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Elementary FAQs

The following are the most common questions that asked of Cattoira Montessori staff. You’ll find more specific information throughout the website and by attending a School Tour.



Q: Does your curriculum meet state standards?

A: Yes! The Montessori Elementary program is committed to the development of the whole child. The areas of study include: Language—reading, word study/analysis, spelling, grammar, literature, handwriting, and creative writing. Mathematics—the four operations, decimal system, geometry, algebra, discrete math and graphs Science—botany, zoology, chemistry, and physical science History—social studies, geography, and cultures Practical Life Skills and Peace Education Enrichment—Music, Violin, Piano, Cello, Guitar, Cheerleading, P.E., Art, Flamenco, Ballet, and Spanish


Q: If children choose what they want to do, what’s to prevent them from picking only what they like?

A: It is our intention that students follow their inner motivation to learn, especially when a subject is of particular interest to them. However, students are required to meet daily expectations, especially in critical academic areas of math and language. In order to meet each child’s specific developmental needs, both large and small group lessons are set up each morning spanning the curriculum.


Q: How does CMS measure each child’s progress?

A: A focal point of Montessori philosophy is that the prepared teacher measures progress through careful observation of each student. The curriculum is set up with natural benchmarks that are met daily, weekly and monthly. A student may be shown a concept repeatedly through a various different methods, but will not move forward until that concept is mastered.


Q: How much homework is assigned?

A: Homework begins at a light pace for Elementary students. Some various types of homework may include weekly spelling lists, math fact sheets and library research. The goal of homework is to reinforce skills introduced in the classroom while fostering self-discipline and responsibility.


Q: How do you motivate a child to progress in subjects they do not like?

A: The Elementary classroom is equipped with a vast array of Montessori didactic (self-teaching) materials that invite the student to explore abstract concepts in a concrete manner. There exists no barrier between subjects and there is no limitation on how far their interest may take them.


Q: How will I learn about my child’s progress? Are grades given?

A: CMS Elementary holds scheduled conferences twice during the school year and sends home a narrative report on each student’s academic and social progress mid-year. Because Montessori Elementary Programs do not compare students against an arbitrary standard or the performance of their classmates, familiar letter grades are not used.


Q: How do teachers know how well students are doing in the elementary classes since there is no formal testing?

A: The teachers work so closely with their students that they know how well a child is learning a new concept. The children are smart and the teachers are skilled professionals. If a child needs another lesson, it is obvious, and the teacher takes the times to go over the lesson again. We begin more formal testing in the Middle School years.


Q: How do you help advanced learners excel?

A: Students move through the curriculum at his/her own pace developmentally and academically. If a student is thriving and excelling teachers are able to provide more challenging assignments.


Q: Can children “skip” grades?

A: CMS elementary students have 2-3 years to complete the designated curriculum. Lower Elementary students range in ages 6-9 and Upper Elementary, ages 9-12. If a student has mastered the given curriculum, upon assessment and individual evaluation, they may move to the next level.


Q: How do Montessori students adjust to traditional education later in life?

A: Adults who attended CMS as children report that their Montessori experience was one of the highlights of their childhood and provided a solid foundation for their further education.


Q: Does the school have uniforms?

A: Yes, CMS Elementary students all wear a daily uniform. Dress code requirements are outlined in the handbook. Elementary students must wear their proper attire for physical fitness. They have a school logo shirt for field trips away from campus.


Q: How does the program handle lunch and snacks?

A: Elementary students bring their own lunch to school and eat together as a class. Elementary families are assigned a week to provide a healthy snack for the classroom. A healthy snack is free of artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup. Fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, and bread, are all recommended snacks.