Frequently Asked Questions
What are the qualifications of your staff?
India French-Adams, who serves a dual role as Head of School and Lead Teacher, has a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's Degree in Integrated Learning. India has experience teaching in Montessori classrooms since 1998. She is Montessori certified in Elementary I and II (ages 6-12) and has completed her middle school certification. India is also a certified Montessori teacher trainer which helps her to stay active in the Montessori community at large. The teachers on staff have, on average, more than 10 years of Montessori teaching experience. Each lead teacher has certification for the level they teach from accredited Montessori training programs.
What is a typical day in the Primary classroom?
We welcome and encourage you to spend time in our classroom. You will notice a lot of movement from the children as they explore the classroom independently and during their "lessons". The most important goal in the Primary class is to foster a love of learning for each child.
Each day varies from the one before, but all of the days have the following in common: Students are exposed to math, language, reading, writing, science and cultural activities through concrete materials beautifully designed by Maria Montessori. Each day includes an uninterrupted work period, circle time for sharing information as a community and outdoor recess.
Is there a dress code at the school?
Phoenix Montessori Academy encourages individuality and does not require students to wear uniforms. However, students are expected to wear clothing that is not a distraction to our learning environment and is appropriate for a multi-age, mixed gender learning institution.
What enrichment activities will be offered?
All Elementary through Middle School students have the opportunity to participate in Art, Music, Physical Education and Foreign Language. For Toddlers and early Primary students, enrichment activities are incorporated in the daily curriculum. Kindergarteners enjoy similar opportunities to Elementary students. In addition, Elementary students attend a fall retreat to the Barrier Islands (SC) for a five day environmental study. Middle and High School students enjoy a fall retreat to Camp Canaan (SC) and a spring immersion/educational class trip. Upper Elementary and Middle School students have the opportunity to participate in Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) in New York. High School students spend time each week on community service projects.
Will my child take any standardized tests?
Our students take the Stanford Achievement Test each year, beginning at the Elementary level. Parents may request the results, which compares the child's performance to students in the same grade across the nation.
How do I stay informed of my child's progress?
Teachers will always make themselves available to you, daily, in person, by telephone or by e-mail. You may also observe your child in the classroom setting. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled two times per year, after the first and third quarters. Middle School and High School conferences are student-led. Progress is also communicated vis progress reports and narrative reports for Elementary students and report cards for Middle and High School students. The teachers at PMA are proactive when keeping parents informed.
Do you assign homework to the children?
Research has proven that homework in its traditional form is of no benefit to the Elementary age child. Therefore, the Elementary students at PMA are not assigned nightly homework. Instead, the work at home is geared towards project work or reading practice. Middle and High School students have homework assignments if the student requires extra time at home to meet designated deadlines or to complete a project.
Do you follow Charlotte Mecklenburg School System for the school calendar?
We do not necessarily follow the CMS calendar. We enjoy winter break at the end of December through New Year's; spring break lasts a week, beginning on Good Friday. You can expect a monthly teacher workday and bi-annual parent/teacher conferences.
Is Phoenix Montessori Academy a religious school?
While we do no teach religion to the students, we do present the great moral and spiritual themes, such as love, kindness, joy and confidence in the fundamental goodness of life. We observe a moment of silence during "circle time" each work day and at mealtimes for prayer or quiet meditation. We also celebrate holidays which are religious in origin but which can be experienced on a cultural level. We fully embrace diversity as one of our core values and do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, national or ethnic origin.
Is there and athletic program and Phoenix Montessori Academy?
PMA offers a variety of sports for both boys and girls, including volleyball, basketball, flag football, lacrosse and cheerleading. PMA has partnered with three other private school to create the Northern Independent School League (NISL). By drawing participation from four smaller schools, PMA students are able to enjoy a richer sports experience.
The focus of the competitive sports program is on learning the fundamentals of the game, challenging oneself to set and meet goals, and sportsmanship. Younger students are afforded the opportunity to explore individual and team sports through a physical education program, after school clinics and intramural play.