Is a Montessori School Right for My Child?
Montessori school is right for many types of personalities, temperaments and learning styles. Children who are constantly waiting for adult direction and those who have difficulty choosing and staying engaged in activities may have some initial difficulty transitioning into a Montessori classroom.
Usually, they learn to trust themselves and gradually strengthen their concentration as they meet with successful learning experiences and develop independence.
The most important thing to consider when selecting a Montessori school is how well it matches your expectations of what kind of education you want for your children.
No single educational approach will be right for all children. Ideally, parents should seek out the best fit, not only between their child and a particular school but also between their family’s values and goals for their children’s education and what certain schools offer.
Finding the right school for mom and dad is as important as finding the right school for a child.
So, when you ask if Montessori School is right for your children ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want my child to be an independent learner who is peaceful and polite?
- Do I want my child to be able to select their own work and follow it to conclusion?
- Do I want them to learn practical life skills as well as know a second language?
- Do I want my child to have the option to learn from older peers and grow at their own speed?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should look into a local Montessori school.
The Montessori School Classroom
You will notice that Montessori classrooms have a calm, inviting atmosphere that tends to be quieter than walking into a typical elementary school classroom. There are a couple reasons for this.
First, because Montessori students are given the freedom to choose their own activities, they are more likely to be fully engrossed in those activities and less likely to be asking the teacher for direction.
Children move at their own pace throughout the classroom, and teachers are there primarily to ensure children are engaged and learning.
Second, because quieter environments have been shown to foster quality learning, Montessori students are encouraged to speak softly with each other and with their teachers.
In this way, they learn to respect those around them and promote a positive learning environment.
What Your Child Will Learn in a Montessori School
Better learning with individual teacher attention
Teachers trained properly in the Montessori method are an important core component in Montessori schools.
Montessori teachers allow the emphasis to be on the children in the class, as opposed to traditional classrooms in which the teacher is the focus of attention in the group.
Because each child in the classroom works independently on an activity tailored towards their interests and abilities, each child is given specific attention by the teacher when necessary.
If your child grows their skills best through thoughtful and personalized guidance from a teacher, Montessori is a good option to consider.
To be independent and self-motivated
The emphasis in Montessori is on self-directed learning and independence. Play is considered important work, and most activities are designed for children to work alone or with one other child. Children drive the routine, they set up their activities, clean them up, prepare their own snacks, etc.
Learns through hands-on activities.
Learning materials are specially designed to complement the Montessori method. Each learning material teaches a specific skill or concept.
These lessons are also self-correcting, allowing the student to assess their progress and correct any mistakes made without a teacher’s help.
Materials vary based on age group, but the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector shares typical learning materials found in a Montessori classroom, if you’re curious.
Montessori may be the right choice if your child is a kinesthetic learner, or if your child needs to improve their self-learning and critical thinking skills.
Interacting with other kids of different ages.
Multi-age classrooms are another component of Montessori. Schools typically sort students into age groups that span three years; for example, a pre-K or kindergarten class will include children from three to six years old. Grouping kids in this way fosters a sense of community and promotes positive socialization.
Older kids can act as role models and grow leadership skills through teaching others. Younger kids can learn from older kids and feel supported by the sense of family created within the classroom.
This structure will benefit your child at any age since it is good practice for how individuals will work and socialize with all types of people in the real world.
Thrive in a predictable and comforting environment
Since Montessori programs utilize a multi-age approach to classrooms as opposed to traditional grade levels, this means your child will be with the same children and teachers for up to three years.
Children who start in a Montessori preschool often remain in a Montessori setting throughout their elementary education and possibly beyond.
In the end, the selection of a Montessori school comes down to a matter of personal preference. If you visit a school and find yourself in love with the look and feel of the school’s atmosphere and if you can clearly see your child happy and successful in this atmosphere, then that school is more likely to be a good fit.