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Montessori Programs | Observe a Class

Frequently Asked Questions

Montessori School Student

Montessori Teachers Student

Jump to:
» Class Structure
» Observations and Open Houses
» Montessori Philosophy
» Scheduling and Enrollment
» Lower Elementary Program
» Before and After Care
» Financial
» Nutrition
» Enrichment Programs
» After-School Classes
» My Child's Teacher
» In the Classroom
» Napping
» Illness and Emergency Planning

Class Structure

What is the ratio of children to teachers in your classes?
The ratio can vary based on the age of your child and what assistance the head teacher feels is necessary. In general, the maximum ratio for Toddlers (18 months–2.5 years) is 1:6. However, depending on toileting needs and other factors, it may be as low as 1:3. The Prep program (for children 2–3.5 years old) has a maximum ratio of 1:8, but it can be as low as 1:5—again depending on toileting needs and what the head teacher feels is appropriate. For the Primary and TK/Kindergarten children (3–6 years), the maximum ratio is 1:12. It may be as low as 1:8 depending on class needs. For Elementary (where available) the ratio will be a maximum of 1:10 but could be as low at 1:6 for small group work.  Fountainhead provides floater staff members who work in any class that needs additional support on a given day.

What is the maximum group size?
The Toddler program's maximum group size is 12. The Prep program's maximum group size is 16. The Primary program's maximum group size is 24 or 30, depending on location and the physical size of the classroom. The TK/Kindergarten maximum class size is 24.  Our Elementary program's maximum group size is 20.

What is a nonprofit organization? Why is this important?
Fountainhead was formed as a nonprofit organization so that money brought into the organization goes directly to the classrooms and teachers. At Fountainhead, we provide quality care at a reasonable price.

Why is childcare licensing important?
Community Care Licensing is a division of the California Department of Social Services. They set the regulations and requirements for all licensed childcare providers. Our license assures parents that we comply with all the applicable rules and regulations.

Observations and Open Houses

Does Fountainhead offer open houses? How can I observe the program?
We encourage families to observe our programs and spend time on campus. You may call the campus directly to set up a time to observe. When you observe, please feel free to bring your child or come by yourself. Some parents prefer to come by themselves to take a look at the campus. Of course if you like the program, please come back with your child. Others feel that it helps to bring their child initially to see his or her response to the program. Either way, we encourage you to spend some time on campus and see what our programs can offer your family. Some families stay for 15 minutes; some stay for hours. The choice is yours!

I have seen other Montessori schools and have not cared for them. What makes Fountainhead Montessori different?
All Montessori schools are privately owned and operated. If you have not observed Fountainhead, please schedule an observation. It is a great opportunity to see the options and expertise Fountainhead brings to you and your child.

For more information on what makes Fountainhead Montessori different from others, click here.

Montessori Philosophy

What is the Montessori philosophy?
Montessori encourages and supports children to reach their full potential in a challenging prepared environment. Children are allowed to enjoy the process of learning, which satisfies their intellect, self-esteem, and social needs. Montessori is self-directed learning.  With such a philosophy, Montessori children enjoy learning and actively engage in the process as well.

Montessori works by allowing children to work at their own pace, with the teacher introducing new materials and challenging subject matter. The multiyear span in the classes allows family-like learning to propagate and flourish in a caring and challenging environment.

To learn more about the Montessori philosophy, click here.

How will I know if Montessori is right for my child?
Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. We have an an entire page dedicated to this subject. For more details, click here.

I hear Montessori is highly structured. How would you define the Montessori Method in terms of class structure?
There is a structure to the materials offered and the continuum of these choices. This lets the child and the adult simplify or escalate the subject matter for the child. Each activity is analyzed for clarification of concepts and success. This type of arrangement is freeing and contributes to the tranquility of the room. You can expect to hear a busy hum that is not punctuated by loud voices.

I have heard that Montessori does not allow for art or imaginative play. Is this true?
Art and imaginative play are an essential part of Fountainhead’s curriculum at every age level.  We have found pretend play helps young children combine spoken language with imagination, to imitate, and to pretend to be someone or something else. It also encourages expressive language and furthers the understanding of symbols. For example, a doll becomes a symbol for a baby, slip of paper may become money, etc. Opportunities to create and use symbols help children to utilize other symbols, like letters and numbers. Pretend play allows children to differentiate between real and pretend. This is readily apparent when observing children using exaggerated voices to signal that they are playing their role.

Scheduling and Enrollment

What schedule can I choose?
Depending on the age of your child and campus, you may enroll for two to five half days (9 a.m.–12 noon, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., or 1–4 p.m.) per week. Full-time and custom schedules are also available. We recommend children four and older attend five days per week in preparation for Kindergarten. Please note that you may pick any schedule. For example, if you need a Monday/Tuesday/Friday schedule, we can accommodate depending on class availability. You may also use childcare on a very flexible basis.

