Parent Resources – South Walton Montessori Academy
Our non-profit school is designed to nurture the development of the whole child through creative discovery an interaction with teachers, peers, and materials. We believe in preparing an enthusiastic environment that will nurture the growing child. Our curriculum fosters intellectual, physical, social and emotional development and prepares our children to be global citizens.
We are guided by the standards set forth by the American Montessori Society (amshq.org) and licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. All of our staff have been background screened through the state of Florida. 9 out of 11 of our staff members have their Montessori Certification. All of our staff members are CPR and 1st Aid Certified for infants and adults.
Our kids LOVE SWMA. Joy in learning is alive and well here. Many parents remark that there is a new “light” in their children’s eyes once they attend SWMA.
Our Multi-Age classrooms create a strong sense of community. Our students have the opportunity to be “youngers” and “elders”. Younger students look up to the elders and learn classroom norms and behaviors from them, as well as receive coaching from them at times. Elders exercise leadership and love getting to be the leaders. In most cases, teachers have the students for 3 years and get to know them extremely well, enabling them to respond to each child’s individual needs and abilities.
Multi age classrooms enable children to work at their own individual pace not guided by their numerical age. This fluidity enables teachers to differentiate instruction by responding to each child’s needs, regardless of his or her age. High performing elders are given extended learning opportunities along with helping to “teach” the youngers, which research shows is one of the most beneficial ways a student can learn.
We are child-centered, which means that each child’s needs come first. We also truly attend to the whole child, with a strong social-emotional program (Positive Discipline) as well as strong academics.
We teach students to be thinkers and inquirers. Our students learn to ask questions, solve real problems and engage with the world authentically. They do not spend all of their time listening to an adult lecture and performing rote paper and pencil exercises.
We assess students as people, not as numbers or grades. Our narrative reports demonstrate our teachers’ depth of knowledge about each child. They conduct conferences with children and give them direct feedback in an ongoing manner, not as a grade at the end of an experience. In Lower Elementary and above, students are involved in their own parent-teacher conferences. In Middle School, students do receive more traditional grades in preparation for high school.
Financial Aid Assistance
Click here ONLY if you have been given instructions by SWMA to begin the financial assistance application process.
Mosquito Bite Protection
South Walton Montessori Academy proudly teams with The Mosquito Authority to protect the students from mosquito bites. The misting system was installed along the perimeter of the school and is set on automatic timers to spray throughout the night and an hour before the children arrive for the morning carpool. The product we use is Essentria IC3 which has been proven to be the safest and effective product on the market. It is non-toxic and consists of Rosemary and Peppermint oil.
For more information about this product or misting systems in general, please call Bradford Kindergan at 850-533-0331 or go to http://www.BugsBite.com or http://youtu.be/KDhUoqMrQ0I.
South Walton Montessori Academy students wear school uniforms during the school year. Uniforms allow for a less distracting environment and for children to experience Montessori’s holistic learning.
We accept gently used uniform shirts only all throughout the year. At the meet and greet in August, all of the uniform shirts we have collected will be available at no cost on a first come first serve basis. (We will not accept pants or skirts.)
How Does the Financial Assistance Process Work at SWMA?
Over a third of our families at SWMA receive a form of Financial Assistance. We firmly believe in offering assistance in order to make this unique and effective educational opportunity available to as many families as possible and to encourage cultural, geographic, and financial diversity among our families.
A sub committee of our Board of Trustees is responsible for awarding the assistance. It is based on need and differs every year depending on the number of families that apply.
The first step is to set up a tour of the school. Should you choose to apply, your next step is to send in the application, along with a non-refundable $150 application fee. This fee is a credit toward your tuition, if you enroll. You will indicate on the application that you would like to apply for financial assistance. Upon receipt of the application, we will call you to set up an interview. The interview is with the parent(s) and the Lead Teacher in the classroom, as well as the Head of School. This is a brief meeting where we explain to you what we are doing as an authentic Montessori school, so you can decide if it is a good fit for your family. It is also a time for us to learn more about your child. If space is available and we both believe that Montessori is the right fit for your family, we will offer you a contract.
We ask for a refundable $1500 deposit at this time. The contract states that if we can come up with a number that works for both of us, that you will commit to staying enrolled for the entire school year.
At this point, we will instruct you to go online to apply using a company called FAST. There is a non-refundable $38 fee that you will pay directly to FAST to process your application. You will be required to send FAST a copy of your most recent tax return. FAST does not make the decision, but they analyze your financial situation and turn your application into an anonymous candidate that we present to the Financial Assistance Committee. You will indicate how much you think you can afford to pay monthly on the application. The committee will review your request and will try to get as close to your requested amount as possible, assuming that you qualify. The decision is based on need, how many families apply, and how much money we have to give. Hopefully, we can come up with a number that works for both of us. You would have monthly payments over a 10-month period, (July-April). A promissory note would be signed and would serve as an addendum to your contract. If we are unable to meet your financial needs, you would not be able to retrieve the $150 application fee or the $38 fee paid to FAST, but the $1500 would be refunded.
If you have questions about this process, please feel free to contact Beth Brock at 850-231-5955.