FAQ

The Montessori Method

Turtle River Montessori has a slogan of "Excellence in Whole Education". What does that mean?
Turtle River Montessori prides itself on our high standards in “whole education”, utilizing Montessori’s belief that teaching philosophies and practices should be learner focused and address broader frameworks such as peace and environmental education. This approach encourages children to think and discover for themselves. It reaches beyond basic academic achievement to influence “the whole child.”
Where did Montessori come from?
Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children’s learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a “prepared environment” in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Nearly a century after Maria Montessori’s first Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House) opened in Rome, Montessori education is found all over the world, spanning ages from birth to adolescence.
What is the number one Montessori philosophy?
The Montessori Method is based on the insights of Dr. Montessori, who believed that no human being is educated by another person. A child must do it himself, or it will never be done. A truly educated individual continues learning long after the hours and years he spends in the classroom because he is motivated from within by a natural curiosity and love for knowledge. Dr. Montessori felt, therefore, that the goal of early childhood education should not be to fill the child with facts from a pre-selected course of studies, but rather to cultivate his own natural desire to learn. Because the learning process is hands-on, fun and individualized, with loving guidance from teachers and role-modeling by older children, students develop self-esteem, self-control, self-motivation, self-organization and a genuine long lasting love of learning during their growth in a Montessori school.
What is the Montessori Teaching Method?
“Teach by teaching, not by correcting”. There are no papers turned back with red marks and corrections. Instead the child’s effort and work is respected as it is. The teacher, through extensive observation and record-keeping, plans individual projects to enable each child to learn what she needs in order to improve. The environment is arranged according to subject area, and children are always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work with a piece of material. At any one time in a day all subjects—math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc.—will be studied, at all levels.
What is the significance of Turtle River's full membership with the American Montessori Society?
The American Montessori Society’s Affiliation is a voluntary process undertaken by schools that are committed to continuous school improvement. In our pursuit of excellence, we achieved full member status with the American Montessori Society and exceeded all required standards.
Can I practice Montessori at home with my child?

Yes, you can use Montessori principles of child development at home. Look at your home through your child’s eyes. Children need a sense of belonging, and they get it by participating fully in the routines of everyday life. “Help me do it by myself” is the life theme of the preschooler. Can you find ways for your child to participate in meal preparation, cleaning, gardening, caring for clothes, shoes, and toys? Providing opportunities for independence is the surest way to build your child’s self-esteem.

At the school level, many homeschoolers and other parents use the Montessori philosophy of following the child’s interests and not interrupting concentration to educate their children. In school, only a trained Montessori teacher can properly implement Montessori education, using the specialized learning equipment of the Montessori “prepared environment.” Here, social development comes from being in a positive and unique environment with other children, which is an integral part of Montessori education.

Are Montessori children successful later in life?

Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for life academically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations. Montessori education typically transitions very well into high school or college settings, which offers challenging programs that keep their interest. Montessori-educated students generally perform better than their peers due to their highly developed maturity, self-responsibility, self-esteem and love of learning.

Did you know?

  • The youngest Noble Peace Prize nominee is a Montessori graduate.
  • The youngest Rhodes Scholar is a Montessori graduate.
  • The youngest artist to exhibit at the United Nations is a Montessori graduate.

Google’s cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin attributed their success to going to a Montessori school where they learned to be self-directed and self-starters. They said that Montessori education allowed them to learn to think for themselves and gave them the freedom to pursue their own interests.

Some other famous Montessori graduates include: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, noted pediatrician and author T. Berry Brazelton, chef Julia Child, singer and record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs, actress Dakota Fanning, famous diarist Anne Frank, owner/editor of the Washington Post Katherine Graham, Nobel prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, video game pioneer Will Wright, and English royals Prince William and Prince Harry.

“The Montessori educational approach might be the surest route to joining the creative elite, which are so over-represented by the school’s alumni that one might suspect a Montessori Mafia,” writes the Wall Street Journal. The list of Montessori’s famous graduates shows that Montessori Education does exactly what it sets out to do: it doesn’t force children into a mold, it doesn’t work just for one type of child. Instead, when done correctly, Montessori Education helps each child reach their full potential, whether that potential is in art, computers, literature, music, performance, science etc.

