As a parent, choosing a preschool for your child is a big decision, especially when it comes to schools that have a different approach to education, such as Montessori. Here are some of the common questions that might help demystify some of the facets of the Montessori approach to education.
1. Is Montessori for every child?
The short answer is yes! The Montessori approach has been used successfully with children from all socioeconomic levels. This includes those in regular classes as well as the gifted, children with developmental delays, and children with emotional and physical disabilities. All children are unique, and Montessori offers an individual programme tailored to the strengths and challenges of each child, to help them learn according to their interests and at their own pace.
2. Does Montessori follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools. Many of the subjects are similar, such as math, science, history, geography and language, which are presented through an integrated approach that combines separate strands of the curriculum together.
3. Will my child be able to adjust to a traditional school after Montessori?
Many Montessori students will eventually switch to another type of school. Montessori children generally thrive in any school, work or social situation, because they have fostered a love for learning, as well as the ability to focus, cooperate and work independently.
4. Can my child stay in a Montessori school throughout primary and high school?
It’s a common misconception that the Montessori approach is only for younger preschool aged children, and that they should go to a more conventional school once they get older. Research has shown that Montessori students consistently outperform those from traditional schools in social, moral, cognitive and emotional levels throughout their entire school life. While children can certainly adapt to a different schooling system, there are many Montessori schools across South Africa that offer primary and high school options.
5. Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Over and above scoring well on standardised academic tests, Montessori children are ranked above average when it comes to directions, meeting deadlines, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, adapting to change and new situations, and showing an innate love for learning. Montessori graduates range from the founders of Google, Amazon.com, the youngest Rhodes scholar, to the youngest artist to ever exhibit at the United Nations.
6. Why don’t Montessori schools have textbooks, homework or grades?
Montessori students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning, which is a vital step in fostering the child’s natural desire to learn. Children who are internally-motivated are more likely to become confident and responsible students and individuals, instead of the conventional model of threats and rewards. Montessori students do not receive grades or reports for their work and progress, as grades have proven to have little lasting effect on a child’s efforts or achievements. Instead, the Montessori approach nurtures the motivation from within. The Directress (Montessori teacher) closely and continuously observes and assesses each child’s progress and readiness to advance to new lessons.
Did we answer your questions?
We hope this information has helped answer any questions you may have had about the Montessori approach to education. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, feel free to contact LittleHill Montessori Preschool and we’d be happy to assist!