarten teacher for three years and with the same elementary teacher for five years, enabling a close bond to be formed.

How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools?

The small but growing body of research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools suggests that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers. One study, for example, showed higher scores on standardized math and science tests in high school. Another study found that the essays of 12 year old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structure than those written by the non-Montessori students. Research also shows better social and behavioral skills and independent, positive decision-making under social pressures.

The academic performance of Pacifica Montessori students is consistent with these findings. And, based on substantial parent feedback, graduates of Pacifica Montessori Primary and Elementary School tend to have a stronger sense of self-assuredness, responsibility and social maturity than many of their peers in conventional schools.

Why don't Montessori teachers give grades?

Grades, like other external rewards, have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. The competition grades create may temporarily motivate students to do what it takes to get a good grade, but doesn’t naturally motivate them to engage in the learning process. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn. A self-motivated learner also learns to be self-sufficient, without needing reinforcement from outside.

Pacifica Montessori teachers don’t assign grades, but they closely observe and guide each student’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. Progress reports are given during our twice-yearly conferences. These reports show which lessons have been given and which have been mastered by your child.

Why aren’t tests given at Montessori schools?

The Montessori Method does not use testing to motivate or create competition between children. In fact, the teacher’s one-on-one observations of the students and having them teach lessons they’ve mastered to other children is what constitutes testing. However, we administer the Stanford 10 Test each year to our elementary students for two reasons. We recognize that parents want to be assured that their child is mastering the academic standards, and it’s helpful to give the results of a child’s testing to his or her next school for appropriate class placement as relevant.

How is the adjustment from Pacifica Montessori to conventional elementary or middle school?

As with the transition to any new school, there will always be an adjustment period. What we hear consistently from both parents and student alumni, however, is that Pacifica Montessori prepares students very well to thrive academically and socially, even going into much larger public and private schools. Parents’ concerns typically are focused on how their kids will transition from Pacifica Montessori Elementary School to middle school. Almost all Pacifica students enter at grade level or higher across all subject areas. They enter these schools with a high level of responsibility, self-motivation, time management skills and a natural love of learning, and are often surprised that some of their peers who have come up through conventional schooling have a more difficult time.

Socially, Pacifica Montessori students gain a strong sense of self-worth and interpersonal skills, so they are able to navigate new social waters, effectively stand up to social pressures and build great friendships.

Is there parent involvement at Pacifica Montessori?

Yes. At Pacifica Montessori, we welcome parent involvement, and this can take many different forms, depending on your talents, interests and availability. For example, art is integrated into the curriculum in many ways, such as learning about specific artists, artwork of different cultures, art history and creating different art forms. Some of these wonderful lessons have been given by parent volunteers. Families are encouraged to share their culture with the classroom. There is also a list of parent-volunteers for the Elementary Class who make themselves available for field trips, or what Dr. Montessori called “Going Out” of the classroom to learn more, based on what specific students are interested in diving into more deeply.

FAQs

Do all schools with "Montessori" in the name follow the Montessori Method?

No. At Pacifica Montessori, all head teachers are credentialed in Montessori, having gone through the full AMI or AMS Montessori training, and we apply the Montessori Method in full. However, there is no real copyright protection to the Montessori name, and therefore some schools have aspects of the Montessori philosophy and some are Montessori in name only. If you are looking for an authentic Montessori education for your child, ask where the teachers received their Montessori training. AMI and AMS both provide excellent Montessori training.

Does Montessori prepare children for the real world?

Yes. Children who grow up in authentic Montessori schools tend to be well-adjusted and very successful in life, with strong self-motivation and highly developed social and emotional intelligence. : Many of the world’s innovators and key influencers of positive change came from a Montessori education. Here are some examples.

How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they choose?

Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something they’ve chosen. While a student may choose what to focus on learning on any given day, there are specific materials and activities in the “prepared environment” of the Montessori classroom that enable him or her to learn progressively and effectively, at an individual pace.

