If you're seeing this paragraph it means your browser doesn't support style sheets. The site looks much better with style sheets but should still be perfectly usable without them. Please consider upgrading your browser to the latest version if possible. We have notes on how to do that here.
MST is a member of
The Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS).
Here are some of the questions we are most frequently asked. If you have any others, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send us e-mail or call 03-5449-7067.
What is the philosophy behind Montessori?
At its core, the Montessori system creates an environment in which children are free to develop their own skills and abilities. In the prepared environment, the children learn to explore and make their own discoveries about the world around them. A mixed age group allows younger children to benefit from watching the older ones as role models and at the same time older children strengthen their knowledge by helping the younger ones. This allows the children opportunities for a broad range of social interaction and self directed learning.
Children are given freedom to develop according to their own needs and tendencies within defined goals and limits. This freedom allows the child to develop independence, good working habits and self discipline, which in turn, lead to high academic achievement.
A big advantage MST has over other schools is the mixed ages and students taking responsibility for their learning. This enables classes to function efficiently as students engage in independent research, demonstrating a high degree of intellectual curiosity, self discipline and personal organisation.
Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori (1870-1952), the first woman physician in Italy, developed the Montessori method of education after careful and prolonged observation of children and how they learn.
The International Montessori Council has further information on Maria Montessori.
How does a Montessori school differ from a non Montessori school?
At Montessori schools, the teachers will “follow the child.” Every child is free to select their own work and proceed at their own pace. Although every aspect of education is covered, there is no set timetable. The children are respected and valued for who they are and not what for what adults think they should be doing.
Having classes of mixed ages, the older children are encouraged to develop an awareness of the needs of the younger children. They are keen to help and enjoy passing on their knowledge and experience.
The main thing about homework is that it does not have to be boring. The elder children in the Sunshine class can choose to take some work home (usually reading) or they might be asked to find pictures of something in a magazine or newspaper.
The elementary students would not be given any homework of the “page 63 problems 1-10” type. Typically children are expected to complete assigments and work they have chosen at school. There are also often reading assignments and projects which may require some time to be spent after school. If someone wishes to explore a topic further after class has finished, they may work in the library or do the work at home. There may also be occasions where an agreed upon deadline is not going to be met unless work is taken home.
What do you do when the children never chose to work with letters or numbers?
This very rarely happens. Normally there will be a time or phase when the child’s interest is aroused and we have an ideal opportunity to present the materials. This is often done by linking an interest of the child’s (for example dinosaurs) to the work in question ("let’s count them”, “this is how we write triceratops").
Other times a child will absorb much of his knowledge of letters and numbers from seeing them presented to other children.
We will not force a child to do work which is not going to be constructive, however, if a teacher feels a particular student is avoiding an activity which is within their capability, that student may be required to do the activity.
How do you discipline the children?
Although it does depend on each individual situation, we try to encourage the children involved to solve their disagreements independently. At this age children might need help or suggestions from the adults as to how to resolve problems. If a particular child finds it difficult to maintain their self control, the adult might suggest a change of environment until the child feels ready to rejoin the activity or group. Children are expected not to infringe on the needs of the group or their peers.
There are 3 parent teacher conferences during the year, when every aspects of your child’s development is covered. Parents are always welcome to arrange a time to come and observe the classroom.
Parents are kept informed about the school events through an online newsletter. There is also a parents’ section of the web site which is accessible by password. Further information is emailed to parents and posted on this area of the web site.
In addition, parents receive a bimonthly issue of “Tomorrow’s Child” which is a Montessori periodical.
Please see the assessment page for details on assessments and reporting.
Do you go to the park every day?
Students go to the park every day unless the weather prevents this. There are a number of parks close to the school which we visit when the weather is fine. Sometimes the elder children take their lunch to have a picnic together.
Do the children learn Japanese?
Japanese is first introduced in the Sunshine classes through songs and cultural activities. In addition, there are Japanese language activities available on the language shelves. Older students, particularly native speakers, are also introduced to hiragana and beginning word building and reading.
In the Elementary class, children will acquire a basic working knowledge of grammar and writing in hiragana/katakana. There will be opportunities for the study of Kanji as well as oral conversation and communication skills. There is a dedicated Japanese Language teacher who spends time in each of the classrooms as well as teaching small groups of students.
How do you deal with students with nut or other allergies?
MST is not a nut-free or dairy-free school. We ask parents of children with allergies to inform us of these in advance.The community is made aware of them so that precautions can be taken with any food brought to school. Parents are asked to explain any procedures and steps which need to be taken in the event of a child experiencing an allergic reaction. Any medication, Epi-pens etc. can be left at school, if deemed necessary.
The buildings are meticulously maintained and meet all safety regulations. Each class has emergency provisions including protective headgear and personal identity tags for each child.
The school practices earthquake and fire drills throughout the year.
"Extend respect and expect respect."
—Linda and Richard Eyre