What makes SBMS a good choice for today’s families?

SBMS provides a unique program that educates children for life—preparing them socially, personally, and intellectually for a changing world and its challenges.

 Is there a wait list?

Yes. Completing all of the steps in the admissions process and turning in your application by the priority deadline are necessary for consideration.

How does SBMS’s curriculum compare to that of public schools?

Santa Barbara Montessori School not only covers the standard, state-required curriculum, but also provides children with the tools and opportunities to learn much, much more. At SBMS, the children have limitless opportunities to learn how the universe and its components work, and are encouraged to explore in great depth and breadth topics of interest to them. Additionally, the SBMS experience focuses on the development of the whole child in addition to a solid academic foundation, the children develop important attributes such as a love of learning, independence and responsibility, collaborative skills, grace and courtesy, confidence, and the knowledge that they can contribute meaningfully to society.

How do children participate in SBMS’s gardens, play areas, and grassy field?

Small groups of children or the whole class, participate daily in the outdoor environment beyond the classroom, such as the school garden, grassy field, play areas, game equipment, etc. The garden offers opportunities to plant, harvest, and watch birds. Our entire outdoor environment offers opportunities for natural movement. Our aim is also to enable the children to develop a sense of stewardship for the school’s environment.

What physical activity and team sports does SBMS provide?

Each day, Full-Day Primary children and Elementary children move, play, and exercise outdoors. Additionally, Full-Day Primary children have formal Physical Education class weekly and Elementary children have Physical Education three times per week (one time is optional). The goal is to promote healthy physical habits and to teach basic rules of games and sportsmanship. Note that while we do not have a 15 minute recess break like many traditional schools, the children spend their entire day moving around their classrooms, the garden, and our outdoor environments. They are not confined to desks.

Does SBMS focus only on academics?

No. Montessori philosophy supports following the child, allowing each child to develop at his/her own pace. Stories of Montessori children being far ahead of their peers do not reflect an artificial acceleration; it reflects a possibility when children are allowed to follow their interests in an environment that is especially prepared to allow for their maximum development.

Is SBMS good for children with learning gifts?

Yes, children with learning gifts thrive in a Montessori classroom. There are no curriculum limits either by grade level or content. A Montessori child can take learning as far as he/she is capable. Each classroom has an extensive curriculum which includes advanced work possibilities. Additionally, no child is limited by classroom contents as we maintain an active “Going Out” program where additional needs can be met in our greater community. Children with learning gifts also gain other essential attributes in a Montessori setting because our program incorporates more than just academics. Our mission is for these children to also reach their fullest potential socially and personally (physically, creatively, and emotionally.)

How does SBMS handle children with learning challenges?

SBMS supports children with different learning styles and timelines. Children with learning challenges will proceed without loss in self-esteem. There are no grades and no stigma. If a learning challenge is indicated, SBMS will refer families to outside testing and/or services.

Why is the student/teacher ratio different than in a traditional classroom?

The ideal size is one teacher and one assistant per 30 to 35 children (25-30 in the primary.) This model is highly successful and allows for the greatest intellectual, personal, and social development of each child for several reasons. First, because the teacher observes how each child understands, thus, the children have the benefits of small, traditional classrooms. Second, learning has energy in a large Montessori classroom because the children are excited and stimulated by the many projects they can observe. Third, this environment fosters independence and interdependence among the children. The children gain immense skills and tools through the continuous interaction with the many different types of social situations and the mixed age group that occur in this dynamic classroom community. A large classroom offers all the learning benefits of a small traditional classroom plus many more intellectual, personal, and social opportunities.

What does the classroom assistant do?

Each classroom has at least one assistant who supports the class teacher in reaching her goal of providing an environment where each child can develop to her/his fullest potential. Assistants observe, overview the class, and help with preparing and maintaining the classroom environment. Additionally, assistants often support the Elementary children on their many Going Out trips. Assistants do not give lessons to the children; they provide support for the teacher.