How old does my child need to be to attend your preschool?
Preschools can accept children from the exact day that they turn two and a half. The recommended age for a child to start in a Montessori preschool programme is between the age of two and a half to three and a half and priority for places goes to children at this age. The Montessori preschool programme is based on the child attending for a full three years from the age of three to the age of six. The maximum benefit from attending the programme comes from attending starting at the age of two and a half or three and attending for the whole three years.
Does my child need to be toilet trained in order to attend the preschool?
Yes, your child needs to be out of nappies by the time they start attending. If your child has recently given up wearing nappies, please note that you should provide a large supply of clothing for your child to change into in the case of any toilet accidents which may need to be replaced on a regular basis.
How can I prepare my child for beginning to attend the preschool?
There are a variety of ways. You can attend an open morning with your child if there is one scheduled. You can come to borrow books from our library of English language books for children with your child as a reason to come to visit us on a few occasions before your child starts their adaptation period. You can book a day to come into the preschool at 12.00pm on a day when the children attending the preschool on that day have their outside time (so not on days when it is pouring with rain or there is poor air quality). You can enter the classroom with your child and spend some time with the child’s teacher to allow your child to get used the classroom environment in a relaxed way.
How does the adaptation period look for a new child?
Step by step. A new child typically comes into preschool for an hour and a half on their first day, although some children might get tired earlier than this and others may feel comfortable for slightly longer. The parent needs to be readily available during the adaptation period to collect their child at short notice if necessary. If your child gets tired or upset we expect that you will be available to collect them promptly. We want the child have a positive feeling about being in our preschool and we need your support with this in the early days. We gradually build up the amount of time that the child is at the preschool day by day as they begin to feel more and more comfortable in our environment.
Can I attend the preschool with my child during the first days?
Our expectation is that your child will attend the preschool without you being present in the classroom. We do not allow parents inside the classroom with their child once the child starts their adaptation period. We have a limited amount of space in the classrooms and the presence of parents in the classroom with a new child is disruptive to the organisation and functioning of the classroom. In order to prepare your child for attending the preschool, please see the answer to the question above ‘How can I prepare my child for beginning to attend the preschool?’
What does the children’s daily schedule look like?
Children arrive at the preschool between 8.30am and 9.00am. The morning learning period is from 9.00am to 12.00pm. Children engage with the Montessori learning materials during the morning activities and then they have a group session to round off the morning learning period at around 11.30am. They go outside if the weather and air quality permits between 12.00pm and 1.00pm. After outside time, there is dinner time from 1.00pm. After dinner, younger children may lie down on a low bed to take a nap and older children may choose to look at a book. The afternoon learning period is from 2.00pm to 4.00pm and may also finish with a group activity, such as the teacher reading a story to the children. Children not registered for after preschool care should be collected at 4.00pm.
When does my child need to arrive at the preschool?
Your child should be in their classroom by 9.00pm every day. It is important in a Montessori programme that children start their day punctually to fully benefit from all the learning and language experiences that the programme offers. As one of our most important aims is to develop concentration in children, it is very problematic for the organisation of the classroom if any children arrive late – it distracts the children who have arrived on time and are already getting settled into the first learning tasks of the day. Children also benefit from a set daily routine where they know what to expect and things in the day happen at regular times.
Can my child attend for a shorter number of hours or a reduced number of days?
During the adaptation period, we gradually build up the time that the child attends the preschool. Our expectation is that once the child feels comfortable in our programme that they will attend the preschool every day until 4.00pm. It is important that children in a Montessori preschool programme attend for 7 hours per day to get the full effect of the Montessori environment with the Montessori trained teacher as well as spend time being in an English language environment, in particular, with the native speaker teacher. The amount of time to build up to 4.00pm varies from child to child. For some children it may be a matter of a few weeks and for others a matter of a few months. However, children in their second year of the preschool programme are expected to attend to the end of the preschool day at 4.00pm.
Can my child take a nap at preschool?
Yes, younger children typically need to take a nap after their dinner. We provide low beds for this purpose. Children tend to take a nap between 2.00pm and 3.30pm. They then eat their afternoon snack and may do an afternoon learning activity before being collected by their parent/carer.