What kind of child is right for the Spring Hill Montessori School?
Children of all personality types thrive in the Montessori setting. For sensitive children who prefer to observe at first, the materials serve to spark their curiosity to catalyze development through play. For high-energy children who need to be in constant motion, the freedom to move around the classroom at will and to choose their favorite materials help them to refine their movements and gain control over their bodies. Adult observers often comment on Montessori children as being of one type; calm and focused. What they really see are a full spectrum of children; high-energy children's focus being harnessed to sensitive children's curiosity engaged.
When is the school open?
The school operates from September to early June and observes school holidays.
Where is Spring Hill Montessori School?
Spring Hill Montessori is located on a quiet residential street in west Cambridge's Huron Village. Access Blakeslee Street from Reservoir Street. Blakeslee Street runs one-way towards Huron Avenue.
Why does Spring Hill Montessori have one class?
In 1993 when Mark and Victoria first looked into opening a top quality preschool in Cambridge they ran up against two obstacles. First, the City of Cambridge requires preschools to be located in business zones, and second, the Massachusetts Office for Child Care Services requires 75 square ft. of playground space per child. Commercial space with the required playground was impossible to find in the city. Undeterred, the Olivas decided to convert the second floor of their two-family house into classrooms and license the school as a large family childcare. The one class of ten children allows the pupils to have a variety of social interactions across age and gender lines; a dynamic that decreases as the number of children in the class increases.
How do I find out how my child is doing?
Mark and Victoria make a point to communicate with parents and caregivers every day at pickup. Since raising a child is a collaboration, we feel it's important to give primary and secondary caregivers a feel for how their child's day went. Larger schools have too many children to make this daily communication practical.
In November and May Mark presents a written assessment of your child's learning style during teacher-parent conferences. Using Harvard professor Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory as a template, he describes how each of their seven intelligences (inter-personal, intra-personal, body kinesthetic, spatial, musical, linguistic, & logical mathematical) combine to make them unique learners. While your preschooler is just a budding learner, our experience shows that these reports give a remarkably accurate picture of their special talents and weaknesses as they progress through school.
Where do children go to school after Spring Hill?
(Schools ranked in order of frequency.) Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School, Graham and Parks, Shady Hill School, Park School, Southfield, Haggerty, Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Day School, Fessenden, Lexington Montessori, Atrium.
Is the school licensed?
Yes. The school operates in a residential property and is licensed as a Large Family Childcare Facility through the Office of Child Care Services. The school's license number is 190117. Mark Oliva is the director.
What is the tuition?
The 2013-2014 tuition is $14,800.
Why does Spring Hill only offer a five morning per week program?
With each school day the children develop into a tiny community. Children's interconnected friendships grow and flourish while sharing work and play cycles. A child needs time in the community to comfortably bond with peers. Every morning during lesson time new materials and/or activities are demonstrated to the children.
Encountering a novel material without an introductory lesson can be confusing and adds to your child’s sense that they missed something. Parents usually learn early in the fall their children are eager to come to school.
What do parents have to say?*
(From unsolicited parent correspondence.)
Dear Mark and Victoria,
On the first day of school this year the automatic pilot took me straight to Blakeslee Street. It's hard to believe that Spring Montessori School is no longer part of our daily routine. Now, as I see (our children) blossom into wonderful children filled with curiosity and the deep sense of self-confidence, I realize more and more what a blessing it was for them to spend their formative years in your care. The school you have built is indeed a remarkable oasis of educational excellence and sanity. Youre exceptional human beings and have given (our children) gifts that will nurse them a lifetime. Though you're no longer part of our lives we think of you often, and you'll always have a cherished place in our family.
With much affection,
Dear Mark and Victoria,
(My husband) and I really appreciate all your hard work and everything you've done to make the past two years so great (for our son). I'm sure the next years will be great too, thanks to the excellent foundation you have laid. We feel very lucky that both our children have had the opportunity to be part of your wonderful school and hope that (our next child) will get the chance to follow in their footsteps.
Thank you again for everything.
Dear Mark and Victoria,
Thank you so much for making the last two years so amazing for (our daughter). We can hardly believe how much she has blossomed and grown in such a short time. So much of that growth has been because of the fabulous experience she had with you and we deeply appreciate it. Your kindness, consistency, high standards, and dedication allowed (our daughter) to feel confident, and proud, and capable, and we're very proud of her. We will really miss Spring Hill and your guidance and support, with such a strong foundation I'm sure (our daughter) will continue to thrive.
Thank you so much for everything.
Very best wishes,
Dear Mark and Victoria,
We want to thank you both for such a wonderful year. (Our son) has made so much progress and has been so happy, and we are grateful for the care you have given to him.
*Names of parents and children are withheld for internet publication. The originals are on file for your review at the school.
What is the daily routine?
The school session, from 8:45 -11:45, includes independent and group exploring time, Montessori lessons, arts and craft activities, story time, healthy snacks, music, creative movement, and outdoor play in the fully equipped playground.
8: 45 - children arrive at school; free work time
9: 30 - circle; group lesson
9:45 - free work time
10:00 - group activity*
10: 30 - story time followed by question-and-answer
10: 45 - snack time
11:00 - group activities while waiting for children to finish snack
11:15 - outdoor play
11: 45 - pickup; parent/caregiver updates
*Daily Group activities:
Monday: Weekend story sharing ― The children take turns telling the group about a weekend experience.
Tuesday: Yoga class ― Tara Carey, a Montessori trained and certified yoga teacher, leads the children in yoga movement with nature themed songs and stories.
Wednesday: Skits and group singing ― Mark and Victoria act out skits to model ground rules of grace and courtesy to both instruct and amuse the children. Sing along on the circle engages the group in traditional songs as well as tunes suggested by the children.
Thursday: Music class ― Ruth Blackburn, Longy School of music Master's graduate, teaches Dalcroze Eurhythmics.
Friday: Show and tell ― Children bring in favorite projects and toys to display and describe to the class. We encourage the children to bring their show-and-tell items in a bag to carry home their weeklong paperwork, projects and "Weekly Highlights" newsletter.