Common Questions

Parents are essential partners in the life of CREC MMS. A Montessori education extends well beyond the basics of literacy and numeracy into the social and spiritual aspects of life. This applies to parents as well as children. Children thrive when home and school work in harmony, with both environments sharing the same educational values and expectations. What can parents and school expect of each other as we enter into a partnership to aid the development of your children? The following sections offer answers to key questions related to the parent-school partnership.

What can parents reasonably expect from the school?

Q. What can I expect of the school academically?

A. CREC MMS aspires to fulfill its mission as a public Montessori school

As a Montessori school, we are different from conventional schools. Our first commitment is to the multi-dimensional development of the child. As a public school, we are equally committed to meeting the requirements of the state of Connecticut, and also to serving all children. Montessori children do amass a great deal of factual knowledge in school. However, our aim is for each child to be far more than a repository of this information. We guide each child to think for herself. Cognitive development and a solid academic foundation are important, yet they represent only one dimension of our aspirations for your child. Equally significant is your child’s social, emotional, spiritual and physical development.

Children are given choices and a great deal of freedom—within limits—during the school day. The choices a child makes and the accompanying responsibilities influence the emerging character of your child. Choosing his own work, or shaping it to a considerable degree, following that work through to completion while working independently or in cooperation with others, the Montessori child identifies his interests and develops his individual gifts. 

Significant emphasis is placed upon community service. Younger children learn by serving their small community, e.g., classmates, classroom, and family. As they grow, children reach out to the larger community and experience the many rewards of helping others. The children gain awareness and appreciation of others, of the challenges faced by others, and equally important, of their own strengths and abilities to help others and affect the world around them. Community service is an integral and important part of their lives and stays with them well beyond their CREC MMS years.

We treat each child with dignity and respect, and expect that she will treat all others with the same respect. We treat each child as an individual and strive to develop each child’s unique gifts—within the context of the classroom and the school community. With freedom comes responsibility, and each child learns to balance his personal freedom with a clear sense of responsibility to himself, to others and to the community as a whole.

Q. What can I expect in terms of communication from the school?

A. We aim to maintain open, honest, timely, and respectful communication with you about your child and about information affecting the CREC MMS community.

There are two regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences each year, accompanied by written summaries. In the event of special concerns, your child’s teacher will contact you to discuss these concerns by phone, by e-mail, or in person. In addition to conference reporting, classroom teachers will communicate with you via classroom letters and newsletters, e-mail messages, and short reports as needed for individual children.

Each CREC MMS teacher is a well-trained professional and his/her evaluation is confidential and based on direct observation of your child. The teacher will always offer his/her current best understanding of your child’s progress and her strengths and needs. For all children, this evaluation is based on the teacher’s observation, and record keeping which may be augmented by input from the Principal and/or colleagues. For elementary children, we also report to you annual, standardized test results.

Regarding on-going, school-wide communication, the school distributes a printed newsletter, Principal’s Page as well as a Parent Handbook, school calendar, and other occasional letters and publications.

Q. What can I expect of the school environment?

A. We strive to ensure an environment that is physically and emotionally safe and supportive, as well as aesthetically beautiful.

In keeping with Montessori philosophy, the classroom teacher’s first responsibility is to prepare the environment. This means that the learning materials should correspond to the developmental characteristics of the child at each level. It is important that those materials be attractive to the child:  correct in size; aesthetically pleasing; well maintained; and complete.  In a broader sense, the whole school environment must meet these criteria: to appeal to the child and to inspire his work.

CREC MMS is fortunate to be located at the Learning Corridor, in a custom-built, state-of-the art building, which is a model for urban Montessori school design. We are ever vigilant to ensure that the school building and grounds are physically safe, secure, and well maintained. 

Our community of children and adults comprise a social environment and culture that affects the child’s experience. We strive to make this environment emotionally supportive and safe for every child. This does not mean that there are no problems. It does mean that we will work with your child in developmentally appropriate ways to deal with problems as they arise, empowering him with social skills and aiding him in the development of emotional intelligence to prepare for a lifetime of working with others in different communities and organizations. 

