Frequently Asked Questions
About the Montessori Method
Montessori schools may be best known for their programs with young children, but the underlying educational method describes programs for students up through high school.
Montessori children are free to choose within limits, and have only as much freedom as they can handle with appropriate responsibility. The classroom teacher and assistant ensure that children do not interfere with each other, and that each child is progressing at her appropriate pace in all subjects.
The different arrangement of a Montessori classroom mirrors the Montessori method’s differences from traditional education. Rather than putting the teacher at the focal point of the class, with children dependent on her for information and activity, the classroom shows a literally child-centered approach. Children work at tables or on floor mats where they can spread out their materials, and the teacher circulates about the room, giving lessons or resolving issues as they arise.
Parents of children at all levels at The Post Oak School meet at least twice a year in conference with their children’s teachers to learn more about classroom work and behavior. Classroom teachers keep extensive records of lessons given and work practiced, using the Montessori Records Xpress
software (which The Post Oak School has helped to develop), and also offer the benefit of their individualized observations of the child’s work in the classroom.
In addition, in February each year Post Oak students in grades 1-8 complete the Comprehensive Testing Program, Series 4 (CTP-4
), a standardized test scored against a norm group of students from other successful independent schools.
Montessori education is experiential and hands-on; children work with specially designed materials in the classroom before learning abstract pencil-and-paper methods. As students grow into the Upper Elementary
and Middle School
years, written resources make more and more appearances, though usually in the form of novels or reference books. Students tend to do their own research rather than relying on a class textbook’s descriptions.
Homework shows a similar progression, from none at the Primary
ages, slowly increasing as student ability and maturity warrant. By Middle School, students are expected to devote an average of two hours every evening to homework.
Montessori classrooms emphasize competition with oneself: self-monitoring, self-correction, and a variety of other executive skills aimed at continuous improvement. Students typically become comfortable with their strengths and learn how to address their weaknesses. In older classes, students commonly participate in competitive activities with clear “winners” (auditions for limited opera roles, the annual spelling bee, etc.) in which students give their best performances while simultaneously encouraging peers to do the same. It is a healthy competition in which all contenders are content that they did their best in an environment with clear and consistent rules.
Yes; students learn a variety of sports through regular P.F. (physical fitness) classes, and have the opportunity to play in after-school sports through our Bearkats
Increasingly, the world of modern education and business favors creative thinkers who combine personal initiative with strong collaborative skills: exactly the characteristics which Montessori education nurtures. Cultural movers and shakers from Julia Child to the founders of Google have spoken of how their childhood experiences in Montessori gave them not only the ability to work cooperatively in existing settings, but also the skills of confidence, creativity, and communication needed to make innovative and ground-breaking changes.
About The Post Oak School
The school serves approximately 416 students, of ages 14 months through high school, among approximately 240 families.
No; however, Montessori education does include a significant emphasis on personal conduct along with care and responsibility for others, which dovetails well with many religious faiths.
Parent volunteer activities are coordinated through the Post Oak Parent Association, POPA
The Post Oak School offers studies in the Spanish language, beginning with basic vocabulary in the Primary
classes and extending into formalized grammar (equivalent to a Spanish I class) in the Middle School
. Classroom assistants or specialist teachers offer regular lessons, and the curriculum is supplemented with special school-wide celebrations during the year, like Dia de los Muertos or Cinco de Mayo.
Yes: for more information, see the Post Oak Bearkats
See our web page “Beyond Post Oak
” for a list of destinations for recent alumni.
Over the past five years, 97% of Post Oak graduates have been accepted to their first or second choice of high school. (We include two choices to allow for the healthy tendency to apply to “stretch” schools.) Then the school tracks alumni performance for the first grading period in their new high schools. Some high schools grade on a four-point scale; students in those schools in 2007-8 had a composite grade-point average of 3.2. Other schools grade on a 100-point scale; Post Oak graduates in those schools had a composite average of 92.
Every January the school hosts an Alumni Night, at which alumni return from high school, university, or adult professional life to talk about their Post Oak experiences and how they prepared them for life. We encourage interested visitors to attend, to hear from the young people themselves how well prepared they found themselves to be.
About Admission to The Post Oak School
We generally have a wait pool of applicants for our Infant Community
. As children move up into the Primary
level, spaces become available. Applicants are chosen from that wait pool using factors such as whether the child is a sibling, the number of parent-education hours
completed, and age and gender of the applicant.
Each of our three Infant Communities
(14 months to 3 years) has twelve children: two classes are half-day and one full-day. Each of our six Primary
classes (3-6 years) has from 25-29 children (leaving room for mid-year move-ups from Infant Community). Most Primary children are half-day but we can accommodate up to 35 children in before- and after-care.
This number varies, and depends upon how many Infant Community students move to Primary during the school year.
For Infant Community, the ratio is 1:6. Primary and Elementary classes have a 1:14 ratio, and Middle School 1:9. Each of our classes at all levels has at least two adults in the room.
No; we only offer a five-day program.
Call in September for a tour of The Post Oak School
and to attend prospective parent classes
; you will get a better idea of schedules at that time. Generally, however, each morning features a work period of 2-3 hours after the children arrive. When it is time (around 11:15), they may go outside, eat lunch, and nap if they are younger than 4 years old. The older children continue with about a two-hour work schedule in the afternoon.
Not in the traditional sense. The Primary
level is for children ages 3-6; the last year of Primary serves students of the same age as a traditional kindergarten class.
Enrollment in Infant Community
only occurs between the ages of 14 months and 2 years. This is a critical window of time for a child to enter this community. Enrollment in Primary
occurs between the ages of 2½ and 3½.
We hope that it is a good fit, but each child is evaluated individually.