If a class is full, can I get on a wait list?
Yes. Please call the office and ask to be placed on the wait list. The wait list is on a first-come, first-served basis. As soon as space becomes available, the office staff will contact you with more information. Please note that parents currently enrolled receive priority status for wait-list openings.

Lower Elementary Program

What features of your Elementary program are unique?
At Fountainhead we have been offering the love of learning since 1972.  We offer a full-day Transitional Kindergarten  for children ages 5-7 and a 1st - 3rd Grade program for children ages 6-9 with optional care from 7am-6:30pm.  Each year we will offer new grades through 6th Grade.  The program features your choice of Spanish or Mandarin Language immersion classes, Art, Science, Music, Garden (Botany and Zoology), and Physical Education.

I have heard that Montessori is not academic.  Will my child be challenged?
Montessori programs are filled with actual hands-on and engaging learning.  Your child will be challenged to their ability and beyond.  Our goal for each child at a minimum, is moving ahead of grade level in as many subjects as possible. It is very common for students to be working at advanced or varying levels depending on the subject matter. We will individualize your students academics to meet their advanced needs.

My child works well beyond grade level and it is hard to challenge him/her.  How would you meet their needs?
Our program is wonderful for all children but for children working beyond grade level it can be very helpful. Multi-age grouping will allow him/her to be stimulated but will keep them with age-appropriate peers. It is also very common to have children working at different levels in different subjects, i.e. your child may be at first grade level for some subjects, second grade level for math, etc.  Children working beyond grade level typically move more quickly through the material. The beauty of Montessori is we can present that child with other materials as they master new concepts.

How will my child transition to middle school?  Do children coming out of a Montessori program have any difficulty going to public or another private school?
While all children respond to transitions differently, the simple answer is that your child will transfer very well. From the earliest ages, we focus on helping children develop a high degree of self-motivation, coping skills for dealing with new situations, time management skills, a strong sense of respect, responsibility, and independence.  But most of all your child has learned how to learn which will serve him or her in any middle school and beyond.  All these are skills that will serve them well in any school setting.

Most parents’ concerns are focused on two primary areas: academics and socialization. The main challenge we have seen is children are working beyond grade level when they leave Fountainhead.  However, this allows the child to have a strong academic base as they transition to middle school. Most have said their children adapted well to their new setting fairly quickly, making new friends, and succeeding within the definition of success understood in their new school. For research on this subject click here.

Do I need to attend Fountainhead's Pre-School program to attend its Elementary program?
All children applying for our Elementary program will be assessed for entry.  Your assessment fee is applied to your tuition should you be accepted.  The assessment fee is for the one-on-one time to place your child.  For those not ready for Lower Elementary we also offer an additional  part-time and full-day Kindergarten program.

How is Elementary Tuition Charged?
Your Elementary Tuition is billed by the month, Semester, or year.  Upon acceptance you will need to pay one month's tuition to reserve your placement.  Please note this is not refundable.  Also, for the Elementary program there is no 30 day notice to withdraw.  Once you are enrolled for the school year you must pay through the end of the school year.  Your before and after care is billed to the minute at the end of the month.

Do you offer financial aid?
No, we do not currently offer financial aid for any of our programs.  We do offer tuition payment by the month for added flexibility.

What are the Elementary teacher to child ratio?
Our Elementary program will run a ratio of 1:5 to 1:10 depending on the time of day and current activity.  Group Reading, Spanish or Mandarin Language Immersion, and P.E. are in smaller groups.

What is your Elementary homework policy?
Formal homework in the Elementary program is optional.  That said we do require a nightly reading log and weekly spelling log.  At the Back to School Night you will be given a form to elect how you would like your child to do homework.  This is another way we give you and your family added flexibility.

Before and After Care


What will my child do in childcare?
Fountainhead treats childcare like any other classroom. Childcare has its own head teacher and planned activities. Childcare will include children from mixed age groups. Children will also be coming and going from the environment.

The childcare head teacher posts activities at the beginning of each week. Childcare is an enriching extension to class time. It works in conjunction with the Montessori Method. The childcare head teacher will do circle time and present activities, cooking, music, and outdoor activities.

Do I have to use childcare?
No. Childcare is an optional program. You may use it on an occasional basis, not at all, or on a regular basis.

What if I am late picking up my child?
If your child is scheduled to be picked up at 12 noon and you are more than 10 minutes late, your child will be clocked into childcare. You will be billed at the end of the month for any childcare you use.

Our campus is open from 7 a.m. to 6 or 6:30 p.m. (depending on location). All children are to be picked up by 6 or 6:30 p.m. If you are unable to pick up your child by 6 or 6:30 p.m, please call the campus directly to let them know you will be late. You will be billed a late fee of $15 for every 10 minutes. If you pick up your child after 6 or 6:30pm three or more times per year, the late fees will double.  If you pick up your child after we are closed six or more times per year, the late fees will triple.

Do I have to use childcare?
No. Childcare is an optional program. You may use it on an occasional basis, not at all, or on a regular basis.

