Montessori Toddler & Preschool
1. I observed Montessori classrooms and there doesn’t seem to be an opportunity for pretend play. Is this true?
2. How do you foster creativity? The children seem to work in a structured way, always doing the same things with the materials.
3. When I observe a Montessori preschool class, most kids work by themselves. Will my child still learn social skills?
4. Why is Kindergarten included with preschool?
5. Will my child learn to read and write?
6. Why do Montessori children learn cursive before print?
7. I saw a child upset in the classroom, and the teacher didn’t immediately comfort him. Why not?
8. Will my toddler cry when he first joins the class? What if he has separation anxiety?
Montessori Elementary (Grades 1-3)
1. Why do you offer a Montessori approach for grades 1-3?
2. Do children find it difficult to transition to a “normal” classroom in 4th grade?
3. The children seem to choose their own work in the Montessori classes. Do you provide any curriculum to ensure they still progress in all subject areas?
4. What happens if a child doesn’t do the work he should be doing at his age level?
Upper Elementary/Junior High (Grades 4-8)
1. Are you going to open an Upper Elementary & Junior High school in other locations—e.g. Irvine?
2. What size are your classes?
3. Why do you transition away from Montessori in 4th grade?
4. If my child is advanced, how will you meet his needs?
5. If my child has remedial needs, can he still attend a LePort school?
6. What types of arts programs do you offer?
7. How often do you take field trips?
1. What is your school’s approach to religion in education?
2. What is your school’s approach to politics in education?
3. Are you a “green” school??
4. What is your school’s approach to public service & volunteerism by students?
5. What is your school’s approach to sex education?
6. What is your school’s approach to physical education?
7. What is your school’s approach to bullying?
8. What do you think about standardized tests?
9. What is your stand on evolution vs. creationism?
General School Processes
1. Do you offer hot lunches?
2. How do you handle food allergies?
3. What extended care schedules do you offer?
4. How do you communicate with families during the school year?
5. Are your deposits refundable? Is tuition refundable?
1. Do you offer school tours?
2. Can I observe your school in action before I decide to enroll my child?
3. Can my child join LePort mid-year?
4. Can my child join LePort in 2nd grade, or in 6th grade—that is, in the middle of your program?
5. How do you assess whether LePort is a good fit for my child?
6. Do you offer scholarships?
7. Do you enroll international students?
Montessori Toddler & Preschool (ages 18 months-6 years, including Kindergarten)
- I observed Montessori classrooms and there doesn’t seem to be an opportunity for pretend play. Is this true?
Starting in her first “Children’s House” in 1907, Dr. Montessori found that children did not choose pretend play, when given the opportunity to do actual, meaningful work instead. Her first classrooms contained dollhouses, for instance, where children could pretend to serve tea to dolls—and real, child-sized tea sets, where children could prepare real tea and serve it to each other. Invariably, the children would choose to do real work with real utensils, which is why we enable our children to do the same in all of our classrooms.
This is not to say that pretend play should be eliminated from a child’s experience. If a child engages in pretend play at home, parents should support the child’s choice. But in the school environment, we’ve found that children themselves prefer to be engaged in meaningful work—and find it fun! Back to top of page
- How do you foster creativity? The children seem to work in a structured way, always doing the same things with the materials.
Dr. Montessori believed, and we agree, that real creativity is built on a foundation of skills. Just as a creative jazz piano player is one who has mastered playing to the point of automaticity first, at which point his mind is free to improvise beautiful melodies and rhythms. In the same way, we prepare your child with the skills he needs to be truly creative. For example, we teach him how to control a pencil to create the “art of the inset”, and he thereby acquires the foundational skills needed to paint creative pictures later on. Click here to read our blog post about Montessori and Creativity for more information. Back to top of page
- When I observe a Montessori preschool class, most kids work by themselves. Will my child still learn social skills?
Montessori classrooms have a strong focus on developing mature social skills. Our teachers constantly support each child’s social development: they provide students with words to express their emotions, model grace and courtesy in social interactions, and guide them as they learn to control their impulses in order to interact maturely with their peers. Dr. Montessori has found that most preschoolers, when left to their own devices, prefer to work alone—and we respect that choice. Thus, the children are free to work individually during designated periods of the day, and they participate in group activities at other times (such as for certain lessons and group sing-alongs). Our goal is to enable each individual child to benefit from social interactions, and to develop a fundamental benevolent attitude towards other people. Back to top of page
- Why is Kindergarten included with preschool?
