+ How long is the school year?
We are a year-round school, meaning that the school year runs September thru August and includes a minimum of 180 school days. Breaks are evenly dispersed through the year to ensure student engagement in the classroom is positive and working in a continuum.
+ Your prices are so reasonable but I'd like to know if there are more discounts available?
As a functioning parent co-op, GACM is able to provide low tuition rates in exchange for current family involvement in the running of the school. At this time, we do not offer scholarships or additional financial assistance. We are in the process of becoming a vendor for the VDSS Subsidy Program.
+ Are children who go the preschool 3 days a week in a separate classroom from the 5 days a week children?
True to the Montessori methodology, all students in the Primary classroom are together, whether they are 3 or 5 day!
+ Are there nap/quiet times scheduled for the 8:30-3:00pm?
For students under the age of 5, there is a VDSS mandated rest/nap period from 1-2:30pm
+ Is the school licensed or accredited by the state?
The school is currently licensed as a Child Day Center with VDSS. Because we are newer, we cannot apply for American Montessori Society Accreditation until our 3rd year in existence, but we are following prerequisites now in preparation.
+ What is the youngest age they can enroll? Do they need to be potty trained?
We accept from age 3 and potty trained. We require that children are independent in toileting by the first day of school.
What exactly does that mean? Independence in toileting means:
Children can communicate their need to go to the bathroom in advance of having an accident.
Children can pull down and pull up their own underwear and pants.
They can seat themselves on the toilet and sit comfortably.
They can wipe their own bottoms.
They can wash their own hands.
They are able to briefly postpone going to the bathroom if they must wait for another child to finish or if we are outside and need to walk in from the playground.
Children who are independent in toileting do not wear diapers or pull-ups to school.
We do provide teacher supervision and help as needed with toileting routines.
+ Does my 5/6 year old join the Primary or Elementary class?
A students readiness for the lower elementary classroom depends solely on their mastery of specific criteria. Our staff is capable of evalutating each student and preparing them for the next phase of their educational journey.
+ My child has never been in a Montessori setting. How does this affect their admissions process?
At the Primary level, most children regardless of age are able to learn how to accept lessons and care for their classroom. For Elementary age we would need to go on a case-by-case basis to evaluate the students preparedness to enter the classroom.
+ Does your partnership with the UU church effect the curriculum of the classroom?
Our partnership with UUCC and it's congregation is based on our shared dream of engaging the different backgrounds of our community and leveling the playing field in regards to opportunity and bringing social justice into education. We share similar goals of uniting the global community around our children, executing social justice in education, being inclusive of all backgrounds and creeds, and sharing our expressions of love and giving. The curriculum of the school is based on the teachings of Maria Montessori and our teachers are AMI/AMS certified.
To learn more about the UU church, visit https://www.uua.org/beliefs.
+ How long does the admissions process take?
The timeline of the admissions process depends on the school and prospective parent's availability to meet for an initial tour, how long it takes to submit the application and fee, and when the child's classroom visit is completed. Shortly after, a contract, VDSS required forms, and the Parent Handbook are presented to parents, signed and fees are paid.
+ Can the tuition deposit go toward the first month?
The tuition deposit is usually broken up evenly across the 12-month contract. But if you wanted the deposit to only be applied to the first month, we could do that.
+ With the children involved in making and sharing meals, would our child’s vegan/vegitarian lifestyle be an issue?
Not an issue at all. The snack items are typically fruits, veggies, varying crackers and such. The only dairy snacks are cheese, etc. Parents are given a list with needed items for the following week circled. We can adjust when your family’s week comes around.
+ Is lunch provided or do we need to pack?
Families are asked to pack their students' lunches. The school provides morning snack, so it's also best to pack an afternoon snack if your child will be attending aftercare.
+ What is the student to teacher ratio?
Virginia Department of Social Services mandates that all classrooms with students ages 3-12 requires a 10:1 ratio. We have no more than 20 students in the classroom at one time. We have a Primary and Elementary Lead and a Teacher's Assistant, so it more than covers the ratio.
+ Will you guys be giving preference to existing students' younger siblings as they age in? Is there a sibling discount?
Families with an additional incoming sibling will be first in line for a spot in the classroom. With the cost of tuition as low as we have it there isn't a lot of room for wiggle, at least this first year as we get established, so currently there is no sibling discount.
Have additional questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!