As a parent, there have never been more educational decisions in front of you than there are right now. There are a handful of different types of school – private, public, charter, and even homeschool – as well as a variety of unique educational philosophies and approaches. While every student is different, there are a number of reasons why your young child would benefit from a Montessori education.
Let’s take a look at a few of these benefits.
- Better Prepares Children
Many parents are hesitant to send their child to a Montessori school because they feel like it’s too loose and unstructured. Others question the fact that homework isn’t normally assigned and the teaching priorities aren’t always on a specific academic curriculum. However, despite all of these sticking points, research shows that Montessori students are better prepared for subsequent levels of education than their counterparts.
The benefits appear to be both social and academic. Research suggests that Montessori pupils are more likely to choose positive assertive responses when faced with unpleasant social situations, while they’re also more prepared for the three R’s at a younger age.
The ultimate takeaway for the researcher’s behind the study: “Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.”
- Children are Valued as Individuals
The traditional educational system looks at every student through the same lens. There’s an idealistic view of what a student will look like upon completion of the program and each child is expected to move towards this goal. If the student appears to be off track, the educators force the student to fit the preconceived mold. Unfortunately, this isn’t always healthy or appropriate for the development of the child.
The Montessori education does the exact opposite. It values children as individuals and doesn’t establish a rigid expectation of what they will be like upon finishing the program. Instead, the learning objectives and curriculum are shifted to fit the specific needs of each student. This freedom lets children develop, as opposed to stifling their individual desires and talents.
Tracy Yarke, an early childhood education professor, believes this freedom is incredibly important. “One child may be learning their sounds while another is already writing a story,” she says. “We are able to meet the child where they are at developmentally and use the child’s interests to spark learning.”
- Fosters Cooperation Between Students
In a Montessori school, the teacher doesn’t “run” the classroom in the way that most people are familiar with. Instead of forcing children to sit in certain seats and complete specific objectives within a particular period of time, the teacher is merely a facilitator.
In the Montessori classroom, teachers encourage students to explore the various stations that are set up. They can engage in what interests them and avoid what bores them. Aside from allowing children to develop according to their individual inclinations, this setup establishes a greater sense of cooperation between students. They learn how to share, interact, and respect each other. These are lessons that stick with the students well into their adolescent years.
- Diverse Classes Resemble Family Structure
Most Montessori classrooms are multi-age, and typically span three years. This re-creates the traditional family structure, or gives students a taste of what this looks like for the first time.
Younger students feel a sense of support and learn from those with more skills and experiences, while older students get a taste of what it’s like to be a role model or mentor. The teachers serve as models for respect and take on the role of conflict resolution.
- Teaches Order
When detractors talk about Montessori schools, they frequently perpetuate the myth that students don’t learn any sense of organization and order – which are extremely important in the traditional classroom setting. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Since all activities and objectives have very specific locations in the room, children are trained to put items back in the appropriate places when they’re finished. The classroom is quite orderly and students come to understand the value and need for an orderly environment much faster than students in other formats where teachers do all of the setting up and cleaning up.
- Replaces Abstract with Concrete
In a traditional school setting, students are taught abstract concepts about math, science, and other subjects. In a Montessori school, teachers prefer to focus on concrete learning experiences. This hands-on approach is much more powerful and rewarding.
“You won’t find children sitting quietly at their desks in neat little rows, listening to a teacher lecture all day in a Montessori classroom,” says Valaida Wise, head of school at a Maryland-based school. “Instead, children are free to move throughout the classroom, to work solo or in small groups, to work on mats, at tables or on the floor. Students choose the order of their lessons and the amount of time they devote to a subject.”
This concrete, individualistic approach is exponentially more powerful than a teacher-regulated, abstract curriculum that limits the creativity of students. As a result, students are happier in the present and better prepared in the future.
- Smaller Teacher-Student Ratio
Finally, you have to consider the benefit of the smaller teacher-student ratio that exists in the typical Montessori classroom setting. Whereas a traditional school may have a 1-to-25 teacher-student ratio, Montessori schools generally have something closer to 1-to-10. This ensures each student is given the proper amount of attention and focus.
Contact Learn and Play Montessori School Today
At Learn and Play Montessori, it’s our goal to inspire children to pursue their creative sides in an environment that’s safe and conducive to hands-on learning. We do this by providing high quality preschool, Pre-K, kindergarten, and after school programs for a variety of students.
If you’re interested in learning more about our specific philosophies, curriculum, and enrollment processes, then please contact us today! We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.