How long has your school been open for?
Highland Montessori has been open for over 37 years! We opened in 1982 when Cecilia Walsh, our current director’s mom, turned her childhood home into a preschool.
What is your approach to curriculum?
Highland Montessori utilizes an approach to child development that incorporates ideas from various child development methods, philosophies, and pedagogies to create a curriculum that is tailored to each individual child’s interests in order to create meaningful learning experiences. By doing this our students are able to construct their knowledge by having hands-on experiences within a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. We give our students choices and encourage them to strengthen their understanding of the world through a variety of natural materials and activities. The curriculum emerges with the children’s growing interests and skill levels as the year progresses. We avoid commercial characters and prescribed products in favor of open-ended explorations that promote creativity and imagination. We believe children learn and grow best within a community of trusting relationships in an authentic nurturing environment. Integral to our philosophy is recognizing that children are competent learners who develop skills and abilities across all domains in an integrated fashion – social and emotional development, physical development, self-help skills, language and literacy development, and cognitive development. Children have an innate curiosity and, as active learners, they construct their understanding of the world through their social interactions with peers, adults, and materials.
What ages do you accept?
We accept students ages 2.5-5, on occasion we will accept students younger than 2.5 if they show that they are developmentally ready for preschool.
How many spots do you have open?
We have full and part-time spots available for the 2019-2020 school year.
How do you handle discipline?
Knowing and meeting expectations encourages independent action and fosters self-esteem. The following are strategies we recommend families use at home, as these are strategies we use here at school:
children are supported and encouraged to use words to solve problems with others
limits and expectations are clearly stated in positive terms
children are redirected to acceptable activities and behaviors
children are given choices and alternatives to help them turn inappropriate needs or choices into constructive ones
we believe in natural and logical discipline (throwing sand = helping clean up sand)
How much time do you spend outside?
We are outside every day from 10 am - 1 pm when we go inside for quiet (nap) time. Then we are outside again from 3:00-5:30 pm. There is a multitude of benefits to children spending time outside, in nature. To name a few, it helps build confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, teaches responsibility, provides stimulation, keeps children active, and reduces stress. We believe that there is no such thing as bad weather there is only bad gear. When it is raining we make sure everyone has rainboots and a rain suit (we use coveralls made by Tuffo) and when it is hot outside we put on sun hats, SPF, and run through the sprinklers in the backyard.
What is your student to teacher ratio?
We have twenty students and four full-time teachers.
Are parents allowed to come and visit?
Yes! We really encourage family involvement and love having you come and spend time with us all at school. If you are interested in coming we highly recommend planning an activity to do with the students, this can be as simple as reading a book to something more involved like cooking or doing an art activity. If you would rather just come join us one morning for show and tell or visit during outdoor time, that is great too we just ask that you please email our director at least 24 hours beforehand to ask if we are able to accommodate that day and time.
Do you take field trips?
We take at least two field trips each year, one in the Fall to a pumpkin patch and one in the Spring to a farm. All of our field trips require family involvement and supervision of their students.
How do you communicate with families?
There are a couple of different methods of communication that we use depending on the situation:
Brightwheel - This app and website is our go-to for so many things including, sending home daily pictures and videos, paying tuition, incident reports, notes about what they are learning, and quick messages between teachers and families.
Email - Every Friday our director will send out an email with updates, reminders, and information about we are learning at school. Email is our preferred method for communicating anything that requires more than a yes/no or short answer.
Drop Off and Pick-Up - We will always try and give you a short summary of your child’s day at the time of pick-up. Anything that has to do with a late drop-off later in the week, a new person picking up, or even a ‘they didn’t sleep too well last night’ should be a Brightwheel message so that all of our teachers receive the information at the same time and can reference it.
Phone - You are welcome to call the school at (650) 347-6450 but there is a chance we won’t be able to answer immediately.
Are birthday celebrations allowed?
Of course! Many of our students actually have their birthday party at our school during school hours by hiring a special performer to come visit or simply bringing some special birthday treats for everyone to share.
When is the school closed for holidays?
We take two weeks for December holidays, one week for Thanksgiving, one week in the Spring, and we are closed for the month of July. For more information, our 2019-2020 school year calendar can be found under the resources tab on our website.
What hours are you open?
Highland is open from 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Monday-Friday. Starting in 2020-2021 we will be switching over to a 7:30 am - 5:00 pm schedule.
What time is snack and lunch?
We serve two snacks daily, one at 10 am and one at 3 pm and lunch is at noon. Our lunch program and daily snacks are included in the price of tuition. Here is an example of what a typical snack and lunch schedule looks like:
Snack: ½ mini bagel with jam, ⅓ banana
Lunch: 1 bean burrito, ⅓ cup avocado, ⅓ cup baked carrots, ½ cup sliced peach, 8 ounces 2% milk (or dairy-free alternative)
Snack: 1 cup applesauce, ⅓ cup animal crackers
What time is nap?
Almost all of our students take a nap, some use the time to rest quietly on their cot. We have nap time from 1-3 pm.
Does my child need potty-trained?
We work with our families to help with potty training, we ask that your child is at least working towards being fully potty trained but they do not need to be completely independent by the beginning of the school year.