Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Expenses You Can Deduct for Preschool

What Expenses You Can Deduct for Preschool

Getting the best tax return means finding deductions that you are eligible for. For parents of preschoolers, there are school-specific deductions available if you know where to look. In most cases, you will be required to complete an itemized tax return; additional forms or worksheets may be required. IRS Publication 503 contains a lot of useful information.

Federal Deductions

For the IRS Child Care Deduction, you will need to show your eligibility and file the necessary forms. To begin with, you cannot claim the deduction if you file Form 1040EZ. You must use either Form 1040 or Form 1040NR. If you are married, you must file a joint return for this credit. There are some other rules and forms which must be considered, including:

·        Child Qualification - Children under the age of 13 qualify for child care deductions.
·        School or Care Provider Information - Form W-10 contains important identification information. You need the school name, EIN number, and an invoice. If your child attends a home-based preschool, the care provider’s Social Security number and a Form W-4 should be used instead.
·        Proof of Earnings - For most families, filing a Form W-2 for each wage earner is required. If you belong to a faith which is opposed to Social Security, a Form 4029 is used to show your earnings.
·        Form 2441 - This form is where most of the care provider information will be collected.

State Deductions

If you live in a state with a state income tax, you may be eligible for deductions at the state level. Regulations and requirements for state deductions varies from one location to another. To find out whether you can file for a deduction in your state, contact your state’s tax agency.

School Oriented Donations

Purchasing sports uniforms for your child alone are not deductible, but making a donation to the school to help cover the cost of uniforms for all team members may be. You can also claim a deduction for other donations, including the cost of items used in the preschool classroom such as crayons, paper towels, and equipment. When documented properly, even cash donations made to the school can be deducted.

Using a Flexible Savings Account

Unfortunately, you cannot claim a tax deduction for preschool if your child’s tuition was paid in full or part through an FSA. Because of the nature of FSAs, the money is already tax-free, and therefore does not qualify for an additional deduction.

Preschool expenses must be claimed as a childcare expense rather than a tuition fee. Federal law does not provide deductions or exemptions for tuitions, but child care costs are covered in order to assist families of single parents or where both parents hold full-time jobs. If you have a home-based occupation, talk with an accountant to find out how your deductions may be affected.

Montessori School in Newark offers premium Montessori Education to children ages 2 to 6.  Our teachers highlight the values of a Montessori Education each day - self-discipline, self-motivation, independence, and instilling a love of learning in children.  Contact us today to learn about the Montessori difference and take a tour of our preschool!

Reinforcing the Importance of Diversity in Middle School

Reinforcing the Importance of Diversity in Middle School

By the age of 11 or 12, adjusting to the diversity of life is a necessity for children. In America, we share cultural roots with every country on Earth, including racial differences, spiritual belief systems, and having different abilities in many ways. Human diversity is a fact of life, and addressing those differences in an important aspect of education in middle school.

Cultural Diversity

Whether your origins are English, Japanese, or Haitian Creole, your household has cultural customs that may not be practiced by your neighbors. In middle school, understanding the cultural heritage of many people helps students interact and be more accepting of others.

Ethnic Attitudes

At the core of many disputes in the world today are ethnic attitudes and bias against our fellow human beings. In middle school, children should be investigating the similarities of all people, learning how our differences in appearance and attitude have come to be. More importantly, focusing on how all of our ethnicities combine to make this a strong nation will add to the richness of classroom activities.

Spiritual Acceptance

A cornerstone of the United States Constitution is our separation of church and state. This does not mean that we should all practice the same faith system or ignore them all completely. It means that everyone’s spiritual beliefs should be accepted equally, and we must all practice tolerance for others. This is a difficult hurdle for many young people to cross, but doing so will open their minds to exciting new horizons.

Differences in Abilities

Most students are physically and mentally similar, but there will always be those who have special needs or difficulties. From dyslexia to missing limbs, the fact that some people are not as able bodied is a good place to learn about tolerance. The classroom is a good place to investigate ways to be helpful and courteous to everyone, even those who are different.

Addressing Bullying

The root cause of bullying lies with the perceive differences between one person and another. Whether it is because of silly differences such as height or weight, or more complex diversities such as cultural misunderstandings or physical disabilities, students need to learn to work together for the common good. It may be tempting to draw artificial lines between those who are like us and those who are different from us, but doing so is more likely to cause problems than to solve them.

The world is filled with diversity. That is what makes our planet an amazing and exciting place. Learning to understand and work within the bounds of our human differences will lead to a more satisfying and successful adulthood. By teaching middle school students the importance of caring and sharing regardless of aesthetic differences, you are enabling them to integrate better in society, and that is a lesson they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.

The teachers and staff at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Cedar Campus encourage students throughout middle school to accept diversity in its many forms. Teachers foster teamwork and focus on teaching the student as a global, well-rounded citizen. Call us today to schedule a tour and learn how our middle school can have a positive impact on expanding your child's understanding of the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When should you enroll your child in a Montessori School?

When should you enroll your child in a Montessori School?

As a parent, you want the best for your child’s future, including social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. The Montessori educational approach believes children have a natural curiosity for learning. The hands-on approach allows children to learn through self-directed activities, cognitive play, and building upon each child’s unique interests.

Ideal Age for Enrollment

Knowing when to enroll your child in the Montessori school really depends on your child. As a parent, you will be a major factor in determining the right age for your child to enter into a Montessori learning environment. Montessori school officials and highly trained teachers will be able to provide insight into the ideal for enrollment.

Generally, the Montessori program is ideal for children who enjoy being independent and working individually or in small groups. The ideal age for enrollment is around 3 years of age. During this specific time frame, children learn to absorb everything about the world around them. At this time, children learn valuable language development, vocabulary expansion, fine and large motor skills, and developing a sense of self. Knowing more about the Montessori approach will aid in your decision to enroll your child.
  • Montessori Learning Environment: A highly trained Montessori teacher will prepare a learning environment based on each child’s interests. By engaging children with specific learning materials, the teacher helps develop your child as a whole individual. As your child learns, the teacher will continue to build upon specific interests and personal curiosities to expand the thirst for knowledge.
  • Multi-Age Classroom: The Montessori approach incorporates students of multiple ages in one larger classroom. Generally, the classroom has an age range of about three years. Encouraging peer learning is the primary purpose behind the multiple age groups. Younger students tend to learn valuable skills from older students including positive social interaction, vocabulary usage, and acceptable classroom behavior. This, in turn, helps the older students develop leadership skills.
  • Non-Competitive Environment: Along with the multi-age classroom, Montessori believes in building a non-competitive learning environment. Allowing children to learn through more of a trial and error method, teachers do not issue rewards, grades or punishments. By not using a traditional grading or discipline approach, the students learn to develop positive coping skills for personal behavior and self-directed learning. Allowing for increased opportunities for learning, children will learn and develop at their own individual pace.
  • Block Hours for Learning: Depending on the age group of the classroom, 1 to 3 block hours are part of the daily schedule. During the block hour times, children engage in uninterrupted learning. The hours may include art, music, large motor skills, and other cognitive developing materials.
  • Calm Environment: Allowing children to be a self-independent learner, the Montessori teacher promotes a calm learning environment to inspire independence.

Visiting a Montessori school is the best way to determine the right age of enrollment for your child. Teachers and other school employees will be able to answer your questions concerning the ideal age of enrollment.

Montessori School of Fremont invites students and parents to tour the school, meet the teachers, and see the Montessori classroom firsthand.  While there, you will be able to observe the multi-age classroom which encourages students to engage in self-discovery and hands-on learning.