Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Parent's Guide to Choosing the Right Montessori School

NAMC montessori teacher and student choosing the right montessori school parent's guide Early registration and planning ahead is not unique to my Montessori school. It happens every year at every Montessori school around the world. Parents want the best education for their children and will do just about everything possible to obtain it for them.

You are fortunate if you live in an area that has several Montessori schools from which to choose. However, do not assume that all Montessori schools are created equal. The name “Montessori” refers to the method and philosophy of education adopted by the school. It is not a franchise or patented, and although most schools strive to remain true to the teachings of Dr. Montessori, there are variations of Montessori schools.

So, how do you know if you’ve found the right Montessori school for your child?

A Helpful Guide for Parents in Choosing the Right Montessori School 

I’ve come up with a few tips and guidelines that will hopefully make your selection process easier. When visiting a school look for the following:

The Montessori Learning Environment…
  • is bright, warm, inviting and filled with Montessori materials, maps, charts, music, art, plants;
  • is free from rows of student desks. The classroom’s physical structure should lend itself to student discussions and collaborative learning;
  • is organized by curricular areas: language arts, math and geometry, geography, science, history, art, practical (everyday) life skills, as well as a having a classroom library or reading area;
  • has child-size furniture and toileting facilities are available;
  • is composed of mixed-age groupings; and
  • has an extensive collection of Montessori materials and few toys.

NAMC montessori student work mat choosing the right montessori school parent's guide

Montessori Students…
  • are found working together around the room;
  • feel safe, comfortable and respected;
  • are actively engaged in learning;
  • are free to select activities and work; and
  • solve conflicts peacefully and respectfully.

Montessori Teachers…
  • are actively engaged with one or two children at a time, presenting small group lessons, or observing the class at work;
  • are Montessori-trained lead teachers (and hopefully the assistants are also Montessori-trained);
  • act as facilitators and mentors more often than engaging in direct instruction;
  • interact respectfully with children and adults; and
  • model peace, grace, and courtesy at all times.

It is important to schedule a time to formally visit and observe in the Montessori classroom.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.


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