Why is Turtle River considered one of the best Montessori schools?
A dedicated commitment to the Montessori Method, a clean, modern, attractive facility, a high caliber of teaching staff, a solid sense of direction and mission, and strong support within our community and our student families combine to create the standard of excellence we enjoy. Turtle River is accredited by the Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF), involving rigorous evaluation of our methods and the maintenance of high educational, ethical and professional standards in order to provide the best educational experience possible to all students.
Why is parental involvement so important at Turtle River?
We are dedicated to fostering a tight-knit community and encourage parents to participate on various levels. Our belief is that participation enhances the school programs and raises parental commitment to the quality of education, which has created our extended family of students, faculty, parents and alumni. Research has proven that children thrive better in environments where their families are involved. We are committed to educating the parent community in our Montessori philosophy.

Classrooms

What does my child need for rest time?
Rest time is an important time for the children to take a break and renew their energy. Children under 4 are required to nap. To help them be comfortable, please send in a small crib size sheet and a small blanket. Older friends also have a rest period, and should have a small crib sheet or king size pillowcase to rest on. Your child may also bring in a small toy or stuffed animal for use during rest time. They must fit inside your child’s cubby. The sheet and the blanket will be sent home on Fridays to be washed. Please send them back the following Monday or as soon as your child returns to school.
Why does my child need to bring in a family photo?
Montessori education revolves around family, and it is very important to the child’s overall well being. We request that all children bring in a framed family photograph to keep on display in the classroom for the entire school year.
What are the Memory Books?
Traditionally, we create a wonderful keepsake for the children. Compiled by each class’s volunteers, these books commemorate your child’s year at school with photos, comments and remembrances by the teachers, staff and the children.

Dress Code

What is Turtle River Montessori's dress code?
A uniform is required for all Turtle River students. The Turtle River logo shirt, blue or khaki uniform bottoms (pants, shorts, skorts, skirts), closed toe shoes with rubber soles, and white socks only. A dark green shirt is required for events and activities during the school year. Elementary and Middle School students need a white PE shirt with the TRM logo and black running shorts with a white stripe from Lands’ End.
Where can I buy Turtle River uniforms?
Lands’ End School Catalog 1-800-469-2222 or Embroidery Abacoa at 342 Toney Penna Drive, Suite #2, Jupiter, FL 33458, 561-277-9224. Our school receives a donation from Lands’ End of 3% of net sales from uniform purchases, and a percentage from Abacoa Embroidery. The proceeds go towards maintaining our exceptional learning environment. Turtle River’s preferred school number with Lands’ End is 90003054-5 and our logo number is 9825202K.
What happens if my child comes in without their uniform (top and bottom)?
You will be contacted immediately and asked to bring in a uniform for your child. There will be no exceptions and this rule is strictly adhered to.
Does every child need a change of clothes?
All children need a change of clothing because of accidents, spills, etc. Please send your child’s labeled clothes in a Ziploc bag with their name on it the first day of school. If their clothes are sent home (for whatever reason) kindly send a clean change the next day that your child is in school.
Does my child need clothing for gardening or outside projects?
A large t-shirt can be supplied for gardening or outside projects, as well as appropriate shoes, as the children can get dirty or wet.

Snack Guidelines

How do I know when I am to bring in snack?
The Pre-primary teachers will send home a monthly snack calendar. You will bring a snack approximately once a month. You will also bring in flowers and bananas or cheese approximately once per year, which the teachers use in the work sessions. You may also be asked to bring in additional items such as cups, plates, napkins or wipes. Please follow the healthy snack list that is provided to you (see the following FAQ for more information). Elementary students bring their own snacks daily.
What are recommended snacks?

For the Pre-primary shared snack, please bring a store-bought and packaged snack for the number of children in the class. Snacks may be:

  1. Fruit or vegetable platters (no dips), naturally dried fruits, Fruity or Veggie Booty
  2. Packaged, cut up cheese or cheese sticks
  3. Whole grain crackers, pretzels or bread sticks, granola or granola bars, popcorn
  4. Trail mix, graham crackers, goldfish
  5. Whole grain breads or bagels (sliced at store)
  6. Banana bread, carrot cake, zucchini bread (sliced) (low-sugar)
  7. Individually packaged yogurt, applesauce (please include plastic spoons)
  8. Multi-cultural snacks

Please refrain from sending snacks that include any of the following: 

  1. Partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils
  2. High fructose corn syrup, nutra-sweet, aspartame, highly sugared snacks, icing
  3. Artificial dyes, MSG, hydrolyzed soy protein (another name for MSG)
  4. Nuts or fish products as many children are severely allergic

A resource for healthy eating is Nutrition Smart, with an extensive selection of vitamins, groceries and herbs, all at up to 50% off suggested retail prices. Turtle River Montesssori receives 10% of items purchased here, so it’s another great way to meet your healthy living goals and support the school at the same time!

