Visiting Hollis Montessori School will most likely be quite different from other school tours. Here’s what you can expect.
Because you'll be observing classes, ideally you should allow 2 hours for your visit. It may be shorter, but about 2 hours is typical. Please remember that this visit is for adults only. Your child will have an opportunity to visit at a later time.
Our Admissions Coordinator will greet you and let you know if there's anything special happening on your visit day. After a brief introduction to our school, she will give you a clipboard for you to jot down any questions that may arise during your visit, then she will guide you to the classroom where you will have the opportunity to sit quietly to observe the class for about 20 minutes. Depending on the age of your child(ren), you may observe multiple classrooms at different levels.
Our Mixed Age Classrooms
Maria Montessori’s vision was for mixed ages to work together in the same environment, with one lead teacher, or “guide”, and one assistant. Children from 3 to 6 years old are part of our Children’s House classrooms. Children from 6 to 9 years old comprise the Lower Elementary, and 9 to 12 years in the Upper Elementary.
Children work independently and in small groups, practicing skills appropriate to their abilities and interests. They also receive individual and small group lessons (we call these “presentations”) in all areas of the classroom. With guidance and experience in the Montessori classroom, children become skilled at independently choosing work for themselves.
As you spend time in our classrooms, you may observe:
- The environment is organized and attractive
- The teacher acts as a guide to connect the children to meaningful challenges in the classroom environment
- Multi-sensory, hands-on materials are in regular use
- Each child has the opportunity to choose work that interests him/her
- The emphasis is on learning by doing and social development rather than drills, memorizations, or finding information only to answer specific questions
- A child may work as long as he/she wants on an interesting challenge without being interrupted
- The child is allowed to choose a favorite spot to work instead of the adult choosing where he may sit
- Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other
- The children have a regular opportunity to work with children of different ages
- The teachers and staff show respect for the children
- Children are respectful of the teacher and the environment
- The guides and the environment encourages internal self-discipline rather than the teacher acting as primary enforcer of rules
- Learning is its own reward, not motivated by prizes and extrinsic rewards
- The children are calm, focused, and joyful
All of these activities are a normal part of the life in our classroom.
It's important to remember that the children are busy and any interruptions can cause a break in concentration. You should stay seated during your visit and not engage the children in conversation. If a child starts a conversation with you during your visit, you can remind him or her that you are here to observe their work and need to continue observing. Likewise, you should also refrain from talking with other observing adults. (In the Elementary classroom, a child may offer you tea or water. Of course it's fine to accept this!)
School Tour and Q&A
Following your classroom observations our Admissions Coordinator will give you a short tour of our school. Afterward, she will sit down with you to discuss your observations and answer your questions. Lastly, she will give you a folder with information about our school and application materials.
This is the first step of our admissions process. For information about the next steps, see How to Apply.