Program and Policy Questions
- Do you offer hot lunches? Snacks?
Children at AIM have snack at school. In our toddler and preschool program, each week, a different family brings a bag of fresh fruit; AIM supplies crackers and other non-perishable snack items. We also have an in-house cook and offer an optional, healthy hot lunch program.
- How do you communicate with families during the year?
Every week, we send out an email with updates about key school events, upcoming deadlines, and a few photos. You also have semi-annual parent-teacher conferences, as well as semi-annual, written, detailed progress reports. Finally, our office team is always available to answer questions, or to set up a meeting with your child’s teachers to discuss any specific concerns.
- How do you handle food allergies?
While AIM is not a completely nut-free school, we ask that parents refrain from sending nut products to school with their children. We welcome and accommodate children with food allergies: we offer special seating during lunch; we have food allergy ID’s for children at parties; and we ask parents to label foods with common allergens at community events. If your child has an anaphylactic allergy, we do ask that you provide us with two epinephrine auto-injectors, one for the classroom, and one for the office.
- Why is kindergarten included with your Children’s House program, and not with elementary?
In an authentic Montessori program, children stay with the same teacher for a full three-year cycle, from age three to age six. This cycle culminates in the kindergarten year, where much of the learning of the prior two years comes together. We typically see huge jumps in children’s social and academic skills during this cashing-in year. Enrollment at AIM’s Children’s House is a three year commitment, including the Kindergarten year. Click here to read more.
Application Process Questions
- Do you admit families who speak no Japanese or Mandarin at home?
Absolutely! While many of our families have some Asian connection, we have a large number of children who enter our program without any knowledge of Japanese or Chinese. Some are from families who are just looking for the benefit of bilingualism, without any connection to Japan or China; in other families one parent may be a second generation immigrant who never learned the language but wants her child to speak it.
- Do you have staff members who can speak with me about your program in Japanese or Chinese?
Yes, we do! Our director, Ernest Mahr, is Japanese, and we have many experienced teachers who speak either language and would be happy to talk with you about our program in either Japanese or Chinese.
- Can I observe in your classrooms before I decide to enroll my child?
Every family who applies to AIM is invited to tour our school. During the school tour, you’ll have an opportunity to briefly observe in several classrooms. If you are interested in a longer observation after that visit, please let us know.
- Do you enroll only for September starts, or can my child join mid-year?
While many spots open up in summer or fall, as children move up to the next program, we also move some children up from Infant Community to Children’s House mid-year. When these move-ups happen (often around January/February), or on the rare occasion that a current family moves away, we offer spots mid-year to families on our waiting list.
- How do you help my child transition to school? I’m worried he’ll have a hard time separating, as he’s been home with me until now.
Great question! Before your child starts school, we usually invite him or her to visit the classroom for about an hour, while you stay in the class. We also offer up visits (one or several) during mid-day playground time. These preliminary visits help children become familiar with our school, and ease the transition. We also recommend that you read books about transitions at home, talk with your child, and maybe even find and practice a sweet, short good-bye routine. Once your child starts school, we ask that you say good-by on the playground, or right at the classroom door: it’s helpful to establish from the start that you are comfortable leaving, and that your child will be at school without you.