Our program, like most Montessori programs, has multi-age classrooms. Children aged 3-6 are in one class called “Primary” because of the pedagogical benefits of such an environment. Dr. Montessori found that children in this age range follow a similar developmental pattern—and so she tailored the materials in the classroom specifically to their needs. Indeed, the third year of the program, the “kindergarten year”, is critical: in the 3rd year, primary students cash in on all the preparatory work they have done up until that point in the Montessori program; by the 3rd year, they are fast becoming proficient writers and readers, and are mastering the basics of arithmetic. The kindergarten year also serves a psychological purpose. Students benefit from being the oldest children in class, as they mentor their younger peers and deepen their own skills by showing them to the younger students. They develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence that makes them yearn for, rather than fear, the challenges ahead. Children graduate to the elementary class when they are ready, generally sometime in the year after their 6th birthday. Back to top of page
- Will my child learn to read and write?
Yes. Children who join our program at or before age 3 typically learn to write by age 4 ½ – 5, and are reading shortly thereafter. Our 6 year olds regularly read a wide range of children’s books and write multi-sentence compositions in neat cursive handwriting. Back to top of page
- Why do Montessori children learn cursive before print?
It seems counter-intuitive, but it is actually more natural for a child to begin with the flowing lines of cursive than it is to engage in the stop-and-start motions required in printed text. In many traditional programs, children are taught to print first, based on the assumption that cursive is too difficult for a young hand to learn. Cursive is then taught in 3rd grade—at which point the child must unlearn the print method, and learn a new way to write. This process is unnecessarily cumbersome: with Montessori materials, our children easily learn neat cursive handwriting at ages 4 ½ or 5, thereby skipping the intermediary step of print letters—while at the same time practicing to read print letters, of course. Cursive is the faster, more efficient way of handwriting, and it helps a child develop a sense of personal style. Back to top of page
- I saw a child upset in the classroom, and the teacher didn’t immediately comfort him. Why not?
Our teachers observe children carefully and provide targeted support, such as a kind word, a short hug, and by being present near the child to reassure him, rather than holding him for extended periods. This is particularly true in the case of children new to the class, who tend to quickly develop a sense of comfort in the classroom setting. In a case where such an approach is not working, a teacher will offer a child continued support. However, there is sometimes an initial period where a teacher will observe a student in order to give him a chance to calm down on his own, and so the teacher can assess how best way to help him; during this time, a crying child may not be immediately comforted. Back to top of page
We understand that young children can have strong emotions and need support in coping with them, especially as they transition into a new environment. Our teachers are trained to do so with utmost care: they focus on enabling the child to recognize his emotions, and guiding him as he slowly learns to become more emotionally independent—all while ensuring that each child knows that his teachers care deeply about him. In general, we believe that children develop greater self-esteem and independence if they discover that they are not entirely dependent on adults for handling emotional situations. We have found that with proper nurturing and support, our students grow to be better prepared to thrive in the less controlled environments of elementary school and beyond. Back to top of page
- Will my toddler cry when he first joins the class? What if he has separation anxiety?
We understand that many young children—especially toddlers and young 3 year olds—may experience separation anxiety when they first enter a new environment. Our goal is to make the transition a smooth experience, and to enable your child to learn that it is okay to be with new, caring people away from parents or other long-term caregivers. We take your family’s and your child’s individual context into account as we manage this important transition, and most of our students adapt to our school quite smoothly. We have learned that a few principles generally help make this a positive experience:
- An individualized approach—including shortened days during the first week, where needed. We invite parents to discuss their concerns with us, before the transitions starts. The more we know about your child, the better we can help make her comfortable with the change from her home environment to school. On occasion, when children have a particularly tough adjustment, we do ask a parent to be available for an early pick-up (and we appreciate your cooperation). After a week to ten days of slowly lengthening mornings, most children will have gained the confidence to join the full program.
- Parents in the classrooms during the transition period. We invite you to come and visit the school and to see the classroom with your child before his start date. We also invite your child to join us for an hour or two of play time the Friday before he starts school. Some campuses invite parents to linger outside, in the play area, while the children arrive. Once classes start, however, we suggest that you take a warm, brief goodbye from your child. You are always welcome to observe your child anytime, but we have found that when parents come in the classroom, it prolongs the anxiety, as the child comes to expect the parent to stay, and leads children who have already separated from their parents to regress.
