How old do children need to be before they can attend SMMS? Though families can begin the application process earlier, state regulations require children to be three years (36 months) old prior to attending. We offer rolling enrollment throughout the year allowing children to begin whenever they turn three.
Does SMMS offer kindergarten for 5-6 year olds? Yes. Kindergarten students follow the same weekly schedule but are taught more advanced lessons.
What is the weekly schedule? SMMS is designed as a four-day a week program (Tuesday through Friday) with a limited number of three-day seats for newcomers (Tuesday through Thursday). The school day begins at 8:30 am, with drop-off between 8:30 - 8:45 am. Outdoor time happens every day allowing time for playing and/or eating snack. Pick-up is from 11:50 - 12:00 pm.
Is SMMS a religious school? SMMS is not a religious preschool and does not use any religious curriculum. We are inclusive of ALL families.
The children do recite a simple Blessing of Gratitude before lunchtime: We are thankful for the food before us, We are thankful for the friends around us, We are thankful for the love among us, We are thankful!
Our lead teacher also sings the "Friendly Beasts" Christmas carol with the children as a means of sharing a simple message of generosity during the Christmas season.
SMMS began as a ministry of Portland Mennonite Church over 30 years ago, thus the name Sunnyside Mennonite Montessori School. Mennonite beliefs and practices vary widely, but following Jesus in daily life is a central value, along with peacemaking. While these beliefs and practices are not explicitly taught at SMMS, the teachers, parents, and children are encouraged to treat one another with respect and grace.
Will my child eat at SMMS? Yes, children should bring a snack from home each day along with a filled water bottle. We are a nut-free environment.
How is discipline handled? A big focus when working with the children is to give them the tools to live respectfully and peacefully with each other. This is done through grace and courtesy lessons, which model and invite role play for various social scenarios. We try to redirect behavior when possible, and we use a natural and logical consequence approach to discipline in the class. Frequent communication with parents is helpful to form a partnership to support the child with various behaviors.
What is the average class size? Because the Montessori teaching philosophy fosters learning through the communal learning environment, we have a mix of children in the classroom between ages 3-6. Maximum class size is 20.
Does the school have an outdoor space, and how often is it used? Yes. The children have time outside every day, rain or shine. Children need to come dressed for the weather! There is an outdoor play structure onsite as well as a pergola which provides shelter and shade.
What are your policies on immunization? We encourage our students to be immunized in compliance with Multnomah County, and we also respect each family’s choice in regard to immunizations. Any medical and non-medical exemptions will require an education certificate from an online course or family doctor. Our current exemption rates are as follows: