It’s back-to-school season and recent news has brought to light some important challenges facing families today — and many parents wonder where Montessori fits in. For example, Education Week recently published two articles on the Starting Age for School and Transitioning to Kindergarten. These are great reads (and important topics), but focus on several issues the Montessori method inherently addresses.
The inner drive to learn and develop is the core contrast between Montessori and conventional schools. Montessori schools foster the child’s inherent love for learning through hands-on, self-paced, collaborative and joyful learning. School readiness is naturally addressed by utilizing mixed age classrooms — a hallmark of a Montessori classroom — allowing older students to become leaders, mentors and to help teach lessons. This happens while younger students have the experience of working with older classmates, whom they look up to. For example, our primary program serves children from age 3 to 6.
The teacher moves around the room working one-on-one with students rather than using a one size fits all approach. The age mix also allows a child working on addition, for example, to sit near a child working on multiplication. In the environment, each child can see what they will be learning in the near future and solidify what they’ve learned in the past, while connecting the dots of why they are learning, what they’re learning and how it fits into the big picture. Understanding the big picture allows students to take ownership of their learning, a critical element in fostering each child’s love for learning.
Montessori students follow their interests, wherever that passion leads and as quickly as that passion leads them — regardless of what other children in that same classroom are working on. This unique educational environment allows children to flourish when transitioning to a traditional educational environment as they have solidified a foundation in their love for learning with a high level of self-confidence built through their leadership role in the classroom.
The articles mentioned (and other recent headlines) point out similar benefits of peer-to-peer learning, caution against ‘redshirting’ children born after the kindergarten cutoff date, and even mention initiatives transitional public schools are looking at to increase student preparedness. And we couldn’t agree more with these points, but observe that Montessori parents overcome or avoid these types of challenges through our approach.
While the Montessori philosophy has been around for more than a century, it still only makes up a small (but rapidly growing) portion of the entire education system. As such, we see less mainstream news and information about Montessori and the benefits, but encourage everyone to learn more about the philosophy and its accompanying methodology that provides the necessary ingredients that meet and exceed academic, social, emotional, spiritual, and academic challenges of early childhood.
In the meantime, we tip our hats to the journalists addressing these tough topics and critical issues for parents. This news is more important now than ever, and we look forward to sharing great articles like these in the future.
If any questions arise from recent news or if you have questions and would like to learn more about our Montessori way of life, please contact us or explore our website — including our resources and news page for useful information. Our latest insights are particularly helpful for new parents transitioning children into a Montessori environment — click here.