What is a typical day?
Our students are either enrolled in a half-day, a full day, or an extended day schedule. The school day begins at nine o’clock. In order to incorporate independence, which is essential for higher learning, the children are encouraged to enter the classroom on their own, and follow the necessary steps to organize themselves and prepare for the day. This self-guided preparation is the first notable characteristic of our students. We then share time together in conversation and a group lesson. After that, the students move to various areas of the classroom and choose a job that they are interested in pursuing. Once settled in to the daily rhythm of the school, all of our students find motivation and a desire to learn.
What sets DMS apart from other Montessori schools in the area?
2013 marked our fiftieth year of operation. The founder of our school, Mrs. Datzyk, is a second-generation student of Maria Montessori herself. Upon completion of her Montessori training, Mrs. Datzyk opened the Datzyk Montessori School and it was inspected by a representative from the St. Nicholas Training Centre in London, one of the earliest founded Montessori training centers in the world. The Centre was thoroughly impressed with the school’s adherence to Montessori’s philosophy, and, as the school has remained in the family, we have continued to maintain the same high quality of education. Our classrooms are all stocked with authentic Montessori materials and our teachers ensure that the children are using them correctly. Our rooms are open, filled with sunlight, and spacious, and we have wonderfully designed outdoor spaces where the children engage in physical play.
What is the most noticeable difference in a Montessori-educated child?
There are many noticeable differences. First and foremost, we consider it our responsibility to instill in every child a love and passion for learning, and to guide him or her in the direction of his or her interests. When following an interest, the possibilities for learning are endless. Secondly, we match every child’s interests with his or her ability, and create customized academic syllabi. Because each child learns at a different pace and in different ways, every student’s experience at our school is unique and individualized. This way, the child learns to pursue an interest until it is clearly understood and explored. It is this self-guided drive to learn, which we strive to nurture, that is essential for success in all higher academic learning.
Why should my child start school at two years old?
It is proven that learning occurs most easily during a child’s formative years (between birth and six years of age), and we recommend that a child spend four full years in our school. Each year builds upon the previous. Montessori’s equipment is designed to engage a child’s innate interests and curiosities. The sooner the child begins to act on and refine these interests in a prepared environment, the easier it will be for him or her to be introduced to reading and mathematics. Maria Montessori has famously likened a young child’s mind to a sponge, able to absorb new knowledge and concepts quickly and easily. Our two-year-olds make great strides in their first year at DMS, forming strong foundations and friendships for the next three years.
How is the classroom organized?
Each classroom has five distinct sections for the following areas: practical life, sensorial, language, math, and culture/science. In these sections, all jobs are arranged from the most simple, to complex.
Are the children socially adapted?
Yes. As there is no traditional lecture format in our school, all learning takes place individually, and in small groups. At a young age, learning is not only academic; it is social. Because Montessori understood this need for socialization and courteousness, she stated that there be only one copy of each material in the classroom, so children are encouraged either to share, or wait their turn. Children often work together in the classroom, learning from one another. We see strong, meaningful friendships develop and we observe creative and engaging play and socializing on the playground as well.
Is the transition to “traditional” school difficult?
Because of our longstanding reputation in the Lehigh Valley, area school districts and other private schools are well aware of the caliber of our students and make every effort to arrange for their proper placement. As for the child’s preparedness, his or her drive to learn has been encouraged and refined. It is a very exciting time, and we find that our students are mature and ready to experience bigger and different learning environments.
Is it possible to visit?
Yes. In fact, we strongly encourage that you visit with your child during a typical school day. Please contact our director, Linda Turrisi, at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment.
Will my child learn how to read?
We can confidently state that one-hundred percent of our students leave our school with the ability to read at an above average level. Additionally, our students are able to complete complex mathematical functions with a clear understanding of mathematical processes, as noted here.
Does DMS serve lunch?
Because of the variety of allergies and food preferences, we find it best that each student bring a prepared lunch from home. We cannot heat or refrigerate food, therefore, an ice pack and thermos are recommended.
Do children do well entering at an older age?
Yes. Because our program is individually designed, the teacher can begin at any level. Our staff is trained to recognize learning abilities and developmental patterns. All of our students experience success.
How often do parents meet with the teachers in a parent/teacher setting?
There are parent-teacher conferences held twice a year. At these meetings, your child's teacher will provide a detailed report of his or her progress. If you have a concern or question in the meantime, you are encouraged to contact your child's teacher, or the director. They will gladly arrange a private time to speak with you.
How does DMS communicate with families?
The Datzyk website and Facebook page always have up-to-date information about daily happenings, and upcoming events. Pictures are also posted on the sites, and Mrs. Turrisi consistently keeps parents updated via email. To confirm whether DMS has a weather-related school closing or delay, please refer to the local news station, or check the WFMZ website.
What are the drop-off and pick-up procedures?
Drop-offs begin at 8:50 AM. We ask that your child is dropped off no later than 9:00 AM, as the teachers like to begin promptly at 9:00 AM, and disruptions affect the classroom schedule. We ask that you stay in your car. The parent volunteer will guide your child in the right direction. Pick-ups are at 12:00 PM for the morning session (half day), and 3:00 PM for the full day session. When entering the school's driveway, please wait in the line of cars until the teacher escorts your child to you. At that point, you may secure your child in his or her proper car seat.