The student isn’t at it alone. The teachers observe and guide, providing materials and activities that advance the child’s learning by building on skills already gained, increasing mastery, and preventing the child from moving on before being ready. In addition, seeing what another student nearby is doing triggers curiosity, creating a natural interest in diverse areas of the curriculum.

Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?

Montessori schools teach a curriculum that includes the same basic skills as traditional schools, with academic rigor. The subject areas of traditional schools, such as math, science, history, geography, and language, are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together, creating a cosmic perspective.

While studying a map of Africa, for example, students may explore the history, art and inventions of several African nations. This may lead them to explore ancient Egypt, including hieroglyphs and their role in the history of writing. The study of the pyramids then has a logical progression to geometry. This approach to curriculum shows how everything is interrelated, and enables students to become thoroughly immersed in a topic, allowing their love of learning to blossom.

Why are there mixed-age classrooms?

In the Montessori classroom, children are part of a diverse, dynamic community. Older children are role models for the younger children. Younger children look up to the older children and want to be like them, creating a sense of motivation to learn new things and develop positive character traits like responsibility, respect, kindness and honesty. Children learn at their own pace. Students are also teachers. A student who has already mastered a lesson may teach a lesson to other children in the class. Children at Pacifica Montessori stay with the same preschool and kindergarten teacher for three years and with the same elementary teacher for five years, enabling a close bond to be formed.

How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools?

The small but growing body of research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools suggests that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers. One study, for example, showed higher scores on standardized math and science tests in high school. Another study found that the essays of 12 year old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structure than those written by the non-Montessori students. Research also shows better social and behavioral skills and independent, positive decision-making under social pressures.

The academic performance of Pacifica Montessori students is consistent with these findings. And, based on substantial parent feedback, graduates of Pacifica Montessori Primary and Elementary School tend to have a stronger sense of self-assuredness, responsibility and social maturity than many of their peers in conventional schools.

Why don't Montessori teachers give grades?

Grades, like other external rewards, have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. The competition grades create may temporarily motivate students to do what it takes to get a good grade, but doesn’t naturally motivate them to engage in the learning process. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn. A self-motivated learner also learns to be self-sufficient, without needing reinforcement from outside.

Pacifica Montessori teachers don’t assign grades, but they closely observe and guide each student’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. Progress reports are given during our twice-yearly conferences. These reports show which lessons have been given and which have been mastered by your child.

Why aren’t tests given at Montessori schools?

The Montessori Method does not use testing to motivate or create competition between children. In fact, the teacher’s one-on-one observations of the students and having them teach lessons they’ve mastered to other children is what constitutes testing. However, we administer the Stanford 10 Test each year to our elementary students for two reasons. We recognize that parents want to be assured that their child is mastering the academic standards, and it’s helpful to give the results of a child’s testing to his or her next school for appropriate class placement as relevant.

How is the adjustment from Pacifica Montessori to conventional elementary or middle school?

As with the transition to any new school, there will always be an adjustment period. What we hear consistently from both parents and student alumni, however, is that Pacifica Montessori prepares students very well to thrive academically and socially, even going into much larger public and private schools. Parents’ concerns typically are focused on how their kids will transition from Pacifica Montessori Elementary School to middle school. Almost all Pacifica students enter at grade level or higher across all subject areas. They enter these schools with a high level of responsibility, self-motivation, time management skills and a natural love of learning, and are often surprised that some of their peers who have come up through conventional schooling have a more difficult time.

Socially, Pacifica Montessori students gain a strong sense of self-worth and interpersonal skills, so they are able to navigate new social waters, effectively stand up to social pressures and build great friendships.

Is there parent involvement at Pacifica Montessori?

Yes. At Pacifica Montessori, we welcome parent involvement, and this can take many different forms, depending on your talents, interests and availability. For example, art is integrated into the curriculum in many ways, such as learning about specific artists, artwork of different cultures, art history and creating different art forms. Some of these wonderful lessons have been given by parent volunteers. Families are encouraged to share their culture with the classroom. There is also a list of parent-volunteers for the Elementary Class who make themselves available for field trips, or what Dr. Montessori called “Going Out” of the classroom to learn more, based on what specific students are interested in diving into more deeply.

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