- Extra personal support and attention in the classroom, by peers and teachers. To support those children who have separation issues, we build in extra time for emotional support: our toddler rooms have a low child-teacher ratio. With rolling enrollments, we ensure that we never have a full class of new children at once. Our mixed-age primary rooms rarely have more than 3-4 new children joining at a time (many of our kids move up from the toddler program; others enroll mid-year). Our group of floating teachers and the Head of School provide extra assistance in difficult separation periods. We may also assign new students an older “mentor”—a child who has been with us for at least 18 months and who enjoys being a one-on-one guide to his new little friend.
- A belief in children’s resilience & emotional growth. Through years of experience, we have found that it is rare for children (even young children) to be emotionally upset while they have this level of support and personal attention—especially when they see their peers enjoy the many wonderful activities our schools offer. We are, however, comfortable to let our young charges struggle just a bit as they adjust: while we will never let a child cry for an extended period of time, we will occasionally give a child the opportunity to calm down on his own for a little while, with a teacher nearby to offer a kind word and hug now and then. We find that this builds self-confidence, as the child slowly learns to better deal with challenging emotions, without relying entirely on an adult to sooth him. Back to top of page
Montessori Elementary (Grades 1-3)
- Why do you offer a Montessori approach for grades 1-3?
Between the ages of 6 and 9, children experience a tremendousamount of development—both in how they learn and in what they learn. At the beginning of elementary school, they still need considerable physical freedom to move; they have widely differing ability levels (one child may be strong in language arts and need more time in math, or vice versa). The bulk of their time is spent on acquiring skills (such as arithmetic, handwriting skills, reading and spelling); they also learn content that is very close to the observational level, such as acquiring the scientific vocabulary of plant parts, animals, etc.
Our Montessori environment enables children to learn these skills and content in a developmentally appropriate way. They can progress at their own pace, spend more time on areas where they need more attention, and slowly develop the organization and time-management skills they need to succeed later in their schooling.
Most importantly, this environment enables them to develop the fundamental concentration skills they need for future success. Children need to learn how to sustain attention on a task, to focus and mindfully engage themselves in work. We’ve found that a Montessori framework is crucial in helping children acquire this capacity. Back to top of page
- Do children find it difficult to transition to a “normal” classroom in 4th grade?
No, our children have no problem transitioning to a 4th grade class at LePort or elsewhere. During their time in our Montessori elementary program, they acquire skills equivalent to, and often above grade level—and they learn how to learn. They start out with concrete materials in 1st grade, and then transition to more abstract content over the three years they are with us. For example, in math, they start with the beads and end up doing 4th or 5th grade math with paper and pencil by the end of 3rd grade. They have developed long attention spans; they have learned to solve their own problems and to edit their own work; they are organized, and can keep track of deadlines and work towards them. We purposefully develop these skills, so that our students can sit, listen and work with more abstract ideas when they graduate to 4th grade. Back to top of page
- The children seem to choose their own work in the Montessori classes. Do you provide any curriculum to ensure they still progress in all subject areas?
Montessori schools differ in how much guidance they provide in the elementary grades. At LePort, we believe in freedom within limits: our teachers have a clearly defined curriculum that each child is expected to master over the three years in lower elementary, and they offer children a lot of choices in the particular way they master this curriculum. For example, every week the child agrees to a “work contract” with her teacher, which outlines the works she needs to complete over the course of the week. This required work typically can be done in four days, leaving the equivalent of one day a week for the child to dive deeper in areas she is most interested in. It also leaves the child much freedom of choice: she can decide when she wants to do which work. One week she can spend a whole day on math or writing; the next week she can decide to do a few hours on each subject everyday for variety. Back to top of page
- What happens if a child doesn’t do the work he should be doing at his age level?
Because of the individualized, self-paced approach of our Montessori elementary classrooms, we have a wonderful ability to tailor what a child works on according to his needs. A student who is weaker in writing, but strong in mathematics, for instance, may find that more of his weekly “work contract” focuses on language arts to ensure he gets the practice he needs. And because of the many different types of activities available among the Montessori materials, we can adapt to many different learning needs. If a student struggles with long multiplication, for example, we can offer him the basic bead materials, to re-ground him in the basic requisite skill; he can work with a simple multiplication board, then progress to the checker board, then to the small bead frame, and ultimately learn to do the operation abstractly.
