Frequently Asked Questions
About Montessori Preschool
Why should I send my child to a Montessori Preschool?
Educators and psychologists agree that intelligence undergoes important development between birth and age six. A child's mind is extremely absorbent and curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated, as in a preschool, the child forms healthy patterns for a lifetime of learning. The Montessori system has proved to be one of the most effective methods to guide a child through these critical years.
What is the difference between a Daycare, Nursery School, and Preschool?
Daycare centers are generally for the purpose of caring for children on an all day basis. Nursery schools generally are experiences in socialization and play. Preschools are oriented toward educational experiences, combined with socialization and play
How is a Montessori Preschool different from other Preschools?
In most preschools the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In the Montessori Preschool, children learn by working independently with specially designed materials in a prepared environment.
Who started the Montessori Method?
Dr. Maria Montessori, using the Scientific Method, observed classes in the children's houses in Rome. Based on these observations, she developed unique learning materials for a child-centered environment. She revolutionized educational thought by discovering the critical "sensitive periods" for learning. She stressed respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education, and training through use of movement and the senorial materails.
What is the Montessori Method of education?
Montessori classroom materials are designed for "auto-education." The child is taught how to use the materials. The classroom design is beautiful and interesting to the child in order to facilitate learning. Maria Montessori said, "The child, left at liberty to exercise his activities, ought to find in his surrounding something organized in direct relation to his internal organization which is developing itself by natural laws." The teacher carefully prepares the classroom and is available to assist children and give instruction as needed. The Montessori Method is based on the child's need to discover order in his world.
What is the purpose of the Montessori Method?
The main purpose of the Montessori Method is to develop a classroom environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater person within. According to Maria Montessori, "The child is the father of the man." As the child begins to develop his inner self, his love for learning continuously expands.
What is in a Montessori classroom?
The Montessori world is a child-size world. Whatever is in the world outside can be incorporated meaningfully into the Montessori classroom. Careful selection of materials by the teacher creates an environment where the child can explore life on a level easy to understand. The materials and exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration. The prepared environment entices the child to proceed at his own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. A child's natural curiosity is satisfied and he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world about him. Materials and curriculum focus around Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math, Geography, Science, Art, Music, Drama, and Dance.
How do children interact in the environment?
As the children develop their sense of pride in their "work", a feeling of confidence, well-being, and joy is manifested in the child. A "new child" is born. A classroom of Montessori children is a joy to watch. There is respect, love, and cooperation among the children as they socialize and learn.
What is the role of the Montessori teacher?
The Montessori teacher is sometimes called a directress because she facilitates the classroom activity, but does not lecture. She carefully plans the environment in the interests of the children, and she helps the children progress from one activity to the next. She is trained to educate each child individually, and allows him to choose from many activities within his range of ability. She stands back while a child is working and allows him the satisfaction of discovery.
With all the freedom, isn't their confusion?
The concept of freedom within the classroom is one of freedom within limits. A child may work freely so long as he does not disturb others. "The liberty of the child should have as its limit the collective interest; as its form, what we universally consider good breeding. We must, therefore, check in the child whatever offends or annoys others, or whatever tends toward rough or ill-bred acts." Children allowed the freedom to choose their own work generally are happy and self-controlled, so the classroom tends to be ordered.
What is the best age to start a child?
Maria Montessori outlined various periods of "sensitivity." During these times, a child is more capable of, and interested in, learning specific concepts. At age 2-3 a special sense of order, concentration, coordination and independence begins to emerge. This time is ideal to begin a child's academic training in Montessori, as he is building the foundation for all his future learning.
How do Montessori children adjust to traditional schools?
Children that have been in a Montessori environment typically are very flexible and adjust quite easily to the public school situation. They are generally better students and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-direction and positive attitude toward learning.
What about socialization and group work?
Socialization is very much a part of the Montessori Method. In the classroom, children interact continuously, often choosing to work on projects together. Very often older children help younger ones. Each day, when classes begin at 9:00, there is a group activity called "circle time," and there is ample opportunity for socialization during daily outdoor play.
Who is the Montessori Method designed for?
The Montessori Method is an "approach to learning" and as such has not distinction of class or intelligence. It has been used successfully in all parts of the world and in all types of programs, i.e., Head Start, gifted children, developmentally disabled, average children, etc.
Isn't Montessori expensive?
Tuition in Montessori schools throughout the country is comparable to, but sometimes higher than other schools because of the materials, encompassing environment, curriculum, and trained staff. It is, however, a very reasonable cost in contract to other activities you would plan for yourself and your child. To give your child the finest possible experience in his "sensitive years" is to give him a strong foundation throughout his life and probably ward off investment later to correct or remedy that which was missed. Many educators believe investing in a preschool education is wiser than a college education. It is of inestimable benefit for the child to enjoy learning and become self-directed during the critical preschool age.
Does Montessori employ current research and theory in education method?
Yes. Montessori is not a static or closed system of education. While there are certain materials and methods that have proven effective over the years, Montessori is as much an attitude about education and children as it is a specific method with certain material.
Do you encourage parent involvement in the school?
We encourage parent involvement through conferences, observations, discussions, making materials, parent workdays, etc. The staff feels that the more parents can understand the experience of the child in the classroom, the better able they are to follow through at home.