Elementary FAQ

What is the daily schedule?

The day begins at 8:40 with a half-hour morning circle, followed by a three hour independent work period during which small group lessons also take place. Then children participate in a community classroom clean-up before a half hour lunch and half hour recess. In the afternoon, children take part in silent reading, and have a two hour work period. The staggered dismissal schedule begins at 3:00, except on Wednesdays. The Wednesday early dismissal schedule begins at 1:40.

What is the class size?

On average, classes are composed of 25-28 students with a certified Montessori and a full time trained assistant in each class.

What is the curriculum?

As a charter school, our Montessori curriculum is aligned with the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. Elementary students work daily on math, language, and cultural lessons. Examples of Montessori cultural lessons may include: studies of the continents and their cultures, botany and zoology; geology and geologic formations; the solar system; physics and physical sciences; anthropology; and timelines of life.

Do Khalsa School students take standardized tests?

Our students take all state-required tests for Arizona public school students.

What kinds of training do Montessori elementary teachers have?

All Montessori teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, in addition to a Montessori Teacher Credential. To complete Montessori certification, teachers must complete training and an internship in the Montessori materials, curriculum, teaching methods and educational philosophy. For lower elementary classrooms (grades 1-3) this is typically a 1 _ to 2 year program, including one year of internship. Upper elementary teachers (grades 4-6) are required to complete the lower elementary training and an additional 6 to 12 month program on the materials and curriculum used in the upper elementary classroom. In addition to their Montessori training, teachers also participate in teaching seminars and workshops each year.

How is the children’s progress measured?

All Khalsa School students have a work plan: upper elementary students receive a weekly plan, younger students work with a daily plan. We provide as much structure as a child needs to be successful. The children must get their work checked by a teacher before it is “complete”, and we monitor what has been achieved on a daily basis. Most days, the students come to at least one small group lesson, in which the teacher monitors the progress of their learning. Teachers also spend some time each day observing students. The students have journals and work folders in which to kept their work. We do not assign grades at the elementary levels, but issue progress reports and hold parent conferences twice a year. We also maintain portfolios of the student’s best work, which accompanies the child through the academic levels at Khalsa School.

How do children from other school settings do when they transfer to a Montessori School?

The child that experiences the most seamless transition is an independent, motivated learner. Students learn how to follow a work plan, work independently, and manage their time appropriately. Some transfer students may be accustomed to external motivation provided by the teacher. Montessori education fosters a self-directed work environment.

How are behavior issues addressed?

Children are assisted to refocus by thoughtful teachers who take time to observe and then make necessary changes in the environment to support the children. Children are redirected as needed and are given limited choices (i.e. “You may choose to work by me or at this desk.”). Discipline is also handled by addressing general concerns in a classroom community meeting format where children, as well as adults, brainstorm on better ways to solve problems. The Virtues Project is a school-wide effort to focus on the qualities of character that each new situation requires. The children can often be heard talking to each other about assertiveness, kindness, or tact. Students who cannot be in the classroom because they are disruptive can work in another place until they are ready to return. Discipline at Khalsa School is positive, kind as well as firm and focuses on developing the skills we need to work together in a kind and friendly community.

What extracurricular activities are offered at Khalsa School?

Music, drama, art and fitness education are offered to all children at Khalsa Montessori School. In addition, classes take field trips and have class visitors related to curricular areas of study. After school, various clubs are offered. In the past, choices have included chess, martial arts, yoga, and art.

How do Montessori children do when transitioning to a traditional school?

Research has shown that Montessori-trained students do very well transitioning to a traditional setting. They have learned how to structure their time, work on their own, and do independent research. Montessori students usually develop a positive attitude toward school and enthusiasm for learning which will serve them well in any environment.