Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Montessori philosophy, details about the Children’s House and enrollment.  Click on the + sign to reveal the answer to each question.

Montessori Philosophy

How is a Montessori School different from another preschool?

Dr. Maria Montessori developed what she called the “prepared environment” to introduce children to the joy of learning and provide a framework in which their intellectual and social discipline goes hand-in-hand.  Among its features is an ordered arrangement of learning materials in a non-competitive environment.  The materials can be used by all children in the environment with the lessons getting more advanced with the age and ability of the child.  All of the children work in the environment together and the older children assist the younger children by setting good examples of grace, courtesy and work habit as well as teaching lessons.

The teachers in a Montessori environment are considered “guides” who help the children discover the materials and explore the learning opportunities each material provides.  Children move freely around the environment and choose work that is appealing.  The teachers help them move to the next level of work as needed.

Children in a Montessori environment will learn to have responsibility for their work and environment.  When a child makes a mess or drops materials, they are asked to clean up and shown how to do so if they don’t already know.  A Montessori environment is one of peace and respect where a child learns at his/her own pace.

Is the Children’s House really a Montessori School?

Yes.  The Children’s House uses the training, materials, activities and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.  Our teachers are either trained, in training or certified as Montessori Primary Instructors.

What can we expect for our child by sending them to a Montessori School?

Children receiving Montessori instruction excel academically and socially and gain the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential.

Is the Children’s House the only Montessori Preschool on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?

Yes, the Children’s House is the only primary level (3-6 years of age) Montessori School.

Children’s House Details

How long has the Children’s House been in existence at First Presbyterian Church?

The Children’s House opened in 1981.  The Children’s House is on the church campus in a home built in 1954.  We use all of the rooms in the house as places of learning.  The children move and work throughout the house in different areas of learning, such as Sensorial, Math, Everyday Living/Practical Life, Art, Science, Geography, Language, Penmanship and Library.

What are the ages of the children at the Children’s House?

3-6 years old.  Children may begin school when they are 3 by September 1 of the enrollment year.  Children stay at the Children’s House for three years with their last year as Kindergarten.

How many children are enrolled at the Children’s House?

40 children.

What is the student/teacher ratio at the Children’s House?

10 children/1 teacher.

Does the Children’s House have before/after care?

There is no before care.  School starts at 8:30 AM each day.  School ends at 11:30 AM, but a child may stay for “lunch bunch” until 2:30 PM for an additional fee.  Children bring their own lunch if they come to lunch bunch  As a Kindergartener, a child will stay on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 2:30 PM for extended lessons.

How much is the tuition at the Children’s House?

The fees for the 2016-2017 school year are as follows:

Enrollment Fee:  $125
Tuition for 3’s and 4’s:  $240/month
Tuition for Kindergarteners:  $325/month
Lunch Bunch (full-time):  $200/month

How many days/week will my child attend school?

Every child attends school five days/week – Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM.

What is your holiday schedule?

We are aligned with the Ocean Springs Public School System.  You can find our detailed holiday calendar here.  It changes each year.

What other preschools are in the area?

There are many traditional preschools in the area.  Most of these programs are church-affiliated and offer half or full day schedules.  You may find a listing of these programs in the yellow pages in your phone book.

Where do I send my child once they graduate from the Children’s House? Is there a "next level" Montessori School on the Coast?

Following graduation from the Children’s House, children are usually sent either to a public school in their area or to a private school of their choice.  The Treehouse Montessori Christian School is now available as a “next level” choice.  Treehouse opened in August 2015 for students 1st – 5th grade (ages 6-11), with plans for continued elementary expansion.  This school is currently located on the third floor of the Christian Education building.

Children’s House Enrollment

When should I put my child on the waiting list?

As early as possible.  Many children are placed on the waiting list before they are born.  The waiting list is kept by enrollment year, which is determined by your child’s birthday or expected birthday.

When will I know if my child will get into the Children’s House?

You will be contacted by the Children’s House Director in early spring of your child’s enrollment year.  Priority enrollment is given to children who currently have a sibling in the school, then to members of First Presbyterian Church and finally to the general wait list.  When you place a child on the waiting list, the date and time of contact is noted and this is how the waiting list is ordered.  Instructions for putting your child on the waiting list can be found here.

I would like to observe the classroom. When can I do that?

In the spring of your child’s enrollment year, you will be invited to observe if your child is likely to be enrolled.  We ask that you observe the classroom for a morning without your child.  It is at this time that you will receive an enrollment form.

Can I do anything to move my child higher on the list?

Unfortunately, no.  The waiting list has been kept the same way for many years, and it is a system that works for the school.  It is unfortunate, but each year, families who want to enroll are unable due to space.

How many children get into the Children’s House each year?

This depends on how many children graduate or move away the prior year.  This number changes each year but is approximately 10-15 children.

How can I find out where my child is on the waiting list?

The school can give you an approximation of your place on the list, but your place can shift due to changing church membership and sibling enrollment.