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Admission » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world. It is a view of the child as one, who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared, learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.” American Montessori Society
Our Montessori programs adhere to multi-age classrooms, grouping children from 18 months to three years together in the toddler program, and children three years to Kindergarten together in the primary program. Our classrooms are rich in Montessori materials and drenched in natural light.  Classrooms are prepared to encourage independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. The child, through their own choice of work, travels through the curriculum at their own pace and in their own way. The teacher guides and nurtures the child along their journey.
In 1979, Lee Havens established the International Montessori Society (IMS) to develop and communicate insights and discoveries made from observations of children and adults in the field of Montessori teaching.  IMS Montessori teaching is unique in the field, since it follows laws of nature. This commitment to laws of nature is what brings about the child’s true nature, whereas types committed to personality or culture do not.  Please visit the IMS website for more information on this organization.
In the Montessori work cycle a child independently chooses a work of interest based on the lessons they have received. The student will designate their workspace with an underlay or rug and will focus on their work for a length of time. Once they completed that specific work, the student will put the work back where it belongs, roll up the rug or underlay and clean up the work area.
 
We aim for a two hour uninterrupted work period for toddlers and a three hour work period for primary students.
The Teachers will begin with a lesson that has a simple sequence. As the child shows the ability to recall each step of the sequence independently, the Teacher will progress to a lesson on a Montessori material that has a slightly longer sequence.
 
The student's progress is tracked on an online system called Montessori Compass. We track when we present the lesson, when we see the child practicing the lesson and finally when the student has mastered the lesson. Our parents receive a daily report from Montessori Compass of the student's lessons for that day.
The Mother's Day Out and Toddler programs both serve children from 18 months to three years of age.  The Toddler program is a full-time program and the student attends school five days per week.  The Mother's Day Out program is a part-time program and the student attends either two or three days per week . Both programs provide a wonderful Montessori foundation for the student and prepare the child to transition into the primary program.
St. James uses a blend of Love and Logic and Positive Discipline, which employs redirection and problem solving with the child.  The teachers strive to identify a situation before it can escalate. Some examples of redirection and problem solving are as follows:
  • A child stands on a chair; we would kindly say “Our chairs are for sitting in, would you like to stand on a balancing stone?”
  • A child is crying because the material they want to work with is being used; we might say “I see you are sad/angry, can you tell me why? If they are non-verbal we would state instead “It looks as though you are sad because you would like to work on this material, is that correct?”
St. James provides a morning snack for the Toddler and Mother's Day Out students.  An afternoon snack is also offered to any student that attends the After School Care program.  The primary students take turns providing a healthy snack for their classroom.  The student assists the parent in creating the snack menu for the week, shopping for the items, and serving the items to their fellow classmates.  The students take great pride in selecting snack items to enjoy with their friends.  Lunch is not provided by St. James for the children.  Parents are asked to send nutritional food in proportions that are appropriate for their child. As a convenience to our families, St. James does offer Pizza Fridays. It is a great hit with both the students and the parents. 
The Toddler and Mother's Day Out teachers assess each child’s readiness for potty learning by looking for signs that the child is becoming aware of his/her needs.  The teacher then partners with the family to begin working with the child towards diaper freedom.  For more detailed information on potty learning and our methods please watch our presentation on Toddler Education - Toddler Learning.
 
All primary students are required to be potty trained prior to entering the program.
For the full-time primary and toddler programs, families can elect to have their child attend a mix of full and half days.  For example, a student may attend full day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and only half day on Tuesday and Thursday.  The half day students are dismissed at 11:45am and full day students at 3:15pm.  The business office can provide information on the specific tuition for these mixed programs.  However, we request that families establish a consistent schedule without weekly variation. 
Mother's Day Out and toddler students enjoy 45 minutes each morning of outside play time.  All primary students have 30 minutes of outside play time in the morning.  The Primary students that do not nap (students 4 1/2 and older) also have an additional 30 minutes of outside play time in the afternoon. 
Children enrolled in the After School Care program play outside for 30 minutes.   
St. James offers yoga and art once a week for all primary students that do not nap (students 4 1/2 and above).  The Kindergarten students also attend technology and chapel lessons on a weekly basis and also participate in a monthly science lab. 
St. James offers an After School Care program from 3:30pm to 6:00pm.  Students remain in their classroom and engage in activities lead by the After School Care teachers.  Students are offered an afternoon snack and provided additional outdoor play time (weather permitting).   See the Tuition and Fees schedule for pricing for the program. 
St. James graduates attend a mix of public and private schools in the area with approximately 60% transitioning to their local public school.  Historically students have attended Lake Highlands Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, St. Thomas Aquinas, White Rock Elementary and many others. 
St. James follows a traditional school calendar with classes from August through May, with no summer program.  Families of primary students have been successful in finding summer camps (e.g. Kidventure, Arboretum, etc.) for their child.  Families often coordinate their schedules so that their child can attend with a fellow St. James friend.
 
Families with toddler students have often worked together to share child care responsibilities over the summer months (e.g. nanny share). 
Each teacher receives a minimum of 24 hours of professional education each year.  St. James makes it a priority to invest in the development of our teachers.  Teachers receive continual education in various areas of focus including classroom management, child development, and Montessori curriculum.  
The St. James application fee is $100 per student.
St. James follows a policy of need-blind admissions so a family’s ability to pay does not play a role in the admissions decision. While the availability of school resources, the number of qualified applicants, and overall budgetary constraints influence financial assistance decisions, St. James is committed to making awards available to as many eligible applicants as possible.
 
St. James utilizes the online service of Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) to process applications. FAST is owned by Independent School Management (ISM), one of the leading management-support firms for private-independent schools in the United States and abroad.  FAST does not decide whether financial assistance will be given or how much to give; rather FAST provides a need-based financial aid analysis service which includes a recommendation of what a family should contribute toward tuition.
St. James offers families the following three payment plan options:
  • Monthly Payment Plan - payments July through April
  • Semester Payment Plan - July and December
  • Annual Payment Plan - July
 
Please see the Tuition and Fees Schedule for detailed information on the pricing for each program. 
After you have attended a virtual tour event, we invite you to apply for your program of interest.  Upon completion of the current student re-enrollment period in January, we will begin inviting applicants to enroll for open positions for the following school year.  Enrollment decisions are typically communicated in late February, early March. 
 
Admission priority is given to siblings of students currently enrolled at St. James, St. James Church families, and staff children.  In compliance with federal and state laws, St. James Episcopal School of Dallas does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid program, athletic and other school-administered programs, or the employment of staff.