Do you apply sunscreen at school?
We request you send your child with sunscreen already applied. Per Fountainhead’s policy, staff members reapply sunscreen twice a day (after lunch and later in the day, after 3 pm). If your child has a preferred sunscreen, please send it to school with your child. Please note this sunscreen must stay at school and be labeled with your child’s name.

What are Discovery Camps? How do they differ from a childcare only day or class day?
Fountainhead is proud to offer Discovery Camps 4 weeks out of each year. These specialized, age appropriate camps are available for one week at the end of Summer session, Winter Break, Spring Break, and the end of the year before Summer School starts. These camps feature full day and half day options and will include on-site field trips, low teacher/student ratios, and before and after care options from 7am-6:30pm. Parents love the added structure and enrichment options during these special weeks. Any before and after care used on these days applies to your max or hourly childcare rate depending on how much childcare you use in the month. Please keep in mind that just like childcare only days you must sign up in advance so we can plan for your camper to join us.

Signups for Discovery Camp are via email only. Please keep an eye on your inbox to sign up.

To learn more, visit our Discovery Camps page.

Sample Schedule of Discovery Camp:

7:00-9:00am: Childcare (if applicable)
9:00am: Campfire Circle
9:20-11:45am: Camp activities based on daily/weekly themes
11:45 am-12:00pm: Camp wrap up/pick up
12:00-1:00pm: Chowtime/Outside play
1:00-2:45pm: Continuing Camp Activities (nap if applicable)
2:45-3:00pm: Campfire Circle/pick up
3:00-6:00/6:30pm: Childcare (if applicable)


What is a billing installment? Why not bill on a monthly basis?
Fountainhead bills on an installment system. This ensures that we only bill families for the time their children are in class. We take the 216-day school year and break it into 12 equal installments. An installment is 18 school days. For example, in December there are two weeks of childcare-only days, and we wouldn’t want to bill parents for time when the actual class is not in session. If we billed based on the calendar month, we would overbill parents for those months that have holidays or breaks.

Why do I need to give 30 days' notice to withdraw, even if I have a family emergency?
At Fountainhead we understand that there are situations beyond a parent’s control. However, we require 30 days' written notice for withdrawal. We do this because of the expenses we incur due to our full expectation that your child will continue in the program.

Are there application, materials, or registration fees or other hidden costs?
No. Fountainhead does not charge any application, materials, compulsory fund-raising, or registration fees. You only pay for actual class or childcare time.

Why am I billed one month ahead for tuition?
Fountainhead is reserving space for your child. We therefore ask that you pay your tuition one month in advance. We bill one month ahead for tuition and one month behind on any childcare. We do not know how much (if any) childcare you have used until the end of the month.

Can I pay tuition by credit card?
No, but we can accept payment over the phone via your checking account.

Can I do makeup days?
We do not offer makeup days. Once your child is enrolled, we have reserved that place. We have staffed for your child’s attendance and/or turned away other families for that placement, even if your child is not able to attend. We ask that you carefully choose your schedule to maximize your child’s attendance and get the most out of our program.

Will I receive a bill each month?
If you have elected to pay your bill on a monthly basis, you will receive an invoice. Invoices are emailed the first week of each month. Payment is by due by the 15th and considered late after the 18th. Late fees of 2 percent will apply if payments are received after the 18th of each month. If you have elected to use electronic debit, you will receive an emailed bill marked “for your information only." This is for your records, and your payment is automatically transacted on the 15th. If the 15th of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, it will be transacted on the following business day.

Is any part of my tuition tax deductible?
You may be eligible for tax benefits to help pay for your child's education by reducing the income taxes you pay.  For specific guidance, please contact a tax professional.

A tax credit is even more valuable to families than a tax deduction. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes owed. Under current federal law, eligible families can claim tax credits up to:

$6,000 from the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (up to $3,000 for each of your first two children—the exact amount depends on your income and actual childcare expenses); $1,000 per child from the federal Child Tax Credit; and $4,824 from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

Detailed information on federal tax credits for parents is available from the Internal Revenue Service at 800-TAX-1040.

Do you bill childcare by the hour?
Yes. We offer hourly childcare, billed to the minute, both before and after your child’s class time. Childcare can be used on a regular or occasional basis. Please note, we need 24 hours' notice in order to accommodate your occasional childcare needs. At the end of the month, we calculate the childcare used by your child and bill you accordingly. The hourly childcare rates can be found on our rate sheets.

Do you offer scholarships?
No. As a nonprofit organization, we are unable to offer scholarships.

Can I get a refund for days my child is sick, or we go on holiday?
No. We do not allow any "makeup days" or refunds for class time missed for any reason. We do this to ensure your child’s placement in class. If you would like, you may withdraw from our program while you are on holiday, and sign up again upon your return. However, we can not guarantee availability.

