Download, print and complete the Enrollment Consideration Form.
Open House Flyer
- Enrollment is open to all St. Johns County residents with children in grades 1 – 6.
- To comply with Florida Controlled Open Enrollment, children residing in the St. Johns County School District will be placed before children outside of the District.
- Should applications exceed available capacity, preference is given in the following order:
- Siblings of currently enrolled students,
- Children of a member of the governing board of the school,
- Children of a SAPMS employee
- Children identifying as minorities within a 2-mile radius of the School, and
- Children with documented prior Montessori experience as defined.
Montessori experience must be documented by a letter and/or student record from a Montessori school.
- “Montessori experience” is defined as recent attendance for at least one full year at a Montessori school with certified Montessori teachers.
- Enrollment is first based upon a lottery. Applications received after lottery deadline are added to the waiting list in the order they are received.
- The lottery will be organized by preferences as described above and grade level.
- Applications received prior to the deadline and not selected in the lottery will be placed on a waiting list in an order determined by the lottery.
- All accepted students will receive notification. Those who have been wait-listed will also be notified.
- Parents shall attend a prospective parent meeting at which the Montessori approach and school expectations of both students and parents/guardians will be explained.
- As part of the enrollment process, parents will be asked to sign an agreement indicating their understanding of the School’s mission and its expectations of student and parents.
- If an applicant declines enrollment either before or during a school year, the applicant is removed from the waitlist. To get back on the waitlist, the student must reapply to be added back to the waiting list or enter another lottery.
- Waitlists are not carried from year to year.
- Once a student has been accepted into the school, the student automatically remains in the school from year to year, unless he/she withdraws from the school or moves out of county.
- SAPMS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status, special need, proficiency in the English language, or academic achievement or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.
- After the admission process is complete, SAPMS will hold meetings for admitted students and their families.
SAPMS does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, proficiency in the English language, or academic achievement.
If applications exceed available spots, a lottery will be held. To be eligible for the Lottery, please apply by March 10, 2017.
Two Open House events will be held before the March 10 deadline. Prospective parents may visit the school, listen to a short presentation and ask questions. Please do not bring children to these Open House events. Children will have a chance to visit the school after they have secured a spot. The Open House dates are:
- February 16, 2017 5:30 – 7:00 pm
- March 8, 2017, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
The school will begin accepting Applications for Enrollment Consideration starting January 6, 2017. Applications postmarked or received via email by March 10, 2017 will be entered in the Lottery.
- Preference is given to siblings of current SAPMS students and to children of staff and board members. Even with preference, admission is limited by available space in the applicable grade/class level.
- A Diversity preference is used to help achieve a racial/ethnic balance reflective of the community served by the School. Preference is given to minority students within a 2-mile radius of the School.
- Preference is then given to children with previous Montessori experience up to the desired ratio per classroom. The desired ratio of students with prior Montessori experience to those without is 4:1 in each classroom. The Montessori preference is used when the ratio falls below this goal. Montessori experience is defined above.
- Waiting lists will be created in the order the results are pulled from the lottery.
- Families will be notified of their child’s placement after the lottery is drawn.
- Waiting lists will be maintained through the school year.
- Students on the waiting list will continue to be listed throughout the school year until they are placed or withdraw.
AFTER March 10, 2017
The Lottery will be held on April 3, 2017 during the Board Meeting which begins at 6:00 at the school, 7 Williams Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. All complete applications received by March 10 will be entered into the lottery.
After the lottery, openings will continue to be filled in the order of the waiting list.
Applications received after March 10 will be added to the waiting list in the order they are received. It is only after the lottery that the waiting list slots are filled on a first come, first served basis.
The goals of SAPMS’s admissions policy are:
- To attract, enroll, and retain a broad spectrum of students that represents the rich diversity existing in the District and
- to provide for classroom growth consistent with an authentic Montessori education.
To maintain the Montessori philosophy in the classroom, SAPMS limits the number of students who do not have previous Montessori. If the number of applicants exceeds capacity, SAPMS gives preference to those children with previous Montessori experience. The desired ratio is four children with Montessori experience for every one child without Montessori experience.
