Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Elm City Montessori go beyond Kindergarten?

Yes.  The school will grow gradually, adding at least one classroom a year until we are a preK3-8th grade school.

2. Does Elm City Montessori follow the state curriculum standards?

Yes. We also meet federal requirements including the Common Core.  Our students will take the CMT assessment every year starting in third grade.

3. Is there a sibling preference in the school placement process?

Yes.  Siblings applying together in the current NHPS school placement process must be listed on the same application form in order to receive sibling preference.  If one sibling is admitted to our school, the other sibling will be given preference for seats available at ECMS.

Siblings of current students will be given preference in the school placement process as long as enrolled siblings are identified in the application.

4. Do I have to reside within a certain New Haven neighborhood to attend Elm City Montessori?

We do not currently have a neighborhood preference.

5. What are my chances of admission?  

We don’t know, and we wish we could offer slots to everyone who wants to attend ECMS. The majority of our available seats are in PreK3, but we typically have some openings at each grade level.

6. Does my child need previous Montessori experience to attend Elm City Montessori?

We welcome all children in our Montessori program.  Our experienced teachers will ensure that children with and without Montessori experience are given a gradual introduction to the Montessori approach and the classroom community.

7. What are the hours for your program?

Our core school day is 9am to 3:45pm. Our Primary program (preK/K) is a full-day, five days a week. We invite preK families to pick up their children anytime after 3pm. Students in K and above are expected to stay for the full day. For our core school day, the morning drop-off window is from 8:45am to 9am and the afternoon pick-up window is from 3:30 to 3:45pm.

8. Is programming available before and after school?

We have morning and afternoon extended day programs available from 7:30am to 9am and from 3:45pm to 5:30 pm. There is a modest fee for participation in extended day.

9. Is transportation provided?

Transportation is provided by New Haven Public Schools for children who will be 5 or older by December 31st.

10. Will meals be provided for my child at Elm City Montessori?

As a New Haven public school, Elm City Montessori School will provide breakfast and lunch daily for all students at no cost to families. Please note: it is critical that all ECMS families complete NHPS lunch forms in order to maintain this service for ECMS students.

11. What is a local charter school?

Elm City Montessori is a local charter school which means we have our charter approved by and receive funding through both the New Haven Board of Education and the Connecticut Department of Education.  The majority of our students are New Haven residents, fulfilling our mission to increase school options to New Haven families.  As a local charter, we have a highly collaborative relationship with the school district, but at the same time we have autonomy to implement an authentic Montessori curriculum.  The Elm City Montessori School Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of the school.

12. Do you charge tuition at Elm City Montessori School?  

We do not charge tuition for any of our students to attend Elm City Montessori.

13. What is Elm City Montessori School’s approach to Standardized Testing?

At Elm City Montessori School, we believe that all children can reach their enormous potential academically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically with the right environment and support. We believe that standardized testing measures only one small piece of our children’s potential.  We do not believe in “teaching to the test”. Instead, we believe in preparing children to do well on the test by ensuring that every objective has a corresponding Montessori material, so that children learn everything in an authentic, meaningful way. Further, children will take two practice state assessments throughout the year, so we can monitor and measure their progress objectively and help them feel relaxed on test day. We use standardized testing as an opportunity to prepare our children to feel comfortable and confident on future tests for college, such as the SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, etc.

14. I have heard that Montessori allows students to choose their own work.  What is my child only wants to read all day and starts to fall behind in other subjects?

It’s a misconception that Montessori is where children do their own thing.  The curriculum is highly structured, and students are expected to do a full sequence of all subjects.  Children get 3 main choices in a Montessori classroom – they get to choose what order they want to work on their lessons, they get to choose where they want to work, and for how long.

15. Will my 5-year-old be challenged in a classroom with 3- and 4-year-olds?

While 5-year-olds are in a class with younger students, they do challenging work because they get individual lessons catered to their needs. Both our Primary and Elementary classrooms are equipped with Montessori materials suited to both advanced students and those who may need more time in particular areas of the curriculum. In addition, our Kindergarten students  spend their afternoons in the classroom as a small group (6-8 children), while younger students nap, giving them additional time to do advanced work with support from their Guide (lead teacher).

In a Montessori classroom, if your child can already read, they will continue from there.  If they are still learning letters, they will start from there.  The Montessori curriculum meets your child where they are.   It is common to see 5-year-olds in a Primary classroom writing in cursive reading and knowing numbers into the thousands.

16. Will Elm City Montessori School accommodate children with special needs?

We are committed to meeting the needs of each child who walks through the door and will provide the same special education services as any other district school.  In addition, we pride ourselves on a child-centered approach, such as the 3-4 years in one classroom which gives added flexibility to a child with special needs.

17. How will Elm City Montessori School approach educating children who are English Language Learners?

In a Primary environment, every child is an English Language Learner.  In fact, we are all English Language Learners!  The Montessori approach meets every child where they are in this regard.  As with every material, those designed for instruction in English will be introduced to each child as they demonstrate competency with previous lessons.  Second language learners in public Montessori schools have an excellent track record in this regard.  In East Dallas, for instance, they enroll a significant number of English Language Learners.  Yet, in their public Montessori program, 100% of their students read at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

18.  How do Montessori students adjust when they move on to more traditional schools?

One of the greatest benefits of a Montessori education is students learn self-discipline, curiosity and critical thinking.  These skills allow them to adapt to a new environment, maintain strong study skills and become innovative thinkers.  Here is a compilation of research about student outcomes at public Montessori schools.  Recently, the founders of Google credited their success to attending a Montessori school.  (Read about them and other famous Montessori alums in this Wall Street Journal article.)

While it is normal for Montessori students to have a small adjustment period learning the expectations of a different school, such as having to ask permission to use the restroom or sharpen a pencil, they quickly thrive.