When can I withdraw without a penalty?
You can withdraw from our monthly program without penalty by giving 30 days' written notice prior to May 1st of each year. After May 1st, tuition is billed through mid-August when our school year ends. If Fountainhead is unable to accept your child, there is also no withdrawal penalty.

Can I prepay tuition at a discount?
Yes. Fountainhead offers a discount for prepayment of a 6-month semester and yearly tuition: $250 (five-day attendance) or $100 (two-, three-, and four-day attendance) for prepayment of the year’s tuition. Payment for the semester garners a discount of $80 (five-day attendance) and $30 (two-, three-, and four-day attendance).

Will you prorate my tuition if I am joining midyear?
Yes. We are happy to prorate your tuition if you are joining us midyear.

If I decide to attend another Fountainhead Montessori campus, can I transfer?
Yes. If you are enrolled at one Fountainhead campus, you are welcome to transfer your enrollment to another Fountainhead Montessori campus.

Why is my first installment for the school year nonrefundable?
The first installment is used to reserve your child’s place in the classroom. It also enables us to contract with our teachers for the school year. By prepaying for the first month, you are holding that placement for your child. Your payment will be applied directly to your child's tuition in the Fall.


My child has food allergies. How can you ensure his/her safety?
Unfortunately many children have food allergies. At Fountainhead we can limit the foods in a particular environment and/or offer alternative foods to your child. We also wipe down the tables and chairs on a daily basis in all classrooms. This ensures that no food residue is left on any furniture or equipment. In the case of extreme food allergies, we ask that you bring food from home to ensure your child’s safety. All allergies must be brought to the attention of the administration and your child’s teacher. Please list all allergies on the emergency card. Notify your child’s teacher of any changes to your child’s health or allergy situation.

For more information on why we are not a nut free school click here.

Do you provide snacks and drinks to my child?
Yes. Fountainhead provides a morning and afternoon snack to our children. We serve fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grain snacks, and other seasonal foods available to our children. You do not need to provide food and drinks from home unless your child will be joining us for breakfast or lunch. If your child has any dietary restrictions, let us know immediately. We make a point of sending home any uneaten food so you know what your child has eaten for the day.

Does Fountainhead provide lunch?
Yes, Fountainhead provides up to 12 lunch options every day at our Dublin campus.  We do not provide hot lunch service at other campuses.  To learn more about or sign up for our hot lunch service that provides nutritious and fresh meals please click here.

Included Enrichment Programs

Does Fountainhead offer extracurricular activities like gymnastics, music, or ballet?
Yes. Fountainhead offers movement and science classes among other subjects. These programs are part of our tuition. Your child may participate in these programs at no additional cost. If you want to take advantage of these programs, please be sure to enroll your child on days we have our music and movement programs.

What other enrichment programs do you offer?
Fountainhead offers InsectMobile, ZooMobile, and science programs that come to the campus once each year. There is no added cost for these programs. It is yet another way we add value and strengthen our program.

Third-Party After-School Classes

At some campuses we offer Spanish, science, or other after-school classes. These are classes that are held at our school. However, the parent signs up with a third-party instructor to participate. If you elect to have your child join any of these programs, your child can stay in childcare (standard childcare fees apply) until the class starts.  He or she will then be taken from childcare by the third-party teacher and brought to that campus classroom. While in the after-school class you will not be billed childcare fees.  After the class is finished, you may pick up your child or he or she will be brought back to childcare where you can pick him or her up at your convenience.

For more information on our after-school enrichment classes, click here.

My Child’s Teacher

What education do your teachers have?
Many teachers have bachelor's degrees. Some teachers have master's degrees and even PhDs. All Primary through Elementary teachers have Montessori Credentials. They also have the required units for California State Licensing.

What is the tenure of Fountainhead teachers? Is there a high turnover rate?
Fountainhead has many teachers who have been employed here for over 10 years. Other teachers have been with us for over 20 years. We are fortunate to have a tenured staff and low turnover rates.

What is the difference between an assistant and head teacher?
Head teachers are always Montessori educated. They are ultimately responsible for observations of the children in their class. They develop and maintain the learning environment, which promotes the wonder and joy of learning. The assistant supports the teacher in all areas from observations and supervision to maintenance of the environment. Because Fountainhead offers a Montessori Training Program, many of our assistants are currently enrolled in the classes. They may be currently working on their Montessori internship, student teaching, or have already completed their Montessori training.

How are assistants trained?
Assistants are trained in many ways. Some are entirely Montessori educated. Others have alternate education. Fountainhead offers staff development workshops for new employees. We also offer an accredited Montessori Training ProgramTeacher Training. This is an opportunity for assistants to learn about the Montessori philosophy and curriculum. Assistants are also trained by their individual head teachers, their site director, and our staff development director.

How are substitute teachers selected?
Substitute teachers, as well as regular staff members, are selected through an interview process. We actually overstaff, to ensure the appropriate level of care if any teachers are unexpectedly absent. We do this to ensure consistency for your child and to ensure the level of care given by our teachers.