  Online at www.NutritionSmart.com

  Locally at 4155 Northlake Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens 561-694-0644

Do I send a snack for my child the first week of school?
Snacks are provided by Turtle River the first week of school only for Pre-primary.
What if I am unable to send in a snack on my designated day?

Please call another parent and switch your snack day or if you cannot arrange to switch with another parent, call the reception desk so we can make other arrangements for your child’s class. Please send a non-perishable snack the next time your child comes to school.

 

*Snack Time – the snack table is open for two children at a time all morning. The child chooses when to have a snack, however, new children are reminded it is their choice when to have a snack.

Do I need to send a snack if my child is in Aftercare?

Yes, please send a separate snack for aftercare, as there is no group snack at this time.

What may I send for my child's lunch?

Lunches that your child can eat independently are best. We do not heat or keep food refrigerated so please pack lunches accordingly. Include a drink, napkin and placemat. We encourage you to send in reusable ziploc bags or tupperware, cloth napkins and non-disposable silverware utensils. Uneaten items may be eaten in Aftercare as snack, or are returned home so parents may monitor eating habits.

What is Pizza Day?

Fridays are Pizza Day and your child must be enrolled in the Pizza Program (one-time fee assessed at the beginning of each school year) in order to have pizza. Most children enjoy sharing in Pizza Day, and those not enrolled bring their own lunch.

Birthdays

Can we celebrate my child's birthday at Turtle River Montessori?

Birthdays are special events for a child, and we invite you to join us in celebrating this special day in the classroom. In keeping with the Montessori tradition, the child takes a “Birthday Walk” during morning circle time, where the child walks around the “sun” for each year of his/her life. At the end of each year’s “walk” the child tells the class something about what they did during that year. We request each family to send in photographs for each year starting at birth. We will use this to make a timeline of his/her life to be shared with the class.

 

We request a special Birthday snack that morning. Plates, cups and napkins must be provided. Some snack suggestions are: mini muffins, banana or zucchini bread (no icing), crackers or pretzels with cheese, fruits or vegetable platters, water.

 

Children are encouraged to contribute a book to the Turtle River library in honor of their birthdays. Suggestions can be obtained from the teachers.

What if we're having a birthday celebration outside of school?

We encourage these fun social celebrations, and there are a number of age-appropriate venues in our area that accommodate large parties. No birthday party invitations may be handed out at school unless the entire class is being invited.

Parent/Teacher Communication

How is school information communicated?
Folders containing your child’s work and important notices are sent home every Friday or the last day of your child’s week. We use email to provide timely updates and the school’s monthly Newsletter. You can also check the bulletin board across from the Reception area, as well as the classroom bulletin boards for information.
When is an appropriate time to talk to my child's teachers?
Each teacher has their own voicemail. Please ask the receptionist to connect you to your teacher’s voicemail instead of leaving a message with the receptionist. You will be called back the same day. Please refrain from having lengthy conversations in the car line. Parent/Teacher Conferences are scheduled twice yearly (three times for new students).
How do I make an appointment to see one of the Administrative or Accounting staff?
Please call the reception desk to make an appointment. We are more than happy to answer any of your questions.
What is the protocol for entering a classroom?

For the safety of our children, please sign in at the front desk and pick up a Visitor’s Pass:

  1. Before you visit the classrooms
  2. When you drop off your child after scheduled arrival time 
  3. When you pick up your child before scheduled dismissal time

Attendance

Can I walk my child into class the first week of school?
It is important that we establish a routine for your child to feel secure. It is an easier transition for your child to walk in on the car line because they know what to expect and separation is not stressful. However, if you choose to walk your child in the first few days, do your goodbye ritual and kindly leave them at their classroom door with their teacher. Trust that the teachers are experienced in handling all situations.
Why does Turtle River use the car line?
It is a traditional Montessori practice to pick up and deliver children to your car while you wait in the car line. This enables gentle separations and smooth transitions for both parents and children. It allows for personal contact between staff and families, and helps establish a routine for dropping off your child. Please read the car line Safety document for proper protocol in car line.
What if my child is going to miss a day?
We appreciate your advance notification or a call that morning if your child is going to miss a day. We are unable to provide credit for non-attendance.
What if I need to have someone other than my child's parents pick up him/her?
Parents must send in a written permission note in advance to designate the person, day and date their child will be picked up by anyone not on their designated list. That person must come into the school with their drivers’ license. If your child is going home with a friend from school, please let us know in advance.
What if I am late to pick up my child?
If your child has not been picked up at the end of car line, they will be returned to their room or to Aftercare. After a 5-minute grace period, a charge of $5.00 per ten minute increments will be applied. Turtle River does not provide aftercare for children who are not picked up on time unless the school has been notified by 9:00 am that morning, as State law mandates that all programs be staffed according to the number of enrolled children. Contact our office with questions about Aftercare rates.