By combining a wide range of carefully-designed activities with a very individualized approach, our nurturing teachers are able to ensure that each child masters the core skills and acquires the knowledge he needs to succeed in further schooling. Our test scores bear witness to this: in 2010, our 3rd graders in Mission Viejo scored in the top 2% of all 3rd graders nationwide—without the tedious, time-consuming, mind-numbing test preparation exercises all too commonly found in other schools. Back to top of page
Upper Elementary/Junior High (Grades 4-8)
- Are you going to open an Upper #lementary & Junior High school in other locations—e.g. Irvine?
Due to strong parent demand, we are planning to add at least one additional Upper Elementary & Junior High program in Orange County within the next few years. We are actively evaluating locations across southern Orange County, including in Irvine where we have two thriving preschool campuses, one of which goes through third grade. While we cannot promise when we will open the next school, our plan is to grow the LePort network of schools. If you are aware of any property that might be suitable for a LePort campus, don’t hesitate to let our leadership team know! Back to top of page
- What size are your classes?
Our classes currently range from between 10-16 students. Our ideal class size is between 14-16 students, to both provide the one-on-one attention our program requires and to ensure each child has a large enough network of peers to form lasting friendships. Back to top of page
- Why do you transition away from Montessori in 4th grade?
Our Upper Elementary and Junior High program may not look like our 1st to 3rd grade Montessori classrooms—but while the external appearance changes, we do not transition away from the principles of the Montessori approach. What changes is how these principles manifest themselves: as students get older, they gradually transition from concrete materials to more abstract ideas. Our pedagogical principles remain the same throughout, and true to the spirit of Montessori:
- We build on curiosity—and recognize how important it is that the child chooses to learn because he is sincerely interested in the materials.
- We offer long work periods where children pursue self-directed activities, and where they apply and practice what they learn.
- We ensure that our students are learning about the world, not how to memorize for a test.
- We add a personal touch – by tying what we teach to each child’s context, and tailoring our approach to recognize her abilities.
- We offer a carefully prepared environment that extends beyond just academics to include such things as developing social skills, character and organizational skills.
- We have a curriculum that builds sequentially; every time the child learns something new, it forms the foundation for the next thing that they will learn. Back to top of page
- If my child is advanced, how will you meet his needs?
Because our program is academically rigorous, and because we always tailor what we teach to each child’s context of background knowledge, skills and interests, we are able to accommodate children of varying ability levels. Our teachers delight in having advanced students in their classes. As experts in their fields, they are passionate about the content they teach, which means that they always have much more material they would love to cover if given the opportunity. Through enrichment lessons and projects, advanced students give them that opportunity.
On rare occasion, especially in mathematics, we may have a student who is so advanced that he does not fit into the regular classroom, even with all the tailoring and enriching we do. In those cases, we offer individualized classes through STAS, the LePort Supplemental Tutoring and Support program: we have the additional staff to offer advanced instruction (one-on-one or in a small group setting) in any subject area during regular class hours for an additional monthly fee. Call us and we can provide you with more details. Back to top of page
- If my child has remedial needs, can he still attend a LePort school?
LePort Schools offers an academically rigorous curriculum, but because we always tailor what we teach to each child’s context of background knowledge, skills and interests, we are able to accommodate children of varying ability levels. With extra support, and because of our nurturing environment, students with remedial needs are able to thrive at LePort. Depending on your child’s remedial needs, we can craft different types of programs to enable him to fit into our school. We have, for example, done the following things to help students:
- Tailored assignments to meet the student’s needs (e.g. providing additional math skill practice, or more grammar work)
- Created a plan of individualized, supplemental afternoon tutoring in key subjects
- Put two teachers into a classroom for a while to ensure that a group of students who were behind caught up with the rest of the class
- Offered summer tutoring in the months leading up to the start of school
- Offered instruction (one-on-one or in a small group setting) during regular class hours through STAS, the LePort Supplemental Tutoring and Support Program, for an extra fee, until the student catches up with his regular class Back to top of page
- What types of arts programs do you offer?
Art is integrated throughout our curriculum. In history, the children study the artwork of whichever period they are learning about—from Greek sculpture to Renaissance paintings—and also draw historic scenes where appropriate to apply their understanding. In science, we guide students to illustrate their observations—for instance, they will sketch a rock, plant or animal they observed. Depending on demand, we also offer optional afterschool classes on drawing, painting, music, and art appreciation; these optional classes are aimed at students of different ages, from Montessori to junior high. Back to top of page
- How often do you take field trips?