What are parent-teacher conferences?
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled times for parents and teachers to meet together in order to discuss the child’s development and progress. These are wonderful, uninterrupted opportunities for parents and teachers to review, discuss, and plan the child's academic needs.

Parent-teacher conference days are held when regular class is not in session. However, childcare is available. Fountainhead offers two parent-teacher conferences during the school year. They are scheduled during fall and spring. Please check the school calendar for the exact dates. An online sign-up form will be available for all parents to schedule a time to meet with their child’s teacher. This is an important opportunity for parents and teachers. Please be sure to sign up.

Is my child's teacher CPR certified?
California State Licensing requires at least one person on campus have first aid and CPR certification at all times. Fountainhead offers CPR workshops to its entire staff. As a result, most of the staff members are first aid and CPR certified.

What are early childhood education units, and why are they required?
Early childhood education units are classes offered at colleges or universities in the area of early childhood education and growth. A minimum of 12 units is required by California State Licensing for any teacher or assistant in the classroom.

In the Classroom

Why are children between the ages of 3 and 6 combined in one class?  How do you challenge the children in classes with mixed age groups?
Children 2 years and 10 months through 6 years of age all learn in a very specific way. They need concrete, hands-on activities that engage both the body and the mind. This is necessary, as they do not yet think abstractly. Of course, the 3-year-old and the 4- or 5-year-old are not practicing or mastering the same skills. That is why there is such a broad range of activities in the environment. In addition, the younger children learn by seeing what the older children are doing. The older children reinforce their learning by being guides to the younger children.

In addition, this allows for a great deal of beneficial socialization and positive problem solving. A safe, respectful, and well-supervised environment allows children to engage in playing, working, and just getting along with a diversified group of children. Younger children can interact with older children without being overwhelmed. Older children can exercise their nurturing skills with younger children. All of this interaction happens while each child has the opportunity to do the work that best suits his or her need for fun and challenge.

Why should my child stay in the Primary program for a second year?
By keeping your child in the Primary class for a second year, you are giving your child several important opportunities: he or she can continue to grow academically while secure in the relationship with a beloved teacher; he or she can build on the knowledge and skills he or she has already developed in a seamless, continuous way; and he or she will have the invaluable chance to be a leader in the classroom, gaining self-confidence and practice by being a model for the younger children. We learn most when we teach others.

How structured is class time?
The class generally follows a regular schedule. Children thrive on consistency. Each teacher sets her own schedule. However, for Primary and TK/Kindergarten, it usually goes something like this: First, circle time with greetings, songs, games, and demonstrations. A work period follows where children choose from a broad range of materials in the environment. Then perhaps another short circle, outside time, and a story/closure circle. Children then have lunch or leave to go home. The afternoon class follows a similar schedule.

Within the schedule, there are many opportunities for independence and personal choice. The schedule may be adapted to include special activities such as music or movement enrichment, special events, the weather, and of course the needs of the children.

How can I receive updates on what my child is doing in class?
We send out updates, reminders, and details in two ways. We will notify you by both email and on our Web-based calendar. Please make sure we have an updated email on file. Your email will not be shared with any outside party and will only be used to provide you with information on your child's program. Also, please be sure to check our calendar regularly for upcoming events, deadlines, and local events.

How will I know what my child is working on in class?
Please refer to our Parent Only Websites.  These websites are specifically for your child's class and will have detailed information on their classroom activities, projects, curriculum, and pictures of the class in action.  Please refer to our Parent Login page

Why do you encourage at least a three-half-days program?
We find that children tend to acclimate to their new school environment if they are there at least three days per week. If they are only there twice a week, it can be hard for them to get used to the school routine. Children thrive on routine, and more days at school can help foster both their physical, emotional, and academic comfort level. If you do need a two-day-a-week program, please try to pick days spread out in the week—Tuesdays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays, for example, instead of two consecutive days.

What should I bring to school?
Please refer to our required forms and materials page for more information.

Can my child bring personal toys to school?
Young children who nap may bring a small cuddly toy for nap time. This toy must fit in their nap gear bag or cubby drawer. We ask that all other toys remain at home. Popular toys can easily be lost or claimed by others. We have many activities on campus, so toys from home are not necessary.

My child is having a birthday. What may I bring, and may I attend?
We love celebrating birthdays in the classroom. The children love to share this time with their classmates. You may also attend the celebration. If you would like to take photos, check with your child’s teacher. We ask that you and your child make a healthy birthday snack choice. This means no cakes, cookies, cupcakes, or candy. Some examples of appropriate birthday snack items would be healthy muffins, fruit kabobs, cheese, and bagels with cream cheese. If you’re unsure, please consult your child’s teacher for suggestions. Of special note: NO NUTS. Many children have nut allergies. We will be unable to accept items containing nuts or nut oils. If you are bringing homemade items, please be sure to list all ingredients for the teacher.

