What to Expect at CHMS

CHMS offers both a Montessori preschool program for children 3 to 6 years old and a Toddler Program for children 24 months to 36 months old. All the preschool classrooms include a mixture of age groups.

Some Basics

Choosing a preschool for your child is one of the most important decisions you will face as new parents, and the choices may seem overwhelming and bewildering. It helps to know what to expect from each program at the start of your search, and to appreciate what sets a particular program apart from the others.

The school year at CHMS follows the Arlington Public School calendar. Our year begins on the day after Labor Day for the returning students and the following Monday for new students who have not attended a summer camp session. We finish our regular school year in June, but we offer two camps to provide coverage for our families in the summer months. We give preference for these camps to our returning and incoming students, but we will accept outside applicants if we have room.

Parents of children in the Preschool Program may drop them off as early as 7:30 AM and pick them up at either 1:00, 2:45, or 5:45 PM, depending on whether they choose a partial or extended day (enrichment program). Parents of children in the Toddler Program drop them off at 8:00 AM and pick them up by 11:30 AM.
Children at CHMS are in their Montessori classrooms working with Montessori materials from 8:30 to 11:25 each day, but they soak up practical life skills and other Montessori principles during lunch and throughout the day. We offer a hot, nutritious lunch provided daily by Good Foods for those Preschool students staying after 11:45. The cost of lunch is included in tuition.

Preschool students at CHMS need to be completely potty-trained (including naps). Diapers are only permitted in the Toddler Program.

Why Montessori?

The fundamental tenet of the Montessori philosophy is that a child learns best within a social environment that supports that individual child’s unique development. Maria Montessori observed children’s behavior and determined that the best way to teach them is to tap into their natural inquisitiveness along with their ability to acquire knowledge through the senses. She created special teaching materials and techniques that allow children to develop their full potential by exploring their environment. The Montessori curriculum benefits children by supporting their need to explore in a safe and structured environment.
Teachers arrange their classrooms as they choose following Montessori guidelines, and may choose different units of study to work on throughout the year, meaning each class will likely pursue different activities or projects. Following the Montessori model, each child progresses at his or her own pace and no child is ever required to do work for which he or she is not ready. The learning environment exposes each child to language, math, science, geography, art, and music. The curriculum also covers social development, including practical life skills, manners, cooperation, and respect for yourself and others.

Find out more about Maria Montessori and the philosophy of Montessori education by clicking here:

Why Montessori

Daily Routine

What will my child wear at CHMS? During the academic school year, children at CHMS wear uniforms that include either polo or collared shirts with the official CHMS logo. Boys wear either navy blue or khaki pants and girls wear either pants or scooter skirts in navy blue or khaki. Children love the colorful shirts and wearing uniforms means no more morning drama over clothing choices.

Today was Madeline’s first day wearing a uniform; mother, father and student were very happy with this! — New CHMS parents

What about naps? The Toddler children finish their morning at 11:30, so they don’t need a morning nap at CHMS. The younger Preschool Program children, though, are given an opportunity to nap for two hours after lunch. They bring bedding and we provide cots. As the children get older and require less sleep, they become “resters”.  These children can either sleep or rest on their cots for 45 minutes, then they enjoy a special activity while the younger children finish their naps. We do not require pre-kindergarten children (typically 4 ½  to 6 years old) to nap. They engage in special programs for their age group during nap time. The cost of these program is included in their tuition.


What about fresh air?
 At CHMS we believe that children need to spend time outside. Children will go out for free play on our playground, so we ask that they have appropriate clothing and outerwear for the weather all throughout the year.