Are All Montessori Schools the Same???

One unfortunate aspect of Montessori School is that because no one “owns” the term or title, anyone may create a pre- school, place a Cinderella tower in the corner and call themselves “ Montessori” There are a plethora of fantastic and amazing Montessori schools to choose from… There are also a few of less than-excellent schools, which, sadly, contribute to the spread of misunderstanding and disinformation about what Montessori is and how it operates.

People frequently tell me that they dislike the Montessori Method because of a horrible experience they, or their sister, or their best friend’s bother’s buddy had with a specific school. One popular misconception about Montessori is that it is all about letting kids be wild and do whatever they want, whenever they want. One person informed me that her sister had pulled her children out of a Montessori school because she felt it was too rigorous and didn’t allow for creative expression. Anyone familiar with Maria Montessori’s philosophy realizes that these are not examples of “Montessori” that have been executed.

The Truth is that a Montessori education , when done correctly, results in children learning inner discipline as a result of their complete independence inside a well designed and managed environment. Rather than being afraid of their teachers, these youngsters learn to respect them because they feel understood and cared for. And Montessori is one of the best forms of education I’m aware of for nurturing and expressing creativity, because the child is in charge of his or her own comic books in his Montessori. I asked a kid about project that helped him practise his creativity, story-telling, handwriting and other skills. He told me many thing but one stuck out. Which I will tell you later in this article.

So, How can a parent tell which school are “good” and which aren’t? It’s difficult, especially if you’re fresh to the Montessori method. While looking for the proper preschool for my own toddler, I recently went through the process of visiting and studying many schools in the neighbourhood. As I compared schools, some of which were wonderful and others which were disappointing, the following sprang to mind as “markers” to look for:-

Classroom “ Schedule” One of the first question I like to ask is bout the children’s daily “ Schedule” at School. Maria Montessori was emphatic on the importance of giving the children a full three hours of uninterrupted, unplanned work time. This is three hours of uninterrupted work time or a lecture from the teacher or guide, with no outside interruptions (such as forced circle time in which all children must participate, or any other planned activity decided upon by adult). Some schools only allow for a single hour of free work time, snack, circle time and other scheduled activities to fill the rest of the morning. The problem with a short free work hour is that the kids never get a chance to truly focus on their task. I use to work at a school where the students were only given one hour to complete their assignments and the kids took out nervous energy by hopping from one brief activity to the next, and the hour was a steady buzz of activity. It was to see someone completely unfocused let alone anyone who wanted to participate in a more complicated activity because they didn’t think they have the time to accomplish it.

I’ve seen a few schools that give kids 2 or 2.5 hours of free work time, which is a step forward. But then I went to a school that adhered to the full 3- hours work period. I entered a primary classroom. Yes 5-year-old can count to 100 and some even to a thousand. As they were taught to add a word in front to the word that flowed from one to one hundred. I saw kids working together on a building project, their imagination of how spaghetti when grouped together will prevent the bridge from falling it will even prevent the walls from breaking when later they paint it. To them it was not the weight put on the bridge that broke the bridge but the pressure from the pain brush. Later on this concept was corrected by an older child explaining to the younger one that any kind of pressure be it a brush or weight can break a single strand of spaghetti. The serenity and concentration were incredible.

It can be difficult to locate a preschool that dedicates a full 3 hours of free work time, but I strongly advise you to look for one.

Coming soon

Mixed age groups

Homework and Motivation

Observe the classroom

How does the classroom make you feel.

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