Can children attend childcare on days they do not go to school?
Please check with the childcare head teacher or your site director to see if they can accommodate your needs. We ask that you give 24 hours' notice to occasionally add childcare to your child’s schedule.

What are childcare reservations? Why do I need them?
Upon enrollment, we ask for your specific childcare needs. It is important to know how many children will be scheduled for childcare. This ensures proper care for the children. We always want to provide enough staff to meet your childcare needs. Please try to contact the campus 24 hours before you feel you may need childcare. We may be able to accommodate your childcare needs with less notice if space is available. On days when school is not in session, we will have an online reservation form available. Please be sure to reserve space for your child accurately.

Can I drop in to visit my child unexpectedly?
Yes. Please feel free to drop by the campus. However, this can be distracting or upsetting, especially to young children. If you need to drop in, we appreciate your efforts to keep your visit brief, and of course let your child go about their day in the classroom.

Can I get other parents' addresses and other contact information?
Fountainhead provides a parent phone and email list. This is available in September of each school year on the parent-only website. To ensure the privacy of our parents, we do not provide addresses.

Do you sanitize the classrooms daily?
Yes. We wipe down the classrooms and environments on a daily basis. In addition we have professional cleaning crews each evening who further clean our classrooms. Cleanliness of our environments is a priority at Fountainhead.

Do you let people take photographs on campus?
Fountainhead only allows photographs to be taken with parents’ written permission.

Why can't I use my cellular phone on campus?
Cellular phones are an interruption and distraction, not only to our teachers but also to children’s concentration. We ask that all visitors refrain from using their cellular phones.

I would like a report of what my child does in the classroom. Do you offer report cards?
We have two regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences a year, and your head teacher is happy to meet with you or chat on the phone anytime outside class hours. Schools where children all do the same thing at the same time can give daily reports. In a Montessori school like Fountainhead, every child is choosing his or her own activities throughout the day with guidance and redirection by the teachers. Teachers observe what each individual is doing and take cumulative notes but are not able to send home daily reports. Another way to learn more about what your child is doing in class is to schedule a class-time visit or meet with your child's teacher outside of class.

My child has no homework. Don't children need homework to prepare them for Kindergarten?
We find that much of what is called homework for the prekindergarten child is busy work designed to reassure parents that children are learning. You have chosen a school that provides a broad range of academic, social, emotional, physical, and creative opportunities, and your child works very hard learning and having fun at school. We believe that home and family offer equally important experiences. The more involved your child is in the daily life of your home, balanced with a quality school experience, the more fully developed she will be as a person, and the more ready for lifelong learning. Please refer to our library of articles for more information on this topic.

Do you celebrate traditional holidays on campus?
The only holiday we celebrate on campus is your child’s birthday. We will observe the many cultures of the world while exploring seasons and other cultures. For example, at Halloween we discuss the bones of the skeleton and how the body works. During the winter months, we will talk about snowflakes, trees, and other symbols children will be seeing throughout the holidays.

Can you offer my child additional class days?
Yes. Your child may add any day provided we have availability. Please check with your child’s head teacher in advance. You will be billed for these additional “add days” at the daily rate.

Can parents help in the classroom?
Throughout the year your teacher may ask for help in the classroom. The class may be doing a special project that requires more adult input or supervision. Perhaps the class is learning something that’s of interest to you. Therefore, you can give a short talk or demonstration. We encourage parents to help children learn something about the different cultures that make up our school community. Some teachers like to invite parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and special friends to come and read stories to the children. The teacher provides guidelines on the types of literature we prefer. There may also be opportunities for parents to listen to the children practice their reading. The best way to learn more about these activities is to contact your child’s head teacher.

May I drop in to eat with my child at lunchtime?
As mentioned above, sometimes parents—especially those with busy schedules—find they have extra time and would like to drop in and see their child. You are always welcome to visit any time. However, this may create confusion for your child. To your child, when you visit his or her class, it is time for him or her to go home. Most if not all children become upset when you have to leave. Therefore, we do not recommend this. A better choice might be arriving early to pick up your child from school.

Does my child have to be toilet trained?
No. We feel that toilet training is an individual process for each child. We will encourage using the restroom throughout the day. If your child is still in diapers, we ask that you bring your brand of diapers. Children tend to be more comfortable in their own brand of diapers, as they are very sensitive to the feel and familiarity of these items. Of course we have diapers on hand, if needed. Please do not bring pull-ups, as they inhibit toilet training and cleanliness.

Do you dispense medication to children?
With written permission, a doctor’s note, and the original prescription in the original container, we can dispense medication. Please contact our administrative office for details or refer to our required forms page.

What kinds of snacks are provided?
We provide seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables, popcorn, crackers, and of course, water. We do not serve juice.  The menu for each day will be posted in your child’s classroom.

