Frequently Asked Questions
about Daycroft Montessori School
How is Daycroft different from a public school?
Public schools are mandated to teach to the group and meet group goals. Independent schools in general, and Daycroft Montessori School in particular, teach to the individual and meet the individual’s goals.
Is Daycroft a religious school?
Daycroft Montessori School is a non-sectarian school. We do address religion within the context of culture – for example, celebrations during the winter season – or explaining where the annotation A.D. came from while learning about timelines of ancient history. We are fortunate to have students and families from a broad spectrum of cultures and religious beliefs.
What is the student-to-teacher ratio at Daycroft?
Daycroft has two teachers in each classroom. We have a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio in preschool (20 students maximum per classroom), 12:1 ratio in kindergarten (24 maximum), and 13:1 ratio in elementary school (26 maximum). The ratio does not include the specials teachers (art, music, Spanish, physical education, library/technology), which makes the ratio even lower, nor does it account for a less than maximum classroom.
What is the daily schedule like at Daycroft?
Each Daycroft classroom has as much uninterrupted class time as possible. Special classes are scheduled at the beginning or end of “work time” as much as possible to allow the students to develop extended concentration.
How much do the children get to do on their own at Daycroft?
Each Daycroft classroom is arranged and materials are displayed to meet the needs of the individual children. Materials are selected for their attractiveness and appeal for each student, and also for the content. Teachers create an individual work plan for each student that includes work/tasks to practice and proceed with as students take the next step in developing comprehension in each core subject. Students are also allowed “free choice” shelf work as part of their weekly work plan. Independence in completing the plans and in selecting their own work is one of the major goals for each individual child.
If Daycroft students do all that on their own, what do the teachers do?
Daycroft teachers observe and assess the needs of each student in their class. To meet these needs, teachers prepare the environment of the classroom – including the materials on the shelves, the groupings of tables and children, and the routine and special lessons of each day. Group and individual lessons prepared and presented by the teachers occur throughout each day, and large group lessons often start off the day.
How much time is spent during special classes at the elementary level?
Daycroft generally has:
- Three physical education classes each week (45 minutes each);
- 90 minutes of Art Studio back to back with 90 minutes of library/technology once per week;
- Spanish class each week for preschool and elementary (with class length steadily increasing as children progress); and
- One general music class (45 minutes) each week, plus Encore for 2nd grade, recorder lessons for 3rd grade, and band and instrument classes for middle and upper elementary.
How “Montessori” is Daycroft?
A Daycroft education blends the distinctive student-centered approach of Maria Montessori with traditional and progressive teaching methods. Most Daycroft classrooms have two teachers credentialed to teach at the appropriate level by a Montessori teacher training center approved by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE); all Daycroft classrooms have at least one Montessori-certified teacher. (Several Daycroft teachers are in Montessori training.) Montessori credentials are multi-year in scope – for example, they may cover ages 3 to 6, or 6 to 9. Daycroft teachers are also certified by the State of Michigan to teach at the appropriate levels.
Why doesn’t Daycroft have textbooks?
The Montessori materials are so well developed and so attractive to children that textbooks are not needed. The concrete, hands-on, manipulative materials help children form very abstract concepts at an early age, and form a strong foundation for future abstract learning. For example, children as young as kindergarten-age work with addition, subtraction, and multiplication with four-digit numbers, using the Golden Bead Material. When students are ready for abstract learning, textbooks are introduced. For example, MacMillan-McGraw Hill math texts are introduced in fourth grade.
“As parents who believe strongly in the Montessori method, we feel we cannot do better for our children.”
—Terri and Mark Fisher, parents of Andrew and Brooke
Diane Mukkala, our head of school, shares her thoughts.
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