Choosing a Preschool
Montessori schools promote hands on, self-paced, collaborative, joyful learning. Children in Montessori follow their interests, wherever that passion leads; giving them strong academics, leadership, self-discipline, responsibility, independence, initiative and a lifelong love of learning.
Children are innately interested in learning about the world around them and through their natural curiosity are able to develop themselves. By providing an environment that supports natural development, Montessori education enables children to develop the fundamental capacities that they need to become happy and fulfilled adults who contribute to society.
Authentic Montessori environments encompass the following principles:
- Mixed age groups which not only offer a wide range of activities to spark children’s interest but also enable children to learn from others and learn by helping others.
- Freedom for children to work at their own pace, without interruption, choosing from a range of activities that are developmentally challenging and appropriate.
- Exploration is encouraged so that children find things out for themselves, make mistakes and correct them independently.
- Respect for each child as an individual personality with unique talents.
- Respect for others, the community and the environment.
A Montessori teacher has a deep understanding of child development and has been thoroughly trained to guide children towards productive and challenging experiences, both individually and collectively, that will provide a firm foundation for their future.
5 Reasons why Montessori work.
- Montessori is not a trend.
So often in education, educators jump from one trend to the next. Schools spend thousands of dollars on a new math or reading program only to find two years later, there’s something better out there. Providing the “right” educational curriculum has become a constant challenge of “keeping up with the trend”. Montessori schools use a philosophy and tools that have been around for over a century. Montessori schools don’t flip-flop between programs because they don’t need to. Montessori education proves to be effective regardless of whether it is in a private or public school, what country it is taught in or the socio economic status of the children. The philosophy that Maria Montessori developed many years ago still works for our children today.
- It fosters independence.
Everything about a Montessori classroom fosters independence. You first start with the classroom that is prepared to allow the child to do for themselves what an adult would often do for a child. You can find in a Montessori classroom a three year old sweeping the floor with a child-sized broom, washing the dishes at a sink just their height or folding washcloths that are the right size for their hands. The pride you see in these children who are able to “do it themselves” without asking for help from an adult is incredible. A Montessori classroom provides a prepared environment where children are able to develop independence.
Materials were created to be self-correcting. Children can identify a mistake in their thinking without having an adult point it out to them. Children in a Montessori classroom then have the power to ask for help when they need it, as opposed to an adult telling the child when they need help.
Children begin to realize that they have the intelligence and ability to do things for themselves. This is not only empowering to the child, but gives them such a boost in confidence.
- Children grasp the idea of “why.”
We truly believe that children don’t just “lose” information over time because the cannot remember. We think they lose information because it’s not meaningful to them. Often in math, we expect children to understand operations but never give them the how or why. We come up with acronyms and mnemonic tools to help children memorize the step without asking why these strategies are even necessary. Montessori allows children to understand the how and the why with materials. Children can actually see a division problem occur as he or she divides each place value. They also have the ability to practice it over and over with the materials until it makes sense to them.
- It meets children where they are.
One of the best benefits of Montessori is that it’s completely individualized. We never have to worry if the children are bored or frustrated to tears. They are getting what they need, when they needs it. In order for teachers to teach on an individual level, they must observe, mentor, mould and guide the child to his potential. As a parent, you will feel better knowing that your child’s teacher knows him as an individual and not as just a pre-schooler.
- Learning is actually fun. (No really, it is!)
When you get to learn about botany by looking at leaf samples or learn about your favourite historical figure by dressing up as her, learning is engaging and fun. Montessori provides experiences for children to learn from. Learning does not just come from lectures or listening, learning comes from doing and experiencing the world around them. Learning is real and relevant and that is the way children should learn.
Picking a school or method of education is one of the most important duties of a parent. Make a choice that will not just prepare your child for the next grade level, but will also prepare them to be a global citizen. Make the choice to put your child in a program where they will learn more than just the core subjects but also responsibility, compassion for others and self-motivation. Maria Montessori developed her philosophy because she wanted better for the world and future generations. With a little research and a tour of a Montessori school, you’ll see why Montessori works.