Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that this page can provide some clarity and openness about Rising Heights Academy. After reading this information, if you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
In a Montessori classroom, students of different ages and abilities are often grouped together, the teacher utilizes a unique approach that focuses on individualized instruction, self-directed learning, and creating a prepared environment. This method is designed to cater to each child's developmental stage, learning pace, and interests. Here's how a Montessori teacher manages a class of different age kids day to day:
The classroom is set up with various learning materials and activities that cater to a wide range of abilities and interests. These materials are carefully designed to be self-correcting and engaging, allowing students to explore and learn independently.
Montessori classrooms typically have students of different ages grouped together. This allows for peer learning, where older children can help and guide younger ones, while younger children are inspired by observing the older ones' activities.
The teacher spends time observing each student to understand their individual strengths, interests, and areas that need further development. This information guides the teacher in providing appropriate learning opportunities for each child.
Based on their observations, the teacher tailors instruction to match each child's needs. They may introduce new materials to a child when they're ready, demonstrate how to use them, and then step back to allow the child to work independently.
Freedom of Choice
Students are given the freedom to choose their activities from the prepared environment. This choice fosters independence, self-motivation, and a sense of ownership over their learning.
The class day is organized into work cycles where students engage in focused activities. These cycles include time for individual work, group activities, and outdoor play. The teacher may hold short group lessons to introduce new concepts or skills, and students can opt to participate based on their interests.
Guidance and Facilitation
The teacher serves as a guide, providing support and assistance when needed. They may offer individual or small group lessons based on students' requests or observations of their progress.
Montessori teachers keep records of each child's progress, noting their achievements, areas of growth, and challenges. This helps in planning future activities and providing feedback to parents.
Respect for Pace
The Montessori philosophy respects each child's unique pace of learning. There's no rigid timeline for completing tasks; instead, the focus is on the child's understanding and mastery of concepts.
Grace and Courtesy
Montessori classrooms emphasize the development of social skills and empathy. Older students often model behaviors for younger ones, creating a supportive and respectful community.
While there is a general framework of learning areas (such as practical life, sensorial, language, math, and cultural studies), the curriculum is adaptable to the interests and abilities of each child. This ensures that learning is meaningful and engaging.
Montessori teachers maintain open communication with parents to share insights about their child's progress, interests, and areas for growth. This collaboration helps create a holistic understanding of the child's development.
In a Montessori classroom, the teacher's role is not just to impart knowledge but to facilitate a learning environment that nurtures curiosity, independence, and a love for learning. The diverse age groupings and individualized approach foster a sense of community and allow children to learn from and with each other, creating a rich and dynamic learning experience.
What is our methodology?
Rising Heights Academy has a Montessori-lead base with an emphasis in T.E.A.M. (Technology, Engineering, Art and Music). Walking into a classroom you'll immediately know it has Montessori roots, however, we introduce more modern technology concepts that you typically wouldn't find in a traditional Montessori teaching structure. (Please see the Parent Guidebook for a more detailed description).
What is a Montessori-based classroom?
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play based on normalization. In the classroom, children make creative choices in their learning while highly trained teachers/guides offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.
Why are we having to pay the full year when the students are out for the summer?
In order to make it more affordable for families, tuition is paid out over a 12 month period instead of just when school is in session (starting in June and ending in May the following year).
Why do you require a commitment fee?
The Commitment Fee will ensure your child's enrollment for the year. This financial commitment is necessary for planning purposes. After the commitment fee is paid and your child's application accepted, you will receive a welcome email and enrollment checklist for you to review and fill out.
Do you follow the state standards and traditional grading system?
The Montessori scope and sequence covers the state standards in a more chronological and comprehensive way. The classroom is designed in such a way that the children are able to discover and review concrete materials in order to better understand abstract concepts which is more in line with their development.
Instead of the traditional grading system, we adhere to "Needs More, Practicing, Mastered" review on each individual standard so you will know exactly where your child is excelling/struggling vs assigning an arbitrary letter to an overall subject.
The safety of our children is of upmost importance.
All doors automatically lock when school begins. Children will need to buzz in to enter the school building if they are tardy.
Adults won't be allowed to wander the school building unaccompanied and children being checked out early will need to be brought to the reception area for pick up. (Tours available by appointment).
There are 35 cameras on property including the parking lot to provide information and security.
Bulletproof vinyl is being installed on all front-facing windows.
The entire back yard of the school is fenced.
There is only one entrance into the building via reception though there are two more emergency exits located in each lower/upper elementary vestibule that are only accessible from the inside as well as doors to the backyard/play area.
How do you connect with parents?
Rising Heights Academy uses a program called Transparent Classroom that will allow parents to log in and view their child's progress. Parents can also view pictures and items uploaded to their child's portfolio. They can see what lessons are planned, have been taught and their mastery in several areas. Parents will also be able to connect with the school calendar and view announcements from the school on the homepage. They can download the app for easy access on any mobile device. A link to invite parents to join Transparent Classroom will be sent after the application has been accepted and commitment fee paid.
Why are there 2 teachers per classroom?
A hands-on approach that teaches several individual and group lessons throughout the day while maintaining a safe classroom management structure, requires a lot of energy. We know that in splitting the day for a teacher, they can use their energy optimally half the day and then plan, prepare and give immediate feedback the other half. Through this method we know it will help foster and improve individualized lesson planning, teacher energy throughput and team instruction so that each child may rise to their own potential.
How many classrooms are there in the school and why do you combine grades?
There are four classrooms total at Rising Heights Academy, two lower elementary (grades 1-3) and two upper elementary (grades 4-6).
We have seen that mixed age groups perform better and master skills faster than separated grades. The younger children observe and desire to do and learn what the older children are accomplishing, while the older children master concepts and responsibility by mentoring the younger children.
What are the tuition fees and do you provide any discounts?
Lower Elementary Tuition: $1385/month
Upper Elementary Tuition: $1585/month
We offer a 5% discount for multiple children enrolled. Please review the Parent Guidebook for details and information in regard to this discount.
About our building.
Those that know Montessori should be familiar with the phrase "prepared environment" and realize that every aspect of the construction of the building was done with the child in mind.
Each of the classrooms is 1500sqft providing ample space for movement. There are multiple learning surfaces from regular student desks that can easily be moved to work alone or with a friend. There are multiple window seats and a low-rise desk where you can sit on a cushion close to the ground. Also, children have space to work on a picnic table or wood stump right outside the doors.
Every classroom has large windows out the back showing the majesty of the mountains as well as letting in the natural light which positively impacts learning.
The school has a library as well as a built-in stage to provide ample access to literature and group activities.
The grounds have 2 playgrounds (lower and upper elementary), grow boxes for each group, an outdoor amphitheater area and an orchard. We value the importance of growing, nurturing and connecting ourselves with the world around us.
We also took into account the value, love and insight Midway residents have for their architecture so throughout the project you can see the captured Swiss essence. From the familiar sloping gabled rooftops to the use of natural materials such as stone, wood and metal throughout.