Choosing the right preschool for your child can be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to schools that have a different approach to education, such as Montessori. To help put your mind at ease, we’re answering a few common questions we get around our Montessori Preschool.
At what age should my child start Montessori?
The Montessori method is designed to cater to children across various age groups, providing a tailored approach to learning that meets each child’s developmental needs. The early years of your little one’s development are the most crucial, and Montessori emphasises creating a strong foundation for them during this critical time.
As such, starting a child in Montessori at a young age allows them to benefit from the foundational principles of the method. LittleHill Montessori caters to children from the ages of 18 months to 6 years old, providing them with the Montessori foundation that ensures they develop into capable and knowledgeable individuals.
What factors should I consider when looking for a Montessori preschool?
When choosing the right preschool, you want to make sure you select a school that cares about your little one’s growth and development just as much as you do! Here are a few quick factors to consider when choosing a preschool for your child:
Accreditation and Certification: Make sure that the Montessori preschool is accredited by reputable organisations and is equipped to deliver an authentic Montessori experience for your child. For example, LittleHill Montessori is a member of the South African Montessori Association (SAMA), which ensures an authentic experience.
A Prepared Learning Environment: Another big factor in providing this authentic Montessori experience is ensuring that the classroom is equipped to nurture your little one’s independence and learning habits. A well-prepared classroom should be organised, neat, and feature age-appropriate materials that encourage hands-on learning.
Curriculum Flexibility: Montessori education emphasises a child-centred, individualised approach to learning. Find out about the flexibility of the school’s curriculum to ensure the unique learning needs of your child are accommodated.
Will my child learn academic subjects in a Montessori school?
Montessori schools teach the same subjects as traditional schools, which include Maths, Science and History. However, Montessori offers a holistic approach to education, weaving in different aspects of the curriculum to give your child a broader framework that naturally connects different areas of learning. An example is when the teacher introduces multi-sensory sound boxes, each containing objects that make a distinct sound. For example, the “S” box might include a snake toy, a seashell, and a sock. Children explore the contents of each box, not only associating the initial sound with the letter but also engaging their sense of touch, sight, and sound simultaneously.
How is discipline dealt with in a Montessori classroom?
A common misconception is that children are allowed to run free with no disciplinary action to keep them in check. While this is not the case, the Montessori classroom approaches discipline in a way that aligns with the overall philosophy of the Montessori method, emphasising respect for the child and their independence. “Freedom within limits” is a principle applied within the Montessori classroom, which encourages children to make choices independently within clearly defined boundaries. Additionally, Montessori educators often allow natural consequences to unfold. This approach helps children learn cause and effect, responsibility and problem-solving skills. For example, if a child spills water while pouring, the natural consequence is that they need to clean it up.
How can I support my child’s learning at home?
Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom! Supporting your child’s Montessori journey at home is crucial for reinforcing the principles of Montessori education and fostering a love of learning. Here are a few ways you can support them:
A Prepared Environment: Create a prepared environment by offering your little one a designated space at home that is conducive to focused, independent learning. Make sure you include age-appropriate books, materials and activities.
Cultivate Independence: Encourage independence by allowing your child to take responsibility for daily tasks. This can include dressing themselves, preparing simple snacks and cleaning up after themselves.
Follow Your Child’s Interests: Pay attention to what your child loves and incorporate it into related activities at home. For example, if they love animals, you could provide them with books about animals, go for a nature walk or set up activities related to learning about different species.
Have we answered your questions?
Choosing the right Montessori preschool for your child will provide them with the necessary foundation to succeed. We hope this information has helped answer any questions you may have, putting your mind at ease as you and your little one embark on this exciting journey. If you have a question we haven’t answered here, feel free to contact LittleHill Montessori, and we’d be happy to assist.