What is your policy on discipline?
Being in a class with other children and teachers, rather than parents, presents new challenges for a child. Learning to get along in certain situations is why school is important for young children. To ensure a child’s first school experience is a positive one, discipline is based on respect. To the extent that is developmentally appropriate, children are respected as independent individuals with rights to self-determination and self-direction. Such an attitude leads to a strong sense of self-esteem and dignity.

Respect for the rights of other children and adults as well as the materials in the environment are fundamental rules of conduct at Fountainhead. By defining the limits within which children may act, and by being explicit about the reasons for these limits, a child learns self-discipline and self-control.

Please visit our Policies and Procedures page for more information.

What is the check-in procedure for my child?
It is legally required that you sign your child in to school using your full signature. If you do not sign your child in with a complete signature, we will ask you to return to campus or fax in your signature. Teachers will be there to greet you. They will assist you, if necessary, as you say a quick good-bye to your child. Please update us with any information we might need while your child is in our care, such as toilet training, a sleepless night, special snacks, etc.

What do I do if I am late?
If you arrive after drop-off time, please come directly to class and sign your child in on the sign-in sheet provided. We ask that if you are late, you enter quietly and say a quick good-bye, as most classes are in circle at this time.

What is the pickup time and procedure?
Children, depending on their schedule, may be picked up between 12 noon and 12:15 p.m., 3 and 3:15 p.m., or 4 and 4:15 p.m., outside their classroom door. Please refrain from looking in through the windows, which can be very upsetting to the children, especially during those first days of school. If you are late picking up your child, a teacher will take him or her and clock him or her into childcare. A snack will be offered while he or she waits for your arrival.

Where does my child keep their personal property while at campus?
Each child has their own property drawer in each classroom.  Please check your child's property drawer each day for important communications from the school, activities from the classroom, or any personal property. If your child uses childcare you only need to check their childcare property drawer.  Please note we are not responsible for items lost or clothing that is stained or damaged at school.  Do not send your child to school with precious or irreplacable clothing or personal property.  For property that does come to school please be sure to label each item.

How does Fountainhead deal with separation anxiety?
Some children may cling or cry at drop-off time. This is their way of letting you know that you are most important. It’s also nature's way of hastening bonding between the teacher and child. It is easier for your child to begin the connection with his or her teacher if you say a quick goodbye. Please leave even though your child is crying. This can be difficult, but by leaving you are communicating to your child that you have confidence in him or her and the teacher. A positive attitude on your behalf makes this transition much easier. You are welcome to call after 9:15 a.m. or 12:15 p.m. to check on your child's progress.

Can I stay with my child to help them transition?
During the first week of school, you may come to the classroom to show your child his or her classroom and the property drawer designated for his or her use. Then, of course, give a big hug, a kiss, a smile, and say good-bye.

How will I know if my child is upset? Will I be called?
If your child cries for an extended period of time, we will contact you to coordinate a plan to help ease the transition. However, this is very uncommon and most children only have a few minutes, if any, of separation anxiety.

How do we reach the teacher?
You may phone the campus before 8:50 a.m. or after 12:15 p.m. to reach your child’s teacher. At that time, we can either make an appointment or address your situation over the phone.

I feel like my child’s teacher does not have time to talk with me at drop-off or during pickup. How can I make an appointment to meet with her?
It can be frustrating that your child’s teacher is unable to talk at length with you during drop-off or pickup. The times for drop-off and pickup are especially busy. Teachers are giving their full attention to the children. They are looking out for their safety and welfare. If you need time to talk to your child’s teacher, please contact the teacher by phone before 8:50 a.m. or after 12:15  p.m. You may also make an appointment to meet with the teacher in person. We do offer biannual parent-teacher conferences. These take place in November and May of each year. This is a great time to meet one on one. However, you are welcome to meet with your child’s teacher at any time in the year by calling to set up an appointment.

What are parent-teacher conferences?
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled times for parents and teachers to meet together in order to discuss observations of the child’s development and progress. These are wonderful, uninterrupted opportunities for parents and teachers.

Parent-teacher conference days are held when regular class is not in session. However, childcare is available. Fountainhead offers two parent-teacher conferences during the school year. They are scheduled during Fall and Spring. Please check the school calendar for the exact dates. An online sign-up form will be available for all parents to schedule a time to meet with their child’s teacher. This is an important opportunity for parents and teachers. Please be sure to sign up.

Can my child move to another class midyear? Do children move classes based on age?
At Fountainhead we know that each child is unique. Children will move classes based on physical stature and academic, social, and emotional readiness. Children can move up midyear based on feedback from parents and teaching staff and availability. Please note that placement in our TK/Kindergarten program requires that the child be four years old by July 1st for a Summer or Fall TK/Kindergarten placement. Children joining our Transitional Elementary program must be 4.9 years old by the start of the school year.  Feel free to discuss your child's progress at our parent-teacher meeting or set up a time to meet with his or her teacher.

