Santa Cruz Montessori - Tours

Tours available at your convenience by appointment. Phone: 831-476-1646 or email kathyr@scms.org

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Frequently Asked Questions

About the school photos Group

“We came for the arts. We stayed for the academics.”—SCM Parent

What is Montessori education in a nutshell?

Montessori education respects each child as unique and unrepeatable. Our classrooms are beautiful, engaging and organized to arouse a child's natural curiosity to learn. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own pace and according to their own choices of activities and materials. Learning at Montessori is a process of discovery and leads to concentration, motivation, self discipline, and a lifelong love of learning. Montessori schools are not religious or part of a franchise. Each Montessori school is independent. Santa Cruz Montessori is a non profit organization that operates in the public interest.

Why are there multi-age classrooms?

Montessori classes place children in three year age groupings. These classroom communities allow older children to share their knowledge with the younger ones. Children are challenged according to their personal ability and are never bored. Younger children observe the older ones and have the opportunity to learn class leadership before they themselves are asked to be leaders. Older students learn to care for their younger classmates and experience the joy of teaching others.

What are our student to teacher ratios?

Our teacher to student ratios exceed all state requirements. In our 18 month - 3 year classes there is a 4 to 1 student teacher ratio. In our 3 year to 6 year classes there is a 9 to 1 student teacher ratio. In our 6 year to 12 year classes there is a 15 to 1 student teacher ratio. In our Jr. High program there is an 8 to 1 student teacher ratio.

Do we have a full curriculum with art and music?

Yes, SCM has art and music at all class levels. Often Montessori art and music materials are interwoven into the children's studies in other areas. We have bilingual (English/Spanish) assistants in all our YCC and Primary classes, and we offer world language from age 6 through 15. All SCM students participate in camping trips each year from the age of 6. All of our students ages 6 to 15 participate in drama culminating in plays. In addition, our Jr. High students study poetry and stage a poetry night each year.

Why is SCM tuition higher than some of the other private schools in the area?

Nearly 80% of a private school's expenses cover its teachers and support staff. The tuition rate of a private school reflects how the school values its professional staff. Santa Cruz Montessori is a rare private school that has made a commitment to pay its teachers at the same rate as local public schools. Public school teachers are unionized and traditionally have higher salaries than private school teachers. Put simply, our tuition is higher than other area schools because we value our teachers. In return our teachers create lifelong careers here. On average, our teachers have 19 years of service here at SCM.

How does our financial aid program work?

Two out of every five students attend SCM for less than comparable local private schools. This is the result of our robust financial aid program. Financial aid is available for students in all but our most impacted programs. Financial aid application information is available in the school office. Parents complete applications on-line that are sent to a financial aid service that reviews each applicant's financial status and makes recommendations to the school for financial aid awards. The entire process is anonymous. SCM teachers and Board of Trustees do not know which students or families receive financial aid.

Is Montessori a good fit for all children?

Montessori classes are designed to help all children reach their full potential at their own unique pace. Classrooms have children with varying abilities and different learning styles. The students learn from one another and every student has a unique way of contributing. However. there are some children who might benefit from a more structured classroom. When this is the case, our school recommends to parents that the student be given a school environment that better fits their particular learning style.

How do our students do when they leave Montessori?

Research shows that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically and socially. Our Jr. High graduates are admitted to the most rigorous high schools on the central coast. A 15 year review of Santa Cruz county high school valedictorians shows that SCM graduates are chosen as their school valedictorian at a rate 15 times greater than their numbers in the county high school population.