Q. What professional standards can I expect of the school and faculty?

A. CREC MMS is accredited by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), which assumes both AMI training for all classroom teachers and ongoing reflection and consultation in order to adhere to AMI’s rigorous professional and pedagogical standards.

In addition to Bachelor’s Degrees, all Primary and Elementary teachers have a diploma from an AMI training program. Many members of our faculty also hold advanced degrees. Our teachers have a sense of mission in working with children, particularly public school children, and demonstrate high standards for themselves and their students.

The school promotes a culture of professional growth in a number of ways.  Annually, teachers work with the Principal to create an action plan for Faculty Evaluation. This evaluation is driven by goal setting for professional development. Over a three-year cycle AMI school consultants observe each teacher and work with each program level as part of our institutional renewal process. In addition, the school annually hosts workshops and conferences for professional development of faculty, administration as well as support staff.

Q. What can I expect of the school administration?

A. Integrity; a focus on the needs of the individual child in harmony with the life of the community; mission-driven decisions embodying good stewardship and responsible management; and an open door to your questions or concerns.

Administrative staff interface with all the various constituencies of the school:  students; parents; extended family; faculty; alumni; prospective parents; professional visitors; government officials; other schools and educational organizations; and the general public. In your interactions with administration, you can expect professional, courteous, and business-like conduct, as well as mutually respectful communication.

The Principal, Program Coordinator, and CREC Magnet Office comprise the administration. They often face decisions requiring a balance of competing priorities. Sometimes those factors are mutually exclusive; sometimes equally well-intentioned adults see matters differently. In making decisions, administration will focus on the interest of the individual child in balance with the needs of the school community.

What does CREC MMS expect from parents?

Q. What is the school’s most basic expectation of parents?

A. Make continuing efforts both to understand and to embrace the Montessori approach and to work in partnership with the school.

We have found that the parent-school partnership works best when these efforts begin before admission. We build our most productive relationships with parents who understand and embrace the mission of the school. To that end, we help parents learn about the Montessori approach by providing information and opportunities for parent education as part of the admission process—so that parents can make an informed decision in choosing to enroll their children—and continue to provide more opportunities throughout a family’s years at the school. Once children are enrolled, the school expects parents to attend regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences and parent education events, and to familiarize themselves with the philosophy, policies and procedures contained in the Parent Handbook and other school publications.

Q. What contribution can I make to create a positive school community?

A. Demonstrate respect for all adults and children, the school, and the school’s programs.

Model for your children respect-- for them, their classmates, parents of classmates, teachers and other school staff—in short, for everyone associated with the school. Respect begins with civility and deepens into trust. Our most fundamental behavioral guidelines for the children are: “respect yourself, respect others and respect the environment.” Our goal is to achieve the same level of respect at all times and in all relationships within the school community. 

Q. How can I create consistency between home and school?

A. Wherever possible, incorporate Montessori principles into home routines.

Learn as much as you can about Montessori principles as they apply to preparation of your child’s home environment as well as the way we parents interact with our children. This begins with the general principle, “Never do something for your child that he can do for himself.” Allow your child to engage in all of the simple tasks of practical life that a child can do for himself at each stage of development. Montessori education may also entail learning a communication style different from the way in which we were parented. Parent Seminars and other group activities can be a great support in this regard.

Q. What are my responsibilities regarding communication between home and school?

A. Maintain active, direct and respectful, two-way communication with the school. 

Read communications that are sent home, including letters, newsletters and calendars. Inform the school in a timely fashion of pertinent changes in your child’s life. Active communication involves parents sharing observations and concerns about their child with the child’s current teacher. In matters large and small, remember the principle of respect: even when there is disagreement, disagree respectfully. For more detailed communication guidelines, please refer to the CREC MMS Parent Handbook.

Q. Where will my child go after their Montessori education?

Parents considering Montessori often wonder how their children will adjust to "regular" school once they complete their Montessori education. What is the best middle school for Montessori children? How do students handle grades, nightly homework, sports teams, and multiple classes?

The answer to these questions is that there is no single type of education that best suits Montessori students, and each child adjusts differently to new environments. MMS graduates go on to a variety of magnet, independent, and district schools across the capital region.

The Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) provides the most up-to-date information on regional magnet options for students. Please visit for information on regional fairs, parent information sessions, and application procedures.