Volunteering

Am I required to participate at the school as a Volunteer?
Parental involvement is a requirement at Turtle River Montessori. We encourage all families to participate actively at our school as we greatly value the community spirit that it creates as well as the enhanced learning environment it produces. Each family agrees to contribute a minimum of 25 hours of parental involvement time per school year as agreed upon in the Enrollment Agreement.
When can I volunteer inside the classroom?
The Montessori philosophy encourages parental participation. There are a variety of volunteer needs, which your Classroom Coordinator will discuss monthly at the Volunteer meetings. Volunteer needs are broad and satisfying, offering you an opportunity to interact with your child and his/her friends by helping with lunch, special celebrations and class projects in the classroom. Your contribution can also be outside of school hours, for example, picking up needed library books, helping with playground maintenance, preparing classroom materials, assisting with our fundraising events, etc. See the following FAQ for more complete information about volunteer options, or contact your Classroom Coordinator to learn of specific needs. We do suggest that parents refrain from volunteering in the classroom if they feel their child will be distracted by their presence or distressed when they leave. Many times, simply waiting a few months before being in the classroom is advisable, and there are other volunteer needs outside of the classroom.
What are the volunteer jobs and what do they involve?

Lunch Helpers are present with the teachers during lunchtime to assist and supervise the children with hand washing, eating lunch and cleanup. Opening drink boxes, ensuring that the children eat, and maintaining a calm atmosphere are all part of your role. A monthly sign-up sheet is on the class bulletin board. Non-disruptive siblings are permitted with prior approval.

 

Library Assistants go to the library and check out approximately 10 books on the monthly subjects being studied in the class. Many parents find this to be a great time to obtain a library card for their child.

 

Craft Material Makers do the cutting, pasting and organizing for hands-on projects, on an as-needed basis. As the teachers need assistance, they call the parents on the list with specific tasks.

 

Garden Helpers take the children out to the class’s garden in groups of 5 or 6 for weeding, watering and planned garden activities including planting, harvesting, and discussions about garden topics. Usually requires an hour of time and appropriate clothes.

 

Class Photographers are present at special events to take photos of the children, parents and teachers. Digital format cameras are best and typically are provided by the parent.

 

Special Event Volunteers During the course of a year, the school holds special events such as the Cultural Peace Festival, Thanksgiving Feast, Holiday Crafts and Valentine’s Day Tea which require additional help. Usually organized by the Classroom Coordinator a monthly sign up sheet is provided at the Volunteer meetings for parents to bring in food, materials, or to assist for a few hours in the classroom, helping the children create crafts, assisting in event preparation or cleaning up.

 

Coordinators for Calendar, Garden, Book Fair, Teacher Appreciation at the beginning of the school year, or as needed, the Classroom Coordinator will request volunteers for various activities. A Coordinator takes responsibility for a particular task for the year, and may coordinate other volunteers. Parent Social Hosts open their homes to our Turtle River Families for Parents-Only Evenings. Attending parents each bring a food item and beverage.

 

Facility Improvement Volunteers have cleaned up after hurricanes, assisted with site improvements and helped install play equipment.

 

Auction Gala Volunteers are critical to Turtle River’s fundraising efforts. A Chairperson oversees the Annual Auction, with a board of volunteers coordinating donations, planning venue and decor, and organizing catering and entertainment.

How is my involvement monitored?

Parent Involvement hours are tracked in the Visitor Check-In/Check-Out book at the front desk, so that when you sign in and out of the school, you can simultaneously record your volunteer hours.

What are the Parent Awareness meetings?

These meetings provide in depth information about the Montessori methodology and its philosophies. Seminars are run by noted speakers and our staff, and are invaluable in assisting you to maximize your child’s educational experience both at school and at home. You must attend at least three (3) Parent Awareness meetings per year and you will receive credit for two (2) hours of involvement time for each meeting attended.

