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criticism of Montessori method

Criticism of Montessori Method: 7 Truths About Student-Centered Learning

Finding the best school that can offer quality education to your children is a vision for all parents. It is important that you choose a school that matches the educational philosophies that you wish to imbue on your children. The Montessori Method is one of those that had been highly regarded in the industry, both by parents and educators alike. But this method isn’t free of negative criticisms either. In fact, there are quite a few criticisms of Montessori Method that any parent should know about.

Just because there are criticisms or perceived negatives of Montessori, it does not mean that all of these assumptions are true. There are several unique approaches and methodologies that are offered by the Montessori teaching that is completely different from the traditional educational systems. This unique approach undoubtedly creates fear and doubt in the mind of parents. But you will get the chance to see if there is any weight to the assumptions of why Montessori is bad for your children.

Criticism #1 – The Montessori Environment is Chaotic

The Montessori environment promotes child-centered learning and interaction. It can often be busy and noisy, but that is not equivalent to chaotic. The noise and movement represents productive and purposeful activity among the children. Chaos is when there is disorganization only. In the Montessori classroom, the students are engaged in inquiry-based projects and learning since they are encouraged to share their interests with others. As a result, the children learn from each other instead of the traditional classroom setting wherein they are fed information by their teachers.

At Montessori, an active and busy classroom is a good sign. In fact, it is encouraged. This is how Montessori teaching fosters collaboration and learning among peers. The role of the teacher is to oversee everything to ensure that the activity is geared towards a goal.

Criticism #2 – The Montessori Method Lacks Curriculum

This is one of the biggest criticisms that the Montessori program has had over the years. For anyone who isn’t well informed about the educational principles of Montessori, it appears that the student-centered learning lacks curriculum and imposes no rules in the classroom. Neither of these is true.

Even when students are given more freedom with their activities, a Montessori classroom has a schedule to follow. There is also a structure on what activities children must participate in for the day. Every activity that is added into the curriculum is designed to present valuable learning opportunities for children.

negatives of montessori method

Aside from having a curriculum and schedule to follow, the Montessori program emphasizes the importance of discipline and respect within the classroom. Children are taught to interact with other students in a respectful manner. It also provides them a sense of independence as they explore learning within the classroom setting.

Criticism #3 – The Montessori Method Takes the Childhood Away

Another criticism of Montessori method involves the natural development of a child. According to the Montessori detractors, the educational philosophy of the program requires a child to use their cognitive thinking at such a young age. Ages 1 to 6 are known as the formative years for  a child, and with the student—centered learning approach, they fear that the children won’t be able to enjoy their childhood.

On the contrary, the Montessori approach is actually more beneficial for a child’s learning because it makes the process fun, engaging, and interactive. Traditional methods of teaching can be restricted to the curriculum. In a Montessori environment, the learning of a child does not come solely in the form of books. It can happen through games, activities, and other forms of social interaction. 

The activities are focused on sensory development and are chosen primarily to fit the child’s natural development. And it is not just intellectual and cognitive development that is promoted, their motor skills are also developed.

Criticism #4 – The Montessori Method is Suited Only for Preschoolers

When Maria Montessori introduced this unique teaching method, she designed it for preschoolers. She believed that this method of learning worked with a young mind’s inquisitive nature. She also believed that encouraging that inquisitiveness that is natural in a child will put them in the best position to learn as they enter a more formal setting of learning.

But as more schools have adopted her teaching philosophy, the program was expanded to encompass older children and adolescents. Even though the program was expanded, it had the same focus: to foster a child’s natural learning instinct to develop creative and socially-aware students capable of critical thinking and problem solving.

Criticism #5 – The Montessori Method Lacks Real-Life Significance

The goal of education in a classroom is to prepare your child for real life challenges. Many critics believe that the Montessori program is unable to do that. In fact, it is one of the biggest criticisms that make people believe why Montessori is bad for children – it cannot be replicated and does not have real life significance.

On the contrary, though, the Montessori Method is designed to develop valuable life skills that your children can use once they set out into the real world. At an early age, your child learns to become independent and to learn from others (while sharing their knowledge, too). It also develops a child’s natural leadership abilities. And if professional success is used as a yardstick for the success of the program, then there are many well-known former Montessori students who excelled in their respective careers.

Criticism #6 – There is a Lack of Scientific Evidence that Montessori Method is Better

There is no valid proof that Montessori is better than other schools or teaching methods. Montessori does not claim that the quality of education is better than other schools – public or private. In the same way, other schools and programs are unable to claim that the quality of education they can offer is better than Montessori.

What makes the Montessori method different, though, is its emphasis on creating an ideal learning environment that students love and enjoy. It is a creative approach that is not a good fit for all students. But students who attend Montessori develop more self-independence, self-discipline, and a keen interest for learning. While all educational approaches face criticism, the Montessori approach has weighed out the pros and cons of each style of teaching. And it has settled in one approach that will make students better prepared to not only succeed in school, but in life.

Criticism #7 – The Montessori Method is Expensive and Inaccessible

This is without question the biggest criticism of the Montessori Method out there – that this program is accessible only to the upper-class family who can afford it. This myth is untrue. Montessori schools are no different to other private schools. The Montessori program does not accept or reject students based on the income capacity of their parents. 

There is no denying that the Montessori program has reached a certain level of prestige. But this was achieved based on the unique approach to teaching and the quality of students produced from this educational philosophy, but never based on the socio-economic status of their families.

Montessori students are chosen based on the assessment of the child’s needs, as well. The thing that sets Montessori apart from other educational philosophies is that we want to ensure that our approach to teaching is the best fit for your child. This is how it is ensured that your child can have access to the best educational and social environment that facilitates learning.

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