When a Child is Not Ready

Above all, we want your child’s experience at Children’s House to be a positive one. We are here for the children — to share the joy of learning and exploring together – and we want them to be happy and excited to come to school each day!

When your child comes for her visit to the classroom, we will assess her approach to the teachers, whether she enters the classroom willingly, and how she engages with the materials she is presented. A child who is still too young for our program will oftentimes be unable to separate from her parents for the visit. She may pull away from the teacher when she takes his hand, or will display unwillingness to go with the teacher by lying on the floor, running away, etc. That’s okay! We will adapt and find a way to connect with her before the visit is over.

While all children experience some sort of transition period upon beginning a school program, children who are ready for the change will adapt and flourish relatively quickly. Other children may take a little longer, but our teachers will keep your posted about your child’s adjustment to the classroom and will make recommendations to ease his or her transition in the days prior to their start day and during their first few weeks.

All children must be toilet-trained to begin at Children’s House. Your child needs to be willing to sit on the toilet when we ask him to, and tell us when he needs to go. We will help in the bathroom until he can do it on his own. If your child is not fully toilet-trained at the time of his visit to the classroom, please be sure to tell the teacher you meet with so we can work on a plan together.

Depending on your child’s anticipated start date, we will make a plan to work with your family to ensure a smooth transition to the classroom when the time comes. For some this may include a week or two of summer camp, for others we might gradually increase the length of their day until they are staying for their full program time. We are always willing to work with parents who have their child’s success in mind and will work with you to ensure your child’s transition is a positive one.

When a child is not emotionally or developmentally ready for school, the experience can be a stressful one for both parent and child. Tears and high emotions can come into play and what could be a fun experience becomes unpleasant and challenging. Children who are not emotionally ready may be frustrated in our classroom environments, where they will be told, “no,” when a material is off-limits to them, or where they will be asked to walk instead of run.

If it is determined that a child will not be ready to start at CHMS by the first day of the new school year, a new start date will be decided, in collaboration with the child’s parents.

Rest assured that we will work with your family to make the experience of starting at Children’s House a positive one for everyone involved!

Is your child ready for school?

The classrooms at Children’s House are designed for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years. All children are different, and some are developmentally ready before others. The following are a few examples of behaviors that indicate a child may be developmentally ready to begin our school:

  • able to sit at circle time and listen to stories and engage in group activities for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • will allow teachers to show him/her how to use the activities on the shelf.
  • will take suggestions from the teacher of work for which he is ready.
  • able to complete the work cycle — take work out, complete the work, and put it away, or at least be willing to let the teacher help her do these things.
  • able to follow simple directions like lining up, washing hands, putting on a coat to go outside.
  • willing to participate in the toileting routine.
  • able to communicate needs to the teacher and other children appropriately.

Children who are entering our program have so much to learn in their first few weeks and months! A willingness to take direction and follow the teachers’ directions are the key components to a successful transition to the classroom.

When considering acceptance of a child, we at Children’s House are obligated to consider not just the readiness of the individual child, but also the needs of the whole classroom. Children who are too young take an extraordinary amount of the teacher’s time, to the detriment of the classroom as a whole. We want every child to be happy in the classroom, which means that he or she needs to be developmentally ready for the experience.

What to Look for in a Montessori School

We would like your observation in our school to be as informative as possible. Here are some things to look for:

  • The environment
    • Is the classroom clean and orderly?
    • Are the furnishings child-sized and appropriate?
    • Are the materials easily available to the children?
  • The children
    • Do the children seem happy?
    • Are they free to choose their own work?
    • Are they working with the materials and engaged in learning?
    • Are they concentrating?
    • Are they uninterrupted in their work?
  • The staff
    • Are the teachers pleasant, responsive, and encouraging to the children?
    • Do they listen to the children, and treat them with respect?
    • Do they spend most of their time giving lessons to individuals or small groups of children, or observing the children?
    • Do they appear to love working with children?
  • Other factors
    • Is an extended period of time available for the children to work in the classroom?
    • Is time set aside for group activities and outdoor play?
    • Does this classroom seem like a place where your child would be happy?

Cinthia, our office administrator, will show your our classrooms and playground and be available to answer any questions you may have.  

You might also be interested in this post from our CHMS blog: “What to Look for in a Montessori Preschool” 

Your Child’s Visit

We would like to meet your child and have him work in the classroom before a final decision about attendance is made. Children’s visits should last about 30 minutes. This will give your child a chance to experience working in the classroom with the teacher and other students.

It would be best if your child could be with us without parents, but we know that sometimes this is difficult, especially with young ones. If you think your child can handle your leaving for a few minutes, please try to do so, but we ask that you remain in the building for safety reasons. If leaving the room is not feasible, please try to stay “out of the picture” as much as possible to allow the teacher to have some one-on-one time with your child. She will engage him in conversation, and offer some familiar activities to help him feel comfortable in the classroom. Depending on the age, she will also work with some of the math and language materials to determine readiness.

After the visit, if you think Children’s House Montessori School is the right place for your child, we will give you a contract and an enrollment packet, and discuss a start date with you. Return the contract, signed by both parents, and other required paperwork, along with a non-refundable enrollment fee of $250 to hold your child’s place in the classroom. Your child will be ready to start on the agreed date.

Your Visit: What to Expect

We believe that before prospective parents make a commitment to our school, they should understand not only the Montessori philosophy but what it will be like for their child to attend our school. To this end, we ask parents to take a tour of the school and observe the classroom as a part of the application process.

Click the picture below for a full explanation of what you can expect when you visit:

Children's House Montessori School of Reston tour information

The Admissions Procedure

If you are interested in enrolling your child in Children’s House Montessori School, please follow the steps below:

  1. Call or email to make an appointment to tour the school. During the tour, you will become acquainted with our program, and observe the children at work in their environment. 
  2. Fill out an application. A $50 nonrefundable Application Fee will place your child’s name in the waiting pool. 
  3. After the receipt of your application, and if space is available, we will schedule a time for your child to visit the classroom. If there is no space for your child at that time, we will place him/her in the waiting pool. As soon as there is a space for your child, we will call to schedule a visit.
  4. After your child’s visit, if you think Children’s House Montessori School is the right place for your child, you will be given a contract, an enrollment packet, and a start date will be discussed. 
  5. Return the contract, signed by both parents, and other required paperwork, along with a non-refundable enrollment fee of $250 (click here for fees) to hold your child’s place in the classroom. Your child will be ready to start on the agreed date.

For additional questions or to schedule your tour, please call us at 704-481-6678 or use the email form below.