Do you do off-site field trips?
We provide off site field trips to our Elementary students.  For our youngers students we have on site field trips.  We feel it is appropriate to have field trips come to Fountainhead instead. Two to three times a year, we have outside vendors such as the Oakland Zoo, the InsectMobile, or others bring their presentations into the classroom. This is a great way for your child to receive all the benefits of such programs while in a safe and secure classroom environment. For more information on our on-site field trips, click here.

I enjoy meeting other parents. When will I have a chance to meet other families?
Fountainhead offers Back-to-School Nights, various other parent nights, and beginning- and end-of-year picnics. These are all great opportunities to meet other families. Also, at the beginning of the year we send out contact lists to all enrolled families. Please check our calendar out for exact dates.

Will you help my child use the restroom?
Yes, we will assist your child. As Montessori teachers, we encourage your child and guide him or her in learning the process of toileting. We encourage independence but will help your child every step of the way.

What is the difference between Extended Primary and childcare?
Extended Primary is another round of activities in the classroom for four- to six-year-olds, focusing on a different area of study each day of the week. Childcare is available for mixed age groups before and after scheduled class times with special projects, interesting snacks, and dramatic play planned for each day.

Why does Fountainhead celebrate seasons instead of holidays?
Holidays are included in studies of specific cultures. Throughout Fountainhead we celebrate nature and the universality of the seasons.

How can I find out details about what my child is doing in class?
Fountainhead offers individually designed, "parents only" classroom websites. This, of course, means that you and your child’s privacy are strictly maintained. You will have immediate access to pertinent handouts, forms, parent contact lists, weekly curriculum, songs sung by teachers, school news, emergency postings, as well as classroom pictures.  You can find the parents only websites here.

You can also find out more about the goals of each classroom here.


Does my child have to nap?
No. Every child is unique. Your child may need more, less, or no nap compared to other children. We will work with you to meet your child’s personal nap needs. We offer a separate supervised room for napping. We help your child feel safe and secure. We sing songs, play music, or rub backs to help your child drift off to a restful nap.

Does each child have a cot?
Yes. Children each have their own cot for nap times. The cots are cleaned regularly. We do ask that you take home your child’s nap gear on a weekly basis to be washed and returned for the next week.

My child naps sometimes but not all the time. How can you meet his or her needs?
Fountainhead can work with you regarding your child’s nap needs. We either structure a nap schedule for some days or offer naps to the child as needed. We know that many children have a transition period when they are finished napping and may only need an occasional nap.

How do you accommodate different nap schedules?
We will let your child nap if you desire. The nap times will vary slightly. Naps will be in a separate room with a teacher who will always be attending the children.

Illness Policy and Emergencies

What is the illness policy?
It is inevitable that your child will become ill some time during the school year. Please make advance arrangements to ensure your child can leave school, if needed. If a child becomes ill while at school, a staff member calls his or her parents to come and take their child home. If a parent is unreachable, we will contact people listed on the back of the emergency card. To ensure the health of all of our children, we ask that you pick up your sick child in a reasonable amount of time (within an hour). Further, the school will notify parents if a child has been exposed to a contagious disease like Pink Eye. In addition, the school must be informed of any contagious diseases in your household.  If your child exhibits any of these symptoms they must stay home for 24 hours after the symptoms subside.  If necessary we will contact Emergency Services (911) or the Health Department.

Guidelines for Which Symptoms Necessitate Keeping Your Child at Home:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting
  • Fever, particularly if over 101°
  • Certain rashes until diagnosed by a physician
  • Pink eye
  • Cold and coughs, when a child’s energy is low or too sick to participate
  • Being too sick to participate

Does Fountainhead have a disaster or earthquake plan?
Yes. We have a formal earthquake and disaster plan for each location. We also have emergency supplies for all children on campus. These supplies would only be used in case of a large-scale emergency or earthquake.

Fountainhead provides three days' worth of food and boxed water. In addition, we provide blankets, shelter, light sticks, whistles, dust masks, space blankets, wind-up radio, flashlights, body warmers, water purification tablets, and hygiene supplies.

Providing these supplies is yet another step we have taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. In addition to these supplies, Fountainhead teachers have current CPR and first aid certifications. Each classroom is equipped with an emergency first-aid backpack.

Emergency and disaster plan by campus:

Observe a Class

By observing a class you will get a feel for the environment and curriculum. Feel free to observe multiple classrooms to make sure you have the best fit possible for your child.

Observe a Class

Goals of the Classroom

Our classrooms, which we call the prepared environment, will allow your child a great deal of independence within a defined structure.

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Choosing the Right Class

Our teachers can offer invaluable guidance. We want your child to be happy and successful at Fountainhead, just as you do.

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About Our Staff

Ninety percent of our head teachers have over 10 years of Montessori classroom experience. They are loving, creative, respectful, and supportive educators.

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Is Montessori right for my child?

Observe a class and see if Fountainhead is the best placement for your family. By observing a class you will get a feel for the environment and curriculum. Feel free to observe multiple classrooms to make sure you have the best fit possible for your child.