Are there still places available?
Please take a look at our enrollment page: https://www.ecole-montessori-pau.fr/inscription/
Which ages are admitted to the Montessori School of Pau?
We offer a personalized education to students from aged 3 to 6 in our preschool class and 6 to 12 year olds in our elementary class. Children should be fully potty-trained.
How many children are in each class ?
We accept up to 25 children in each class with two Montessori teachers. According to Maria Montessori, the ideal class size is between 25 and 35 children for two adults. In fact, when there are too many adults in a Montessori class, it hinders the development of the child’s independence.
What are the school hours?
Classroom hours are from 8:30 to 16:30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Is there a childcare service?
Yes, we do offer childcare services in the morning between 8:00 and 8:30 and after school from 16:30 to 18:30. The cost is 4 euros per hour per child.
How is the mealtime organized?
Children bring their meals each morning in a lunchbox (either a cold meal that can go in the fridge or a hot meal packed in a thermos). Items that go in the refrigerator should be placed in a bag with your child’s name on it.
Lunch time is very important for the child’s development of self-sufficiency. We make sure to mix the age groups when we assign seats at meal time, so that the older children can assist the younger ones. Each table has around 6 to 8 children with one adult.
After eating, the children learn to tidy up, clean their utensils, wipe the table, and sweep the floor underneath their table. Afterwards, they can clean their hands and face before heading to the nap room (for those who nap) or heading outside to play.
What are the tuition fees?
We have decided to adapt the tuition fees according to the income and the number of children of each family. To find out what the fee would be for your family, please consult our enrollment page:
The Montessori School of Pau is a “hors contrat” private school. What does that mean ?
Private schools in France may be fully funded privately or partially funded by the state. Schools that receive funding from the government are said to be under contract or “sous contrat” while those that do not receive funding are considered outside contract or “hors contrat”. Private schools which are “hors contrat” have the freedom to set their own curriculum. A school cannot become “sous contrat” until after 5 years of being established. It must be noted that regardless of whether a school receives government funding, it still must be granted permission by state officials to open and is subject to yearly inspections.
Why are the tuition fees so high?
Unfortunately most Montessori schools in France do not receive any funding from the Ministry of National Education. All of the costs to run the school are privately funded by the parents. These costs include, but are not limited to: the classroom materials, the rent of the building, the (humble) salary of staff members, heating, electricity, cleaning… This is the reason for the higher fees (between 250 and 1000 euros per month depending on the family’s situation) compared to public schools may be free for all, but unfortunately are not well adapted and accessible for all. However, many private schools try to find ways to be more inclusive by indexing school fees to the family income, as we do at the Montessori School of Pau.
Do the children have the same academic skills as those in the public schools?
The activities in a Montessori classroom correspond to the curriculum of the Ministry of Education. Children attending Montessori schools learn to read, write, solve math problems, and explore various topics. They will acquire the skills and knowledge required by the Ministry of Education as in public schools. However the way Montessori schools differ from public schools, is the way knowledge is transmitted. Montessori offers a child-centered learning environment where the teachers assist children with discovering their true potential through challenging experiences to be completed uninterrupted in a learning environment. Understanding comes through the child’s own experiences via the materials and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves. Montessori also promotes a hands-on approach to learning versus a focus on seatwork, and it is proven that children learn best when they are allowed to move and use all of their senses. Montessori schools allow for children to go much further than they could in the traditional system.
How will my child adjust to a traditional school, after his/her Montesssori education ?
From the earliest ages, Montessori schools focus on helping children develop their independence, creativity, self-confidence, as well as a high degree of self-motivation and coping skills for dealing with new situations, all skills that will serve them well in a public school setting. Montessori-educated children have learned the core values of respect for self, respect for others and respect for the environment. Their mixed-age-group classrooms have allowed them to interact with a more diverse social circle than most other kids their age. And they have been encouraged to interact peacefully with others using conflict resolution and social interaction strategies. These skills serve them extremely well as they move into their new classrooms and begin making new friends.
Why the mixed-age classrooms ?
Children learn a great deal simply by observing. Watching how older children do their work motivates young students to practice and achieve mastery over their tasks. They look forward to the day that they can do that kind of work too. A child may watch an older student sitting quietly and focusing during a work period, and think to himself, “If they can do that, someday I will as well!” It’s also a way for older students to build patience and empathy, as they learn how to help others by sharing their knowledge. To teach something, you must first master it. The process of passing it on — teaching by example, communicating effectively, reminding oneself of the specific steps, seeing how to correct mistakes — reinforces that mastery.
How do you create a bilingual environment in the classroom?
We have two teachers in the 3 to 6 year-old class, Laetitia who speaks and presents all materials in French, and Maria who speaks and presents all materials in English. Laetitia and Maria lead circle time together, so we sing songs, read books and explore different topics in both languages. Maria gives English conversation lessons to the French speaking children in small groups. She also teaches English speakers how to read and write in English. We have materials to learn how to read and write, as well as self-readers and story books in both languages. English speaking children who come to our school without any knowledge of French, can feel at ease from the first day of school because there are a few other native English speakers, and all of the children love to practice their English. That being said, they all learn French quite quickly.
At the moment there is only one French speaking teacher in the elementary class, but Maria still interacts with the older children on a daily basis.
How can parent evaluate the progress of their children without a grade report ?
Most Montessori schools do not use grades or test scores as a way to evaluate children’s progress, as these sorts of assessments are often arbitrary and biased. Instead we have a follow-up report that indicates what work has been completed by the child as well as the skills acquired. It also includes a written portion that summarizes the child’s progress as observed by the teachers. We also have two one-on-one parent-teacher meetings in the school year (in January and June). Children also take back some of their work from school, for example : samples of written work, math problems, creative writing, drawing and art projects… Please keep in mind that most of the Montessori activities are sensorial and hands-on without any written worksheets, but we occasionally send pictures and videos of your child’s daily activities.
How much liberty do children have in a Montessori setting?
Maria Montessori once said “A child needs freedom within limits.” This pedagogy encourages the child to move freely around the classroom, and choose their own work within limits of appropriate behavior. These limits are the ground rules of the Montessori classroom. Children are free to choose their activities, provided that they have been shown a presentation of the activity, and know how to use the materials respectfully. Children can choose to work independently or in small groups; however, they must be invited to work with another child, and must not interfere with another child’s work. All children must show respect for others within their classroom community. Finally children must respect the materials by properly caring for everything within the Montessori classroom. This includes the proper use of the materials, cleaning up, and taking care of all things living and non-living within the environment.
According to neurosciences, what are the benefits of a Montessori education?
The Montessori Method allows for a greater development of the executive functions of your child. Executive functions are those cognitive abilities that allow us to mentally manipulate ideas. These mental skills promote the conscientious, active, voluntary, and efficient resolution of the problems that show up in daily life. The term “executive functions” classifies those abilities into three categories: inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. The development of these functions is crucial during the first six years of the child’s life. Research shows that children who have attended Montessori preschools demonstrate better execution in this family of cerebrospinal mental processes. This will continue to help your child throughout her life so that she can live a successful and meaningful life.
Thank you for visiting our website! We hope to meet you soon!