The Montessori education method of teaching children is governed by three guiding principles: First, children need independence; second, children learn best when given freedom within limits; and third, children can most effectively be educated if their natural physical, psychological, and social development are respected. With those principles in mind, how do you know if a Montessori school is the right place for your child? Here are a few general characteristics of a Montessori school that may help you decide if a Montessori education is right for your child.
Montessori schools are designed to be calm. Furnishings are simple, toys and other learning supplies are stored in neat bins, and children work independently for long periods of time. The Montessori environment will be quieter and less chaotic than a comparable educational classroom. Since teachers, or guides, are focused on individual learning, they spend little time instructing the class as whole and more time moving from child to child, guiding them in their chosen activities. Children who are overwhelmed by chaos or who need individual attention will thrive in this environment.
Montessori schools use structure in a different way than traditional schools. Children learn independently by choosing their own learning activities, but, as was mentioned, this freedom has limits. Montessori activities are highly structured. Blocks and puzzles in the classroom are designed to teach specific principles and can often be put together in only one way. Each activity comes with careful instructions that the children are required to follow. These activities will help the children solve problems and learn important concepts, and will build social skills as they work on these activities together. Children who like adventure will do well, as they will be willing to try new activities every day, thus getting the most out of what the program has to offer.
Montessori schools are quite different from traditional schools. If you are considering this choice for your child, your planning will be critical to success. Visit the school and see for yourself if the environment and teacher will be a good fit for your child. If parent involvement is important to you, ask about the availability of those opportunities. Consider how long you want your child to attend a Montessori school. Sometimes transitioning from a Montessori school in the early elementary years can be challenging for students, so plan ahead. Offer Montessori-like activity options for your child at home. Trade out bright plastics and electronics for calm, wooden blocks and puzzles. Teach your children to appreciate these types of activities to reinforce what they are learning in school. Children with parents who have done careful planning will be sure to succeed at a Montessori school.
The Montessori teaching ideals of independence, freedom with limits, and respecting the natural development of children are well-respected and time-tested. Montessori students perform as well as or better than their peers educated with other methods. The benefits from a Montessori education will last your child a lifetime. Is a Montessori preschool in Anaheim right for your child? Visit one today and find out.