CMS FAQs

[Please note: For information about Montessori education in general, please refer to the section of our site entitled "A Montessori Education".]

We have tried to provide as many resources as possible on our website to describe the program and the community of Cambridge Montessori School. For your convenience we have presented a few commonly asked questions and responses to them provided by members of our Leadership Team.

Please feel free to contact us at any time to get any further information.

How many students attend CMS? Where are they from?

There are approximately 230 students at Cambridge Montessori School.  We have three Toddler classrooms (21 months-3 years), five Primary classrooms (3-6 years), four elementary classrooms (two 6-9 years, two 9-12 years) and one Middle School classroom.

Our families come from Cambridge, Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Somerville, Medford and many other surrounding towns.  CMS takes pride in its international community.  Over twenty different languages are spoken by our families and we look forward to having families share their cultural celebrations with our classrooms.

Is financial aid available?

Yes! Cambridge Montessori School values many different forms of diversity, including socio-economic diversity.  Over $700,000 was allocated to financial aid this year.  Approximately 30% of our CMS families receive financial aid that pays for tuition as well as Passport programs.  For more information about deadlines and applying for Financial Aid, please click here.

How does CMS differ from other independent schools?
Cambridge Montessori is a very unique and special environment.  Students, faculty and families, are each valuable members of our thriving learning community.  The partnership between CMS and its constituents is extraordinary.  Although our setting is informal, we have tremendous respect and value for each other. We are completely immersed in ongoing teaching and learning daily. CMS is a welcoming community that embraces people from all walks of life.  We prepare our students not only to love learning but to also love themselves, their fellow CMS community members and citizens of the world.  It is these characteristics that differentiate us from other independent schools.  We are everything we say we are and more!
What is the three-year cycle?

All of Dr. Montessori’s educational philosophy is based on years of scientific observation of the child. Through observation she concluded that the child is born with all the necessary features to become an individual, and passes through different planes of development in 3 year-cycles. Montessori education is based on the child’s plane of development taking into account the child’s needs and attributes at each plane, these needs and attributes operate in three year cycles.

During these three years children experience different roles, responsibilities and expectations. The first year children not only get lessons from teachers, but also learn from the older students by observing and listening to their work. With the help of the older children, younger children usually learn quickly and enthusiastically. The second year children are more independent and comfortable in the classroom. They learn how to interact with both older ones and younger ones, while developing their knowledge and skills in all different areas. The third year children have the unique opportunity to be role models and community leaders. Their knowledge is reinforced through practicing and sharing with the younger children which strengthens their skills.

How do students maintain their friendships once they transition to another level/cycle?

Cambridge Montessori School is a tight-knit community, from our small Toddler rooms through our Middle School.  While students change classrooms over the years, they maintain their friendships throughout their time here and beyond.  Students come together across classrooms.  Elementary and Middle School students have a common recess so that they can share time at our city park and each Friday, Elementary and Middle School students gather for our Community Meeting.  Our alumni often speak enthusiastically about their "CMS family," many students remain friends into high school and beyond.

Does CMS offer transportation?
CMS does not provide transportation. However, we encourage our families, both new and returning to carpool.  We provide a zip code list that will help identify other CMS families in your neighborhood.  Some of our students are within walking distance of the school and either walk or ride their bicycles and scooters to school.  Some students take public transportation to and from school.  Our school is centrally located and is close to Alewife and Porter train stations and multiple bus stops.
How much homework is assigned?

Very little.  Cambridge Montessori includes uninterrupted work time in the classroom each day, and students do most of their work at school.  That said, our Elementary and Middle School students do some work at home.  We are a community of readers at Cambridge Montessori, and students' outside reading is celebrated and encouraged.  Lower Elementary students keep a reading log, and Upper Elementary students do some vocabulary and math work for "home work."  Middle School students have a variety of assignments with different due dates; sometimes they finish their work at school and sometimes at home, but we help our Middle-Schoolers with time management by discussing assignments each day and planning schedules.

How does being in Cambridge enrich a child’s educational experience?
Cambridge is the educational Mecca of the world.  It is a diverse community where people from various ethnic, racial, socio economic, religious, political ideology and sexual orientation backgrounds unite to explore, create, invent and make an impact in and beyond Cambridge. The location is a gift that keeps giving.  Our students and faculty take advantage of the opportunities they are afforded by delving deeply into practical life issues, taking field trips to historical sites and partnering with world class colleges, universities, schools and non-profits. Our location provides us with priceless resources that would be unmatched in any other city.  As a result, our students have a greater appreciation for multiple perspectives and approach learning with purpose and understanding.
Is lunch provided? Where do students eat?

Families provide lunch each day at CMS. Students eat lunch in their own classroom and help take responsibility for lunch set up and clean up. They help each other to set and prepare the tables for their friends as well as clean up and prepare the classroom for the afternoon class time.  These responsibilities help children develop independence in everyday living skills as well help them develop ownership of their classroom environments and the need to take care of it.

What are your extracurricular programs?

The Passport program provides a variety of extracurricular activities to CMS students and members of the surrounding community. During the fall, winter, and spring trimesters, Passport offers Early Care, Extended Day, Athletics, After School Clubs, Supplementary Care and Vacation Camp during school breaks. A very important part of the Passport year is a full-scale Summer Day Camp.

More information and registration forms can be found on the Passport section of the website as well as on the Passport bulletin boards in all three buildings.

What schools do students attend after CMS?

After their time at CMS, graduates move onto a number of different schools, both public and independent.  Recent alumni are thriving at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Arlington High, and Belmont High.  Others are flourishing at Dana Hall, Cambridge School of Weston, Beaver Country Day, Brimmer and May, Emma Willard, the International School of Boston, and Landmark.  Across the board, our alumni tell us that their transition to high school has been excellent – both smooth and successful.

How well do CMS students transition to other schools?

Our recent alumni tell us that their transition to high school has been excellent – both smooth and successful.  We work extensively with our Eighth-Graders to prepare them for their move to high school.  We practice taking standardized tests, we encourage and discuss school visits, we practice interviews, and we help with course selection.  Our goal is to help students choose the best school for them and to help them transition successfully to this next stage in their lives.

How do students use technology at CMS?
  • The students are introduced to computers in Lower Elementary for math facts exercises and for introductory research.  Lower Elementary students also are introduced to the Writers – small word processing tools which allow for easy input of ideas and which provide an introduction to keyboarding.
  • Upper Elementary students continue to use computers for math practice and for more advanced research.  They also have Writers and use computers to contribute to a collective classroom literary magazine.  Laptops are provided for each of the Sixth Year students who are engaged in a capstone research project for much of the year, for which they are expected to create, among other things, an electronic presentation.
  • The Middle School students use computers for many of their learning activities throughout the day, and a laptop is provided for each of them.  Middle School students use email and GoogleApps routinely; study research and citations skills; and are expected to integrate computer-based research, writing, and presentation skills in much of their work.  Middle-Schoolers also work with special applications such as Google tools (Earth, Maps, and SketchUp) and Alice (a java 3-D programming language).  One Middle School art class, "Film School," asks students to write, film, edit, and score original films using the Macintosh iLife package.

At CMS, we plan to continue to explore relevant and approriate uses of technology across all levels of our program.

 
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