How to Enrol
ISMS welcomes children of all backgrounds and abilities, and we are delighted that you are considering a Montessori education for your child.
Below is information about the enrolment process for our various programs and our enrolment policy.
There are distinct processes to enrol in Pre and Primary and the Infant Community. Applications for Pre and Primary are independent to enrolment and acceptance in the Infant Community. See Infant Community Programs for relevant enrolment details and the wait list form.
Steps to Enrolment in Pre and Primary (Stages 1 – 3)
- Attend an observation tour of the Balmain campus
- Submit application forms, together with applicable fees
- Meet with the Principal
- Acceptance of a place.
Attend a School Tour
Attendance at a School tour is a prerequisite to joining the wait list. Tour groups visit functioning classrooms through each stage of development, from the Infant Community to the end of Primary School. Enrolment is accepted on the assumption that the parent(s) will be supportive of the pedagogy and the philosophical foundations of the School and for those new to Montessori it is important that they have the opportunity to observe the uniqueness of the program.
School tours are conducted fortnightly in term time. They take approximately one hour and are usually conducted by a current School parent, a dedicated Tour Guide. The tour is followed by a 30 minute session with the Registrar, and Principal, when available.
Tours are usually hosted on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings. All tours begin from the Balmain Campus reception at 9:00am and conclude at 10:30am. Children are unable to attend tours, unless there are an infant who is able to remain in a carrier.
Application forms are included in an information pack handed out during the School tours.
Once the application and copy of the birth certificate are submitted to the Registrar, together with payment of the applicable fees, a child can be placed on the waitlist. This does not guarantee a placement, but it is a critical step toward one.
The forms allow the candidate’s family to nominate a preferred campus, Balmain or Lilyfield. If a place can only be offered at the non-preferred campus (where the family has a preference) then it will be up to the family as to whether they wish to proceed.
Waitlist families are welcome to contact the Registrar at any time with queries about the process or if they wish to make changes to the details they have on file.
Meet with Principal
Parents or guardians are invited to meet with the Principal prior to any formal offer of place. This is a good opportunity to address any questions the family may have about Montessori education and ISMS, as well as providing a forum to discuss any special needs the child may have to ensure there is a good fit with the School.
Acceptance of Place
Places are offered from July for all children who would be eligible to start in the following year and a response is generally sought within 10 days of the offer being made.
Children join Stage 1 in the term in which they turn three and transition to Stage 2 around the time they turn six. To ensure this transition happens at the best time for each child based on her or his academic, social and emotional development, the Stage 1 Director consults with parents about this when the time comes.
Priority for enrolment is given to:
- Sibling status
- Position on waitlist
- The age of the child on application
- Age and gender (for reasonable class balance)
- Commitment to the 3 – 12 program
- Commitment and involvement of parents
- When all factors are equal, the age at date of application determines priority.
Stages 2 and 3 (Primary, ages 6 – 12)
The vast majority of children in the ISMS Stage 1 program (Balmain and Lilyfield campuses) go on to Stages 2 and 3 at our Balmain campus. Children offered a place in Stage 1 is on the understanding that they will complete the full nine year program from ages 3 – 12 years.
Children who have attended other comparable MAF (Montessori Australia Foundation) quality endorsed Montessori Pre-schools are also welcome to seek a transfer to ISMS for Stages 2 and 3. Their applications are subject to the same application prerequisites as listed above and other considerations such as the desired balance of children in each class by age and sex.
Under certain circumstances, ISMS may accept a transferring student with no Montessori experience into the Stage 2 program. This matter is of careful consideration.
Children transferring to Pre Primary or Primary from other Schools must lodge a report from the previous School before the child is accepted.
Over the years, the School has found that the child most likely to benefit from Montessori education is one whose parents take an active and consistent interest in the school.
Also, the benefits of Montessori are seen to be maximised if the child remains until the completion of their primary education in Stage 3 (traditionally Year 6, in Australia).
For this reason, ISMS asks parents who want their children to advance to Stage 2, to learn more about Montessori and the Primary school environment, and particularly how the classroom environment and the curriculum change to match the needs of the developing child. Parents are asked to give an undertaking that they intend their child to remain with the School until the end of Stage 3.