Phasing in new children at ToTH: A Montessori approach
At ToTH, we slowly integrate, or phase in new children who have never been a part of our community before. This means, if you are just starting with ToTH and your child has never attended any of our programs before, your child will have a special start date and it will not be the first day of school. We do not prorate tuition for this delayed start. The new child might start the very first week of school or she may be phased in as many as four weeks from the start of school. She may come on a day that no other new children are coming or she may come on a day when one or more new children are coming. ToTH plans a precise and personalized start for each and every new child who joins us and we take many factors into account when we build this unique calendar for all new children, in all three programs, which is quite a laborious process. Phase in takes a lot of time and planning on our part and it requires a team spirit from our parents.
There are three important reasons we do this.
The first reason addresses the importance of your child’s first impression of school. In the first plane of development (0-6), children are absorbing every person, place, routine, and ritual and creating impressions about them, literally forming their very personality around them. It’s important that on your child’s very first day of Montessori school the teachers can welcome your child in a focused way that honors and addresses their needs to feel safe and welcomed with one on one attention. When we take a few days or a week to settle returning children coming back from their summer break, we can give your new child the special attention she requires on her first day, and offer her the most normalized environment possible, setting her up for the best start possible, which will reap benefits for your child and your family all year.
The second reason is to protect the start for our returners. They have been away for four weeks and have missed their friends, their teachers, and their favorite activities. A few days or even a week of a normalized environment in a calm space with no new children is an important part of their start, and sets the stage for new children to come into a space where returners are helpful, serene, and functioning with poise and purpose (essential modeling for your new child).
The third reason has to do with our commitment to run ToTH in such a way that all of our systems and procedures maintain and preserve the quality of our Montessori environment/ecosystem. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. There is value gained for all of the children when we are proactive and careful, beginning with the end in mind in all that we do. A school year is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and we want to remove points of friction, tension, and stress for teachers and children so that the quality we offer at the end of the year is just as vibrant as it was on day one. Phase in is one of the many ways we do this. Montessorians think in terms of “removing obstacles”. By taking a slower start and phasing in new children over the course of weeks, children receive the consistency and quality ToTH parents are paying for. By beginning with the end in mind we preserve the stamina and grace of our teachers and we preserve the normalization of our returners, meaning, each and every year new children join our community without any dramatic interruptions in normalization.