Frequently Asked Questions
Why "The Grove?"
We chose this name because we wanted something that we felt fit the natural surrounding of The Woodlands. When we think of a small orchard and picture students playing joyfully, it elicits the exact imagery that we feel is representative of us as a school community. To us, The Grove feels like the place you want to be. It's not overly formal or stuffy, it's comfortable, relaxed, and feels like a home away from home.
Is The Grove accredited?
The Grove plans to begin the AMS accreditation process as soon as possible.. This is a 1-2 year process that will eventually result in accreditation by the National Council for Private School Accreditation as well as the American Montessori Society. In the meantime, high school students will complete the requirements for the University of Texas' high school program. This program if fully-accredited by the Texas Education Agency.
Why should I enroll my high school age child in The Grove rather than pursue the University of Texas high school program independently?
The Grove staff will implement the program in a way that aligns with the Montessori philosophy. Supplemental materials will be added to enhance the course and lessons will be presented by enthusiastic teachers, who will also be able to provide follow up instruction and guidance. This will allow students to graduate from an accredited program with the recognition of a top-tier university while still having the holistic emphasis of The Grove curriculum.
Does The Grove provide lunch and/or snacks?
Students at all program levels bring their own lunch each day. At the Pre-Primary and Primary levels, classroom snacks are provided by families on a rotating basis. Students bring their own snacks at the Lower Elementary level and above.
Are any extracurriculars offered?
During the first year, extracurriculars will be offered based on student interest. The Grove plans to explore opportunities for private music instruction, science activities, athletics, and student government.
What is the difference between a Montessori school and other programs?
Montessori schools focus on choice and freedom with responsibility. While students still complete a course of study that meets or exceeds all state requirements, they pursue their studies in a way that allows them to pursue their passions. Additionally, Montessori schools focus on the student as a whole and realize that a singular approach does not work for all students. This allows for differentiation within the curriculum to ensure that all students are successful.
What can I do at home to help my child to reinforce what he/she is learning at school?
As a parent to a young child, you may be wondering what extracurricular activities are appropriate for your child. There are a variety of after-school activities that your child can take part in that are complimentary to their age group and promote physical and mental wellness. You want to engage your child in activities that are fun and challenging, but don't go beyond their developmental capabilities, and make it fun. Some suggestions could be visiting museums, trips to the library, reading books, activities that promotes independence such as helping cook, cutting vegetables, folding towels etc.
Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research shows that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on criteria such as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking thought-provoking questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
Is there an advantage to a multi-age classroom?
Students in multi-age classrooms are able to work with older children, younger children, and children their same age, which fosters maturity, emotional growth, patience, and the ability to master each concept to further their academic growth. This also allows students to work at their own ability level. Rather than being held to the standard of the class, Montessori students are able to pursue academics at a higher level. It is common for Montessori students to be one to two grade levels above their peers in traditional environments.
Do Primary students (ages 3-6 years) have to be toilet trained?
Pre-Primary program (18 Mos - 3 Yrs) is designed for children who are not yet toilet trained, and the guide is dedicated to helping lead your child get a handle on listening to their body and learning how to use the toilet. Therefore, our Primary classroom is solely for toilet-trained students. We consider a toilet-trained child as one who no longer wears pull-ups/diapers, and only wears underwear. Diapers and pull-ups are prohibited in our Primary classroom, no exceptions. A toilet-trained child must be able to toilet independently, and is able to pull their underwear/clothes up and down independently. We understand that an occasional accident may occur, and this is completely normal, but it should not happen daily.
What if children go from a Montessori class to a traditional class?
Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make choices and manage their time well. They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas and to discuss their work freely with others. Good communication skills ease the way in new settings. Research has shown the best predictor of future success is a sense of self-esteem. Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop good self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.
How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they want?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him. Beginning at the elementary level, students typically set learning goals and create personal work plans under their teacher’s guidance.
If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not going at it alone. The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools, and offer a rigorous academic program. Most of the subject areas are familiar—such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but they are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together.
Why don't Montessori teachers give grades?
Grades, like other external rewards, have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. The Montessori approach nurtures the motivation that comes from within, kindling the child’s natural desire to learn. A self-motivated learner also learns to be self-sufficient, without needing reinforcement from outside. In the classroom, of course, the teacher is always available to provide students with guidance and support.
Although most Montessori teachers don’t assign grades, they closely observe each student’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons. Most schools hold family conferences a few times a year. In these conferences, parents may see their child’s work and hear the teacher’s assessment—and perhaps even their child’s self-assessment.
While grades are not emphasized, report cards are distributed multiple times each year with increasing regularity at the Secondary program level. These reports focus on mastery rather than simply reflecting an average of scores on individual assignments. At the high school level these mastery scores translate to a standard 4.0 grading scale to simplify the college admissions process.
Do Montessori students take standardized tests?
At The Grove, students in grades 3 and above take the Stanford 10 each spring. This is simply to present parents with an idea of where their child scores based on national norms as well as to inform the school of any potential areas for curriculum development in future years. Unlike the emphasis placed on the STAAR exam, students are simply encourage to get a good night's rest and eat a healthy breakfast during exam week. The curriculum is not focused on test prep in the lead up to testing week.
Can Montessori accommodate gifted children? What about children with other special learning needs?
An advantage of the Montessori approach—including multi-age classrooms with students of varying abilities and interests—is that it allows each child to work at her own pace. Students whose strengths and interests propel them to higher levels of learning can find intellectual challenge without being separated from their peers. The same is true for students who may need extra guidance and support: each can progress through the curriculum at his own comfortable pace, without feeling pressure to "catch up."
We might note that from a Montessori perspective, every child is considered gifted, each in her own way. For every child has his own unique strengths—it is all a matter of degree.
How well do Montessori students do compared to students in non-Montessori schools?
There is a small but growing body of well-designed research comparing Montessori students to those in traditional schools. These suggest that in academic subjects, Montessori students perform as well as or better than their non-Montessori peers.
In one study, for example, children who had attended Montessori schools at the preschool and elementary levels earned higher scores in high school on standardized math and science tests. Another study found that the essays of 12-year-old Montessori students were more creative and used more complex sentence structures than those produced by the non-Montessori group.
The research also shows Montessori students to have greater social and behavioral skills. They demonstrate a greater sense of fairness and justice, for example, and are more likely to choose positive responses for dealing with social dilemmas.
By less stringent measures, too, Montessori students seem to do quite well. Most Montessori schools report that their students are accepted into the high schools and colleges of their choice.