Why does the school have Fundraising Events?

Turtle River’s success is linked to our strong community participation – our “Extended Family” of supporters. As we strive for continuing excellence, we seek to supplement the tuitions with additional funding which allows us to maintain our exemplary facility and educational standards. Yearly fundraising provides us with money needed for unexpected repairs and maintenance, for upgrades and additions to the facility, for teacher education and for improved materials and experiences for your children in the classroom.

Gala

What is the school's Annual Gala?
The Annual Gala is a fun evening, focused on our children! Held at a large venue, with cocktails and seated dinner, the event is a beautiful way to honor our parents, staff and children. The event is themed differently each year, with entertainment, activities, games, silent auction items and fabulous live auction items. Families enjoy this upscale evening of socializing and the fun of bidding on great buys and child-made artwork.

Emergency Plan

What is Turtle River's Emergency Plan?
Turtle River has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to provide planning for a variety of circumstances and the handling of the aftermath of personal or local disasters. Our highest priority is the safety of children enrolled at Turtle River while always providing a family-friendly, loving environment children thrive in. View our complete Emergency Management Plan in the Policy Handbook for guidelines that shall be followed in the event of emergencies.

Daily Schedule

What does my child do at school?
Please refer to the example schedule on the Daily Schedules page in the Parent Login section.

May I observe a Montessori classroom?
You are welcome to observe your child’s classroom from our one-way windows at any time during the school year. The more you learn about the Montessori philosophy, the more you will appreciate the unique experience your child is having. You may also contact our office to schedule an observation within the classroom, beginning in January, allowing each child to settle in to the environment. Our environment is structured, and we welcome adult observers while requesting minimum disruption to the classroom. Visitors are less distracting when they sit down to observe silently, encouraging children to continue with their normal activity.

Immunizations & Sick Policy

What Physicals or Immunizations are required for my child?
Florida Department of Health requires that a child must have a current Florida Certification of Immunization (State of Florida form DH 680), with either proof of immunization or exemption for the form to be valid, along with an up-to-date physical form from a Florida physician (Student Health Exam, form DH 3040). No child will be allowed to start school without submission of current physicals and immunization records to the front office prior to the first day of school. A new Student Health Exam is required every two years. Each time shots are given you must provide the school with an updated record of immunizations.
What is the procedure if my child is sick?

In the interest of safeguarding the health of all the children, we will not accept a sick child in the classroom. If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms you will be notified and requested to make arrangements to have them picked up within one hour:

  1. Fever (100F or higher)
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Difficult/Rapid Breathing
  5. Stiff Neck
  6. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  7. Nasal Discharge
  8. Head Lice

Your child must remain at home until he/she is symptom-free for 24 hours. At the discretion of the school, we may request a doctor’s note for any of the following symptoms before your child returns to the classroom: 

  1. Cough
  2. Sore Throat
  3. Rash or Open Sores

If your child needs medication to be administered at school, you will need to fill out the Authorization for Medication.

How does Turtle River help prevent infectious illnesses?

In the school, as in your home and community, your child will be exposed to colds, flu and potentially other contagious conditions. Good hygiene remains the most effective preventive measure against illness. Use these guidelines at home and in the school to create lifelong healthy habits:

  1. Careful handwashing is the single most effective way to avoid infection. Wash thoroughly with soap and water. Sanitizers may be used in conjunction with handwashing, but not as a substitute.
  2. Keep all cuts and abrasions clean and covered with a clean bandage until healed. Wash hands immediately after changing a bandage.
  3. Keep shared surfaces clean.
  4. Avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has uncovered skin infections.
  5. Do not share personal items like towels, clothing, hairbrushes.
  6. Encourage children not to put items into their mouth.

Properly cover a cough or sneeze by directing it into the upper arm. Potentially infectious microbes can be trapped by clothing and become inactive.

Tuition

What is Tuition Express?
Tuition payments can be made at the school, by mail or automatically via electronic bank account withdrawal, debit or credit card charge using Tuition Express. Tuition Express offers parents an easy way to automate their tuition payments, with online account management and secure payment. To sign up, click here to access the necessary forms, complete and return to the Office. You will receive a unique id number and will then go online to activate your account. You will receive monthly payment receipts via email, and you can manage your account or discontinue the service at any time. For more information on Tuition Express, go to www.TuitionExpress.com
When are tuition payments due?
Tuition payments are due the first of each month and Tuition Express payments are deducted on this date.