Field trips are an integral part of our Upper Elementary and Junior High program. We typically take a trip every 4-6 weeks, and guarantee at least five field trips during each school year. Field trip fees are paid in advance to ensure you can budget and plan for your child’s experience, and include all transportation and admission costs (but not costs for overnight accommodations). We often need parent volunteers, and look forward to seeing you at one of our next trips. Recent destinations include:
- The Orange County Register
- The Wild Animal Park in Escondido
- The Pacific Marine Mammal Center
- The Dana Point Ocean Institute
- The South Coast Repertory
- The Huntington Library Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to religion in education?
LePort Schools is proud to maintain an exceedingly diverse community, with a variety of faiths and beliefs represented among our community of staff, parents, and students. As a secular school, we welcome students and families from every possible background. We focus on academic content, including background historical knowledge of various religions where it arises in the chronology of history. However, we leave substantive religious teachings up to the individual family. Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to politics in education?
LePort Schools believes that current affairs and politics do not have any place in an education through eighth grade. We are very careful to remain neutral on anything that bears on any particular controversial political issue. Our individual staff members hold a variety of political beliefs, but all take very great care not to disclose their personal views to their students. Our goal is to develop in our students the ability to think through issues for themselves, and to clearly articulate their own ideas. We focus on cultivating those skills – in essence, on the ability to form one’s own judgment and act accordingly – without teaching any particular position. Parents who would like their children to be politically informed are encouraged to discuss these matters with their children at home. Back to top of page
- Are you a “green” school?
No. The “green” movement, also called the environmentalist movement, is a political movement, and so LePort is careful to take no stance. We do not believe our students are ready to independently understand and judge the incredibly complicated issues surrounding environmentalism. Rather, throughout our curriculum we hope to provide students with a strong grounding in logic, scientific thinking, and methodology, so that as adults they can parse apart environmentalism and other particular political movements, and then decide what beliefs they would like to hold and what consequent actions/activism they would like to take in their lives. Parents who would like to expose their children to particular environmentalist themes or positions are encouraged to discuss these matters with their children at home. Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to public service & volunteerism by students?
Unlike some schools, LePort does not require public service or volunteerism from its students as part of its academic programs. Outside of the classroom, we encourage our students to passionately pursue their own, chosen personal interests, and thereby develop their individuality. Whether a student’s interests lie in music, sports, theater, debate, gymnastics, art, creative writing, or public service – we equally encourage our students to participate in any activity that they enjoy and identify with. We don’t take any particular stance on which activities those should be, or treat certain types of activities with higher moral import than others. Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to sex education?
As our students enter puberty, they naturally become interested in their changing bodies. LePort Schools does not offer sex education as a formal or mandatory part of its curriculum. We do teach biology, including the reproductive differences among different species. Sometimes, depending on parent demand, we may offer a voluntary sex education class to interested students. Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to physical education?
At LePort, we encourage a unity of mind and body in our students. We want our students to succeed in the classroom, and also to take care of themselves physically, succeeding in outside activities such as sports. We certainly don’t believe in the popular dichotomy between “jocks” and “nerds”!
Although LePort does not currently offer team sports as a formal program, we integrate physical activity into the school day, and take it as an opportunity to teach life lessons.
Our elementary and junior high teachers actively take part in daily recess with the students, organizing competitive games, and taking part along with the children. Students shoot hoops, play dodge ball, engage in impromptu gymnastics, play with hula-hoops or stage friendly races around the playground. We invite you to observe at recess in our elementary program: what you’ll see will be children more active, more engaged than in most traditional PE program. And our active recess happens every day, as against the 1-2 times per week schedule of typical PE programs at most schools. We find that this is an excellent opportunity to model values like sportsmanship and teamwork – to gently coach the student who is acting the sore loser or the braggart winner, and to help navigate the many tricky social issues that may arise in any group activity. And, of course, it is an important opportunity for our students to stay active and fit on a daily basis.
Throughout the years, LePort has accommodated students from whom competitive sports were of major importance. For instance, a student who is involved in high-level competitive ice-skating might need a revised course schedule in order to balance the time-commitment required by the sport, without sacrificing academic studies. Back to top of page
- What is your school’s approach to bullying?
