The Montessori approach to teaching is founded on children’s interests to build their own learning paths. This philosophy is the secret to the success of Montessori education. In fact, this approach has produced some of the best thinkers of the modern generation. However, parents need to understand that not all Montessori schools are made equal. The Montessori school will vary in terms of the quality and implementation of the educational philosophy. To get the most out of your child’s learning, it is crucial that you select the right program.
7 Tips for Choosing a Montessori School
It is important to look at certain attributes and features when evaluating a Montessori school or program for your child. Here are the things you need to look for.
A good Montessori school or program should have a license that is issued by a reputable Montessori organization. This is the most important step in choosing the best school to enroll your child into. The organizations that issue such license include the Association Montessori International (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS).
In addition to being licensed by the Montessori organizations, you should also verify the school’s state child care license.
Montessori Environment (Classroom)
The Montessori environment is the primary factor that differentiates it from other classroom settings for toddlers. Montessori education is not an approach to education; it fosters the learning that a child needs to grow and become independent in life.
A Montessori prepared environment is open and spacious. It is often divided into five distinct areas that serve a purpose: The Language Area, The Sensorial Area, The Math Area, The Cultural Studies Area, and The Practical Life Area. Each of these target specific areas of a child’s learning and development that is essential towards their independence.
Montessori Trained Teachers
Aside from the school or program, the teachers should be licensed and certified by the AMI and AMS. This certification is your assurance that they are trained in the Montessori approach to education.
Teachers in a Montessori school must hold a Bachelor’s degree. They should have also completed 200 to 600 hours of training. The teacher training will cover the essentials of Montessori education that specifically focuses on the Montessori philosophy, as well as the classroom materials. There are training centers for this type of educational approach for those who want to become a Montessori teacher.
Another core component to the Montessori education is the teaching style. This is what the teacher training is for; to ensure that they are fully equipped to teach the Montessori way of learning. In addition to the methodology in this educational approach, each teacher has their own unique style of teaching.
To assess a school’s teaching style, it is best to observe them in a classroom setting. Look at how the teachers communicate with the students. One of the unique features of a Montessori way of teaching is that they do not impose rewards or punishments on children. In addition, there are no homework for children to give the students a chance to enjoy family time when they go home.
The student-teacher ratio in a classroom setting is one of the measures of quality of education. This is important when choosing a school for your toddler. When there is a lower ratio of students to teachers, it enables the teacher to provide more focused and one-on-one attention in the classroom. With more attention, teachers are able to monitor the student’s learning progress more effectively.
The lower ratio does not guarantee higher quality of education, however. Other factors can come into play but it is an important contributor to that.
Mixed Age Classroom
Montessori is not like other typical schools. Each classroom is composed of students across a particular age range, rather than being of the same age. For example, a primary classroom consists of students aged 3 to 6 years.
The mixed-age classroom approach is unique in Montessori. It gives young students the opportunity to learn from older students, while the latter has the opportunity to lead the younger students. According to Maria Montessori, this approach to learning helps children gain emotional and cognitive independence at a more rapid pace.
Play is integral to learning in a Montessori classroom. When choosing a Montessori school, make sure your children have access to Montessori toys that they can learn from and interact with. Examine what toys are provided for children, the system in place with how they are used, and for how long.
Parents should take the responsibility of choosing a Montessori school for their children seriously. It is crucial if you want your child to benefit from the Montessori approach to education.