How many students are in each class?
We have three classrooms on our Bellevue campus. The Cedar Room, Garden Room and Pine Room each have a small class size of up to 20 students. Each classroom has one Head Teacher, who holds a Montessori Credential, and one Teaching Assistant, who is working towards earning a Montessori Credential. At the Kirkland Campus we have one class with a class size of 15 students with two teachers who holds a Montessori Credential.
Does my child need to be toilet-trained before starting school?
Children need to be Toilet-trained before starting school at Bellevue Campus. Parents bring in a couple sets of clothing for their child in the event of a potty accident. The child should be able to change their clothes, with verbal assistance from the teacher. Parents will be asked to assist children who require personal service in cleaning up after a potty accident. Children attending the Kirkland Campus are no required to be toilet-trained.
Do you provide lunch for the children?
Children may bring lunches to school in a lunch box. We suggest you add an ice pack for cold foods. We will lightly heat up food items for lunch, if they are contained in microwavable containers. (Please provide nutritious, low-sugar items for your child. To ensure positive eating habits, we do not serve sweetened drinks, candy or chocolate in any form at school and appreciate your adherence to these guidelines). A daily warm lunch is available for purchase. Please check our website for more information or send us an e-mail at
Snacks are available between 9:00-10:45 and after school at 3:45. Parents are asked to take turns providing morning snack for students. Each family will provide snack for their class about once per quarter during the academic school year. Snack will coordinate with curriculum studies and meet all Department of Early Learning requirements for nutrition.
My child is signed up for the Morning Only program. Can they stay for the afternoon some days? If so, what is the cost?
Parents who have children in the Half Day and School Day programs have the option of dropping off their children early or picking them up late. Supplementary fees will be applied in each case.
My child takes a nap every day. Will my child be able to take a nap at school?
If your child naps on a regular basis at school, you will be asked to provide a sleeping bag or a small blanket and a small pillow. Our storage space is limited, so nap items must fit completely inside and be brought to school in a labeled standard-sized pillowcase or zipped plastic bag. For health purposes, we request that the bedding be taken home at the end of each week for cleaning. Please put your child's name on each bedding item. Naptime is between 12:20 and 2:15.
What happens during academic time at school?
Teachers introduce students to a wide variety of materials and activities according to the child's individual skills and interests. Students are then free to choose, under the teacher's guidance, work that they have been introduced to. With repetition, students understand and internalize new concepts.
How much time will the teacher spend with each individual child?
The amount of time spent with each child varies per day. However, all children receive lessons throughout the week and the teacher carefully observes each child working with the materials on lessons previously presented.
What types of special programs do you offer?
Students are offered After school programs including Art, Ceramics, Carpentry, Soccer, Yoga, French lessons once per week and music and movement lessons once per week.
How is creativity fostered?
Many of the Montessori materials allow the child to explore and manipulate an aspect of the environment which develops the child's ability to think creatively. In addition to art projects, songs, dances, poems, and literature are interspersed throughout the curriculum on a daily basis.
What about my child's social and emotional development?
CMS provides a rich academic environment while encouraging social and emotional development. Unit studies on topics such as feelings or making friends guide the students at a whole class level. Teachers promote individual development through carefully orchestrated student partnerships, individual lessons and conversations, and well thought out guidance based on observations.
Can I volunteer at school?
Parents are welcome to volunteer at school. Some volunteer opportunities include: reading with children, art projects, gardening, baking, materials support, planning celebrations, potlucks, participating in Open Houses, Parent Nights, Giving Tree and conferencing. Information on volunteering at Chestnut will be given on Parent Information Night.
I would like to come and observe my child in the classroom. Do I need to schedule a time to do this?
While parents are welcome in the school any time, scheduling a visit is recommended as having just a few parent visitors at a time will allow you to have an authentic experience with your child. Special visiting days offer an opportunity to participate in the classroom with your child.
I want to learn more about Montessori Philosphy. Do you have parent meetings to provide information?
We have several Parent Education meetings set up in the fall and spring. Parents will have an opportunity to learn about Montessori Philosophy from our Director, Jeannine.
How will I know if my child is learning? Will I receive a note each day, letting me know how my child's day went?
Every Friday your child will bring home their “Friday Folder.” In the folder you will find any paperwork your child completed during the week. Do not be surprised if your child does not bring home any paperwork. In the Montessori classroom, we focus on constructing knowledge through the use of carefully developed materials. Most of these do not involve paper. Rest assured that your child is learning even if he/she is not “producing” a lot of paper products for you to see. Comprehensive written reports will be sent to parents in December and May. Photos are emailed to parents on a weekly basis.
How do you discipline children in your school?
Discipline means “to teach.” We discipline children by carefully preparing an environment in which children can be successful, giving clear and firm limits, choices and alternatives, redirection, and lessons in “Grace and Courtesy.” We do not use corporal punishment.
We honor each child in many ways. We use respectful language, voices and movements in our interactions. We guide the child in their development of internal discipline through respectful use of gentle reminders and appropriate choices. All school staff model our school guidelines to respect all people, respect our environment, and respect all creatures within our environment.