Because LePort maintains such a small and intimate environment, and because our teachers are trained to be extremely proactive with regard to any issues of any kind that may arise with individual students (including interpersonal issues), it is extremely rare that an interaction among our students would rise to the level of what we would call bullying.
The second our teachers notice an interpersonal issue between students, no matter how small, they will take action. First, they act to gather all available information – they will bring the issue up in a “student issues” or other meeting, to determine whether other teachers have noticed anything similar. They will pool information and have a discussion about what they think is underlying the interaction that they have noticed. They will then strategize about how to address it with the students, discuss their conclusions with parents and revise accordingly and, as a team, adopt a certain course of action. Depending on the issue, the teachers may choose to respond in a variety of ways. Possibly it may be a case where the teacher will pull one or both students aside and talk to them one on one. If so, the teacher is not lecturing to the student or doling out punishments, but trying to understand why he has behaved in the way he did, and help him to see the consequences of his actions. If the issue becomes more serious, or even if it doesn’t, it is likely that one or more teachers will actively communicate with the parents of both students, to keep them in the loop about the issue and let them know how we will be handling it in school.
While our top priority is the safety and well-being of the child being bullied, it’s important to remember that a child with a tendency to bully needs just as much support and coaching as the child who is being victimized, so that he doesn’t become entrenched in that pattern. We focus on both students. We try to help the one child see that he will have healthier and more fulfilling friendships if he treats others with respect. And we try to develop in the other child a healthy sense of respect and confidence, as we strategize with him about how to most effectively respond and stand up for himself in a situation where he feels victimized. Back to top of page
- What do you think about standardized tests?
At LePort, we try to always remember that tests are a tool to measure knowledge and performance. Tests are not an end in themselves. Actionable, applied knowledge is the goal, not merely a score on a test.
With that in mind, every year our students in 3rd through 8th grade complete McGraw Hill’s Terra Nova CTBS (Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills), one of the most widely used nationally administered tests. CTBS and similar standardized tests (e.g., CAT, or California Achievement Test) provide us as educators, and you as parents, with statistical data comparing your child’s performance in Reading, Language, and Mathematics with other children’s across the nation. On average, our students score around the 90th percentile.
Paradoxically, we believe one reason for such an impressive overall performance is our program does not actually give much weight to such standardized measures. Our strategy at LePort is not to “teach to the test”. Rather than stressing test scores as an end in themselves, we work to instill, through exciting academic content and engaging motivated teaching, a true joy for learning. Our goal as educators is not to create master bubblers on multiple-choice exams. Rather, we measure our success by whether our students are able to grasp the crucial knowledge and to develop in themselves the effective thinking skills and strong character that will aid in their enjoying life to the fullest. We believe the result of our strategy and goal – in conjunction with our invaluable partnership with caring, active parents – is knowledgeable children who can think clearly, who can write confidently, and who tackle new challenges with excitement.
In other words, although on average our students score very high on standardized tests, we do not feel that such tests are a very effective measurement tool for academic success. Specifically, they do not do a good enough job of testing true understanding of material or logical reasoning. Mostly what they test is short-term memory. For this reason, we do not make standardized tests a big focus at LePort.
In each subject, we regularly assess our students’ knowledge and understanding with reviews, quizzes, and tests of our own. But these assessments are never multiple choice, and often they require students to use their knowledge to solve unique problems and to offer explanations in their own words, thus ensuring they truly know what they know. Back to top of page
- What is your stand on evolution vs. creationism?
LePort Schools is a secular school, and we do not take any religious positions. We do teach biology to our older students. As part of the class, our junior high students learn a great deal of observational, factual knowledge that Charles Darwin built on in developing his theory of evolution. The theory of evolution itself would come at the high school level, building on this earlier evidence. Back to top of page
General School Processes
- Do you offer hot lunches?
We offer a hot lunch program at all of our campuses. This program uses a high quality external vendor with online menus. Families can choose whether and when to participate, and what particular meals to select. Our partner focuses on healthy eating, and we tailor our menu to remove foods we have found have a negative impact on our students (such as sugary cookies, which are not welcome in our Montessori programs). Back to top of page
- How do you handle food allergies?
