Choosing a Montessori education for your child is a good step toward helping him become be an independent and happy adult. But how do you know if the Montessori school you are considering is the right one for your child? Although they embrace the same methodology and philosophy, each Montessori school is different. Finding the one that best fits your child’s needs, personality, and learning style requires some careful reflection. Let’s look at some factors to consider when looking for the right Montessori school for your child.
How to Choose the Right Montessori School for Your Child: Experience it Yourself
Some schools are more traditional, choosing to remain true to the original Montessori philosophy and practices and not deviating from how Dr. Montessori presented the methodology over 100 years ago. Other schools are more flexible, taking into account changes in culture, research, and technology and incorporating these into the school’s culture. Before visiting a Montessori school, ask about the school’s vision or mission statement. Be sure the philosophy of the school matches your personal parenting philosophy.
Dr. Montessori was very precise about the responsibilities of her teachers. Her method was specialized and she wanted teachers to receive training specific to the method. When choosing a school, ask about the qualifications of their teachers. All teachers should have or be in the process of obtaining their Montessori training. The administrative team should have a background in Montessori, as well.
Using Your Senses
Maria Montessori believed that education occurred through the refinement of the senses. When visiting a potential Montessori school, use your senses to understand the environment.
- Observe the environment. Is it neat and orderly? Is it free from clutter and distractions? Are the Montessori materials prominently displayed? Is there plenty of floor space for children to spread out and work?
- Look, too, at the children. Are they smiling and happy? Are they working intently or wandering around? Are they actively working with and engaging with the Montessori materials or are they doing worksheets and workbooks?
- Close your eyes and listen. Notice not only what is being said, but how it is being said. Is there respect for the child? Are there choices being offered? Do you hear words of encouragement or words of punishment? Is there laughter and joy?
- Is this someplace you would want to be every day? Would you have liked it as a child? Does it feel homey and secure? Do you feel welcome and safe? Imagine your child attending and learning there. How does he greet you at the end of the day? Is he happy or will he dread returning the next day?
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. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.