SAPMS wishes to grow the classes such that a majority of the students have previous Montessori education. This allows minimal disruption to children who will remain in the same classroom for the three-year cycle.
Families who feel Montessori education is a good match for their child should still apply, even if your child has no Montessori experience. SAPMS has historically placed more children without Montessori experience than those with. Please apply in time for the lottery.
Many public schools implementing Montessori programs struggle with admission criteria. Experience shows it can be challenging for children to transition into a Montessori-style teaching method if they are older and have become more accustomed to the more traditional educational approach.
Montessori classes work very differently depending on the percentage of children with Montessori experience. Some children without Montessori preschool experience adapt easily to expectations in the Montessori elementary class and some do not.
When children who cannot work independently are in the minority, the teacher can focus attention, use older children as tutors, and so on. When this group makes up the majority of the class, Montessori practices involving free choice for major portions of the day are hard to implement, at least early in the school year.
When needed, SAPMS provides preference to children with previous Montessori experience as a means to maintaining Montessori practice in the classrooms. The School’s goal is a ratio of four children with Montessori experience for every one child without Montessori experience in each classroom. Montessori teachers have observed that having a higher percentage of new students without previous Montessori experience in a class can make the class more difficult to normalize according the Dr. Montessori’s definition of the term.
In the Montessori classroom the term normalized refers to special characteristics that Maria Montessori observed when children were allowed to work freely in a prepared environment. The North American Montessori Teacher’s Association describes it as follows:
Dr. Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in an environment suited to their needs, they blossom. After a period of intense concentration, and working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process normalization and cited it as “the most important single result of our whole work.”
Normalization describes the process that takes place in Montessori classrooms around the world. There are young children, who typically have a short attention span, learn to focus their intelligence, concentrate their energies for long periods of time, and take tremendous satisfaction from their work.
In his book, Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, E.M. Standing described the following characteristics of normalization in children ages of three to six:
- A love of order.
- A love of work.
- Profound spontaneous concentration.
- Attachment to reality.
- Love of silence and of working alone.
- Sublimation of the possessive instinct.
- Independence and initiative.
- Spontaneous self-discipline.
- The power to act from real choice and not just from idle curiosity.
As they grow, Montessori children, given a free and beneficial environment, learn to approach challenges with gusto and find true joy in acquiring knowledge. It is not the work of the teacher but the other students and class as a whole result in a child being normalized. Without a large percentage of already normalized children setting the culture of the class, this is difficult to achieve.
Please still apply if you feel Montessori is a good fit for your child.
SAPMS needs to grow responsibly, making certain to provide sufficient resources to students, their families, and the School’s faculty and staff. With no public Montessori schools in the County, only a small percentage of families have the resources to send their children to private Montessori programs. We see SAPMS as an option for all families interested in a Montessori education and are committed to bringing Montessori public.
The Montessori pedagogy is different from a traditional classroom, in part because it builds on students’ Montessori-specific experience year after year. Therefore, the method of ramping up a Montessori school is slightly more complicated than a ramp-up program for a more traditional school. Montessori experts agree that it can be challenging for most children beyond second or third grade if they have not had previous exposure to Montessori.
When a family without Montessori experience considers SAPMS, they should consider that a child with the following qualities would be the most likely to succeed in the learning environment of the Montessori program:
- Passion for learning.
- Willingness to investigate and take risks.
- Enjoyment in choosing among several options.
- A self-directed learner.
- Ability to work independently.
- Ability to follow through and complete tasks.
- Respect for self, the environment, and others.
- An awareness of personal responsibility.
- Ability to work with others.
- Respect for personal and academic endeavors.
Families of eligible children must be willing to make an extra commitment to their child’s education. The Montessori school program is based on cooperative learning that involves family and community spirit. By signing the SAPMS Contract of Commitment, which includes a requirement of participation in the Montessori Parent Orientation classes, classroom observation, at least 20 hours of participation per year from each family and an agreement that they will follow our policies as outlined in the Community Handbook, parents or guardians show their commitment to the school’s mission and educational philosophy.