At Community Montessori Columbus, we love bells and whistles! But we also understand and respect the basics that best support young children when they are asked to spend eight or more hours in care each day. That’s why we plan to offer the following across three flexible Extended Care sessions:
Consistent and Capable Caregivers
At Community Montessori, all extended care sessions are led by full-time staff who work at least part of the regular school day as Children’s House Assistants under the guidance of trained Montessorians. These staff transition with students in their Children’s House from Before Care to the regular school day and from the regular school day to After Care I and II. This means children at CMC do not experience transitions from full-time to part-time caregivers or from a classroom group to an Extended Care group. Instead, this model ensures children experience consistent boundaries and expectations from staff with a deep understanding of the needs of the children and group in their care.
A Predictable, Homelike Environment
Each child spends their Extended Care hours at school in the same Children’s House, natural play area and garden, and indoor gross motor area where they spend the regular school day. All of these spaces are specially designed for each child to maximize both independence and community engagement. A respect for daily routines and the limitation of transitions from one space to another help children feel comfortable and safe. Features like a mixed-age peer group, homelike child-sized furniture, and a closely supervised buffet style snack throughout the day create a truly supportive and comfortable learning environment.
Plenty of Fresh Air and Room to Move
At Community Montessori, we believe time outside and physical activity foster both child well-being and environmental responsibility. We utilize our large, fenced, natural play area and garden for a substantial portion of each day, weather permitting (defined as an absolute temperature between 25° F and 90° F without hazards such as strong wind or heavy precipitation and lightening). When we are not able to go outside, children have access to a large hall specially prepared for indoor gross-motor activity.
Before Care (7:30 AM to 8:30 AM)
Children enrolled in the Before Care program are greeted by a Children’s House Assistant and focus on preparing for the day ahead in their Children’s House. The Assistant offers children a few independent activities each morning such as building or art materials. They also offer children opportunities to help prepare for the day ahead by preparing snack, restocking materials, or reorganization of the classroom (tasks that may seem a burden to adults can often give young children a valuable sense of purpose and responsibility). If they wish, families may also pack a breakfast for their child to eat during Before Care. While we offer families the flexibility to drop off their child or children anytime during the Before Care hour, we strongly encourage each family to choose a consistent target drop-off window (e.g., between 7:50 AM and 8:00 AM) that works best for their family. Consistency in drop-off and pick-up time is one of the most important ways families can ensure productive and happy Extended Care experiences for their young children.
After Care I (3:30 PM and 4:45 PM)
After Care I programming is dedicated to the outdoors and activity! Children’s House Assistants transition with After Care children from their Children’s House to either the natural play area and garden or indoor gross motor space. After Care I will also be a time for supplemental programming for children at CMC as it is once again safe to invite additional adults to spend time with us in our community. Some activities, such as working alongside volunteers in the garden or participating in a fitness or dance class, will be offered to all children enrolled in After Care I (for no additional charge). Other activities, like individual or small group music lessons, may be organized and billed separately. In order to facilitate all these special opportunities, we will ask families to limit pick-up between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM as much as possible. The official pick-up window for the regular school day is between 3:15 PM and 3:30 PM while the pick-up window for After Care I is between 4:30 PM and 4:45 PM.
After Care II (4:45 PM and 6:00 PM)
After Care II programming is dedicated to meeting children’s needs in a homelike setting. One Assistant from each classroom transitions back to their Children’s House with the children enrolled in that classroom. Children are be offered individual activities such as puzzles or books. They are also offered the opportunity to eat snack or participate in cleaning and closing down the Children’s House for the day (tasks that may seem a burden to adults can often give young children a valuable sense of purpose and responsibility). While we offer families the flexibility to pick up their child or children anytime during After Care II, we strongly encourage each family to choose a consistent target pick-up window (e.g., between 5:30 PM and 5:40 PM) that works best for their family. Consistency in drop-off and pick-up time is one of the most important ways families can ensure productive and happy Extended Care experiences for their young children.