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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 admin@risingheightsacademy.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:

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Prepared Environment

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.

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Mixed-Age Grouping

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.

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Observation

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.

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Individualized Instruction

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.

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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.

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Work Cycles

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.

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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.

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Progress Tracking

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.

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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.

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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.

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Flexible Curriculum

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.

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Parent Commmunication

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.

Compare Montessori and Traditional Schools

The following excerpts were taken from accredited publications in regard to scientific studies done on Montessori Education.

Montessori students perform higher, on average, in academic outcomes than traditional schooling.

According to the National Institute of Health, Montessori students perform 1/4 Standard Deviation higher than students in traditional education on academic outcomes, especially in the areas of language arts and math. 

Psychology Today published a study that did a systematic review to measure if Montessori vs Traditional education had better outcomes, both academically, socially, and emotionally. In a nutshell, Montessori has meaningful and positive benefits compared to traditional education.

Montessori students perform higher, on average, in nonacademic outcomes than traditional schooling.         

According to the National Institute of Health, Montessori students perform 1/3 Standard Deviation higher than students in traditional education on nonacademic outcomes, including self-regulation (executive function), well-being at school, social skills and creativity.

How?

Montessori classrooms place a high value on teaching children how to learn for themselves.  Students are encouraged to reach their highest potential at their own individual pace.  In traditional classrooms, students follow the same lessons at the same time frame - leaving some children behind while others pull ahead.

Montessori students are, on average, a full school year ahead by sixth grade.

A recent article in Psychology Today, shows that the Montessori teaching philosophy has been designed to accommodate an extensive range of learning styles, temperaments, capabilities, and personalities.  Even children who may find it challenging to remain focused on a single activity can thrive in the Montessori environment.

Montessori Education in childhood can lead to a happier adulthood.

A new study published in Frontiers of Psychology found that adults who attended Montessori schools as children experienced higher personal well-being levels than those who attended conventional schools. After surveying nearly 2,000 people, the researchers found that former Montessori students scored higher in all 18 measures of psychological well-being related to general well-being, engagement, social trust, and self-confidence.

"Montessori pedagogy has features that enhance well-being contemporaneously and predictively, including self-determination, meaningful activities, and social stability."

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Further Information

What is our methodology?

Rising Heights Academy has a Montessori 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.  We also 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).

How do you connect with parents?

Not only is our goal to help each child rise to their potential, but our second major goal is to have a true partnership 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 as well as receive daily notes/pictures on their child's progress. 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. 
Teachers are also accessible during the work day to meet with and go over any concerns you may have. Since we have two teachers per classroom that swap halfway through the day, there is always time to schedule a one-on-one conversation or a group meet a the end of the school day. 

At RHA, we understand and value our connection with families and are truly grateful for the trust in guiding this young generation.

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 there two teachers per class?

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. Therefore, we have an AM lead guide with an assistant lead guide, as well as a different PM lead guide with an assistant guide. 

We know that in splitting the day for a teacher, they can use their energy optimally in the classroom half the day and then plan, prepare and give immediate feedback via office hours 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.

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.

How many classrooms are there 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 is your tuition and do you offer financial aide?

Lower Elementary Tuition: $1185/month

Upper Elementary Tuition: $1385/month

We offer a 5% discount for multiple children enrolled. Please review the Parent Guidebook for details and information in regard to this discount.

There is also a 3% discount for those paying directly via their bank account vs with debit/credit card.

Please see our Financial Aide page for more information about scholarships and programs.

Please note the Utah Education Fits All scholarship information as the scholarship application is available for any child wishing to attend a private school.

Do you follow state standards?

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 "Introduced, Practicing, Needs More and 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.

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 classroom 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.

Security.

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. 

Each classroom door automatically locks from the outside so no unauthorized entry is allowed.

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 26 cameras on property including the parking lot to provide information and security.

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.

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