Frequently Asked Questions
Is family star a day care?
Family Star offers an extended-day, year-round center-based school program, as well as a home-based program and family support services. We are more than a school – we educate children, strengthen families, and build community!
Is there space available?
A variety of factors (including child age, geographic location, and income level) affect our program availability. We encourage you to call our center and talk to our enrollment team to determine if Family Star has an available slot. Contact our Northwest Center at (303) 477-7827 or our Northeast Center at (303) 295-7711 to discuss availability at either center. You may also fill out an enrollment inquiry here and one of our Center Directors will get back to you about availability.
May I come and visit?
Of course – we love visitors! If you are interested in enrollment, please contact our enrollment team at our Northwest Center at 303-477-7827 or our Northeast Center at (303) 295-7711 to schedule a private tour. Family Star also offers tours every month to give community members an introduction to our mission. Call for current dates, and call 303-477-7827 to RSVP.
What is the tuition cost?
Our tuition rates are competitive, and our program offers a wide range of comprehensive family services (including mental health services, disabilities services, and a premium nutritional program) at no extra cost. Please call one of our enrollment team at our Northwest Center at 303-477-7827 or our Northeast Center at (303) 295-7711 to determine if you qualify for reduced tuition or government subsidies, and to discuss further tuition details.
What is the student-teacher ratio?
Our student-teacher ratios are set to ensure the highest program quality, and are faithful to the Montessori method. Our classroom ratios are as follows:
Nido Classrooms – 1 teacher: 4 children
IC Classrooms – 1 teacher: 4 children
Primary – 1 teacher: 10 children
Are you a year-round program?
Yes, Family Star is a year-round program. For convenience, we do our best to align our calendar with the Denver Public Schools’ schedule. For a Family Star school calendar, including closure days and school breaks, download our 2017-2018 School Calendar
What is the daily schedule?
Our classroom schedules may vary, but each day includes breakfast, work time, lunch, nap, and outdoor time (weather permitting). For a more in-depth schedule, come visit us!
Do you have a kindergarten program?
In order to remain faithful to the Montessori method, our Primary program heavily encourages participation and enrollment of 5 year olds. For more information on the Montessori method, click here.
Are meals and/or diapers included?
Yes: breakfast, lunch, and a snack are included with tuition, as are cloth underpants and diapers for children to wear throughout the school day.
What is the average tenure of you teachers?
The average tenure for our teachers is 6+ years. Of course, our individual staff have a wide range of experience – some have been here for over ten years! For more information about our teachers, click here.
Isn't Montessori expensive?
It is true that some Montessori programs are geared only towards high-income families. However, Family Star is committed to our program diversity, and to representing families across all income levels. For more about diversity, click here.
What about program diversity?
Family Star strives to reflect diversity through many different kinds of families. Our families and caregivers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including a mix of races, ethnicity, and economic circumstances. It is also vitally important that our classrooms reflect the diverse mix of people our children see in their families and neighborhoods. To this end, we assure that our staff and volunteers mirror the demographics of our northeast and northwest Denver schools and the neighborhoods they are situated in.
Do you offer before and after school care?
Our program hours are 7:15am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. We do not offer care outside of these program hours.
What is your home-based program like?
Our home-based program is designed to assist families that have been previously under-served. This includes undocumented and stay-at-home families, pregnant mothers, and families that have experienced loss of employment, childcare, or changes in living arrangements. We provide weekly home visits that bring child development, Montessori education, and parenting information directly to parents.
What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
There are numerous differences between Montessori and traditional education – click here for a chart outlining some of the comparisons.
Are there any independent studies comparing traditional and Montessori schools?
Yes! Click here for a published study demonstrating the outcomes of Montessori education.
Are all Montessori schools the same?
No. Maria Montessori did not trademark or copyright the term Montessori – thus, any school can claim to be a “Montessori school.” However, Family Star is committed to true fidelity towards Maria Montessori’s concepts and towards the essence of uncompromising Montessori education. Click here to discover more about what makes Family Star’s Montessori program unique.
Do young children even need to go to school?
Yes! The majority of brain development occurs during the first few years of a child’s life. These years are invaluable – young children need to develop and learn during these formative periods. For more research on early brain development, click here.
Where do alumni attend elementary school? High school? University?
While many of our children transition into traditional schools, Denver Public Schools does offer Montessori elementary schools, including Denison, Gilpin, Sandoval, Valdez and Lincoln. For higher education, most Montessori alumni attend (and thrive at) traditional schools. For a list of famous Montessori alumni, click here.
Is it true that children in Montessori classes do whatever they want?
Teachers in Montessori classrooms guide children to make self-directed learning choices. Children are given freedom with limits, and are allowed to explore their own interests with specific parameters. For more information about our classrooms, click here.
Does Montessori education work well for all children? What about children with learning disabilities? What about gifted children?
Because Montessori education allows self-directed learning, it is uniquely suited to adapt to the individual needs of specific children. Gifted children often thrive in a Montessori environment, as the structure allows for learning based on one’s own individual interests. Children are able to spend as much (or as little) time on subjects as they want. As part of our commitment to diversity, Family Star is proud to offer robust mental health & disabilities services to all children. We frequently surpass federal guidelines related to children with disabilities, and make great efforts to ensure all Family Star children are included and welcome. For more about our disabilities program, click here.
Why do the classrooms look different than other childcare centers?
Montessori is a child-centered curriculum that acknowledges and supports the individual needs of each child. Because of this philosophy, the classroom environment contains specially designed, self-directed manipulative materials that invite children to engage in learning activities of their own choice. Children in our classrooms learn by making discoveries with the materials, cultivating concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. For a video of our classroom environment, click here.
Does the teacher assign work?
Teachers do not assign work, but rather help guide the interests of individual students. Students are given options, and make self-directed choices based on their own interests. For more about our education curriculum, click here.
Do students receive grades?
Family Star students do not receive traditional grades. Instead, progress is tracked by teachers through student portfolios. These portfolios contain information about the lessons given to each child, and the child’s progress and interests.
Do teachers track progress?
In addition to our portfolio system, Family Star also participates in the Colorado Department of Education’s data collection of child outcomes and kindergarten readiness. We also use an online assessment tool, called Creative Curriculum’s Teaching Strategies GOLD, to document children’s progress and assess them at quarterly checkpoints.
Why do you have mixed age groups?
Mixed age groups are a key concept of Montessori education. They allow the older children to act as educators and models for the younger children, while allowing the younger children the chance to observe appropriate behaviors from their older peers. For more information about our classroom structure, click here.
Are Family Star children well prepared for traditional schools?
Yes! Montessori teaches independence, creative thinking, concentration, and fosters an intrinsic love of learning. These skills prepare Family Star children to excel in school and become passionate, life-long learners.
Can I do Montessori at home with my child?
Yes you can, and Family Star can help! Many of our monthly parent education nights are geared towards Montessori practices in the home. Additionally, Family Star staff frequently engage with parents on ways to bring Montessori practices into their households.
How are parents invited to participate at school?
Family Star strongly encourages all parents to get involved with their child’s education and their school. For a list of volunteer projects, click here.