Little Sprouts Frequently Asked Questions
Does Little Sprouts follow the Montessori “child-directed” model?
Yes. With guidance from your child’s teacher, each student is responsible for his or her own work and play experiences. Choosing tasks and specific materials are almost always up to the child. By carefully observing each child, teachers help determine which lessons and materials are appropriate for future learning. Some students may reach certain sensitive periods of learning and feel ready for reading, writing, or simple addition and subtraction, while others might be sensitive to practical life, geography, or art.
What makes a Montessori approach unique from a traditional preschool and kindergarten program?
The Montessori classroom uses a holistic approach that emphasizes freedom of movement, fostering independent learning and the use of uniquely designed tactile materials designed by Maria Montessori. The beauty of our program lies in the welcoming balance of comforting routine, tempered with flexibility to meet the needs of each child. One day, you may find each child working on a separate “work” by themselves. On another day, that same group of children may be engaged in small group activities or working with a peer on a challenging work. The children are naturally drawn to the rich variety of materials available to them. Children are encouraged to explore materials that emphasize practical life skills, exploration of the senses, language, math, zoology, botany, geography, music and art.
What does a typical day look like?
The daily schedule at Little Sprouts is flexible enough to provide adaptability when necessary, but structured enough to provide predictability for the children. We want them to view their school as a safe and comforting place, where they know what to expect and when to expect it. The Montessori approach allows for child-directed learning opportunities. As such, the daily schedule may periodically shift to accommodate the learning desires of the children.
The children are greeted by their peers and teachers in the morning, and are able to choose from the Montessori materials on the shelves. This quiet transition into the classroom allows for children to ease into the school environment, deciding for themselves if they would like to work independently, with friends, or with a teacher.
Each morning, children and teachers come together for a meeting in which they can participate in a variety of activities. A typical group meeting may include: learning about new materials, reading stories, singing songs or learning sign language. The children also participate in a morning and, if applicable, afternoon snack. Play and movement are a crucial part of our program and children enjoy daily gross motor activities. Children who stay for a full day are invited to participate in a quiet restful time during lunch.
Does my child have to attend daily?
No. Not all young children want or need a daily program. Our flexible program enables families to choose which days and times work best for each child. Families choose from two to four days per week (Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday or all four days), with either half or fulltime days.
What is the staff/child ratio and group size?
We have an excellent student teacher ratio of 1:6, with two head teachers and one aide in a classroom capped at 18 students. This allows for each child to receive more one-on-one presentations from the teacher on a regular basis. These lessons are individualized to meet each child’s particular needs and learning styles.
Do we have to join a class at the beginning of the year?
No. You may start at any time during the year for most classes if there is still space in the class.
Is my child automatically accepted in Little Sprouts?
Little Sprouts reserves the right to ask a student to leave the program if it is felt his/her needs are not being met, or if the student’s behavior is unmanageable or detracts from the experience of others in the program. Facilitators of the program and the Board of Trustees will work together to make these decisions. The parent or guardian will be contacted about specific concerns prior to any action.
Does my child need to be potty-trained?
Yes. We expect students to be independent in managing their toilet needs. If, however, a child has physical or other developmental issues that preclude being potty trained, we can work with families to develop a plan that will work with the child’s needs.
Is Little Sprouts a special needs program?
No. While Little Sprouts does not label or “track” students, due to our size and limited resources, there are children who have needs that cannot be accommodated by our program. While we can occasionally accommodate students with minor special needs who are high functioning, we are not a special needs school.
What is the registration process?
Registration is completed online. A pre-admission interview is conducted before your child starts at Little Sprouts. The parent/guardian will meet with the administrator, tour the center, meet the staff members and discuss the child's classroom orientation. Your questions and a detailed explanation of the program will be discussed. A child is considered enrolled in the program only after the registration and materials fees have been received, the administrator confirms the availability of space, and the required paperwork is received.
What if we sign up and find the program does not meet our needs?
Enrollment for new families is on a trial basis for both parties. Within 90 days of starting the program, parent/guardian may remove student from the program or drop classes from the student’s schedule for any reason, without further financial obligation other than (1) the full tuition through the end of the month in which the student officially notifies Little Sprouts of intent to drop any classes or leave the program (LOL must be notified in writing or via email) (2) materials fees for the entire year and (3) any unpaid tuition and/or class fees. After 90 days of enrollment, new families are obligated to pay the full tuition for the remainder of the program year.
How much do classes cost at Little Sprouts?
Little Sprouts tuition is $8.75/hour plus materials fees.
How does having children ages 3 to 6 in one classroom work?
Having a wide range of ages in the classroom allows for children to learn through peer observation, and also reinforces their own learning through modeling to younger children. Older children develop a strong sense of accomplishment from helping and teaching younger children, while younger children benefit from the modeling and guidance of their older classmates. A multi-age classroom also allows for a broad scope of materials in the classroom that meet a child according to their particular needs, as opposed to just their age.
How will my child be evaluated?
Teachers regularly observe children in the environment. They note their interests, works they are mastering, and areas where they may need more support. Twice a year, teachers create an evaluation that reflects each child’s progress. These reports are completed in February and at the end of the year.
Will my child be prepared for kindergarten or first grade after a year with Little Sprouts?
The Little Sprouts classroom provides a strong foundation for each child. In addition to exposure to academics, children are encouraged to nurture their independence and sense of accomplishment through choosing materials on their own. Teachers regularly present new materials to children as they progress through more complex works in the classroom. Through our detailed evaluations and parent teacher communication, parents and teachers can work together to decide on a positive placement for the upcoming year.