LePort Schools works cooperative with parents to accommodate students with anaphylactic allergies. Our Montessori program provides a NUT-FREE classroom environment. We have also developed a proactive anaphylactic allergy policy, which helps parents and school to work together and to ensure the safety of children with food allergies while they are in our care. Click here to download the allergy policy for our Montessori program (toddler – 3rd grade), as well as the nutrition and allergy form, which each parent completes prior to the start of school. Back to top of page
- What extended care schedules do you offer?
Our extended care schedules vary from campus to campus. Please download the application for the campus of your choice to get more detailed information. In general, though, we offer care from 7 am to 6 pm at most of our campuses. Back to top of page
- How do you communicate with families during the school year?
At LePort, we believe in regular, open communication with our families. This begins with our “open door policy”: you are always invited to come and observe classes at our school. We also believe in both regular, structured communication, and frequent, informal communication.
To prevent cluttering your inboxes and minds, we typically send out our regular family communications every Tuesday; they are therefore called the “Tuesday Emails” and “Tuesday Envelopes” (which consist of electronic and paper copies, respectively). They serve two purposes: to keep you abreast of any current news and upcoming events, and to share with you what your child has been working on.
For other day-to-day, informal communications, our teachers will e-mail you. And you are of course very welcome to e-mail them yourself anytime. We are also available informally as you pick up your child after school: our teachers typically wait outside with the students, and are happy to answer any quick questions you have or to set up longer meetings.
We also have biannual parent-teacher meetings, where we meet with you one-on-one to review your child’s progress. At times, we may call you for an interim in-person meeting to discuss any issues that cannot be addressed via e-mail or over the phone.
Finally, we hold regular parent education evenings throughout the year, where we share information about our curriculum. We strongly advise you to attend these events: the more you know about what we do, the more we can work together to provide your child with the best education possible. Back to top of page
- Are your deposits refundable? Is tuition refundable?
We require 30 days written notice to withdraw your child from school. We will apply your child’s pre-paid last month of tuition toward that withdrawal period. No refunds are available for withdrawals after March 31st. See our application forms for more detailed information. Back to top of page
- Do you offer school tours?
- Can I observe your school in action before I decide to enroll my child?
Absolutely: we invite you to come back after your initial tour and spend an hour or a day with us. We ask that you give at least a week’s notice: it is important that we spread out our observers, so that they do not interfere with our classroom operations. Back to top of page
- Can my child join LePort mid-year?
Yes, we accept enrollments throughout the year, space permitting, in all of our programs. Back to top of page
- Can my child join LePort in 2nd grade, or in 6th grade—that is, in the middle of your program?
Yes, we accept children into all grades, space permitting. However, we do open enrollment to existing students prior to inviting outside families. As many of our classes fill up early, we do encourage you to consider LePort from preschool onward to ensure we will have space to accommodate your child. Please contact us, so we can review your individual situation. Back to top of page
- How do you assess whether LePort is a good fit for my child?
For our toddler and preschool programs, your child will come in for a day to experience our class to ensure our school is a good fit for you.
Grades 1-3 similarly conduct an in-class, informal assessment: our classroom teacher will spend time with your child, and will have him work with different Montessori materials and exercises to understand where he fits academically and personally within our multi-age classroom.
For grades 4-8, we conduct a detailed one-on-one assessment, which includes an interview of your child with our Head of School, as well as written assessments. We also request that your child bring in work examples from his current school, and that you submit any past report cards or standardized tests. In this way, we can ensure the right placement for your child, and suggest any supplemental tutoring that may be needed to integrate him smoothly into our school. We also request that your child spend a full orientation day with us, so that your child will feel comfortable on his first day of school. Back to top of page
- Do you offer scholarships?
LePort Schools does indeed have a financial aid program. Any student of any age who meets LePort’s acceptance criteria may apply for financial aid. Please click here for more information on our financial aid program, as well as details on how to apply. Back to top of page
- Do you enroll international students
Yes, we do enroll international students in our private school program (1st – 8th grade) as well as for our elementary and junior high summer camp program. When you inquire with our campuses, please let them know you are interested in enrolling an international student, and whether you are contacting us from abroad. That way, we can modify our process to suit your needs, for example, by inviting you for a Skype conference call with our Head of School, instead of coming in for a tour, and by conducting the assessment process via email exchange and Skype, instead of in person. In addition, once your child is admitted to LePort, we will work with you to complete the materials you need to apply for a student visa, as LePort Schools is authorized under Federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students. Back to top of page