If you think your child’s first school is important, you are right!
If you think it will determine how they feel about teachers, learning, and well-being, you are right again!
But, if you believe that choosing the right Montessori school is the only factor that will have a long-term impact on your child’s social and emotional development, eventually determining whether they’ll be a dog or a cat person, who they’ll marry, how many children they’ll have, and…
Woah! Just stop right there!
Because before we share a completely stress-free guide to finding the right Montessori for your kid, we need to prevent this train wreck.
While choosing the right Montessori school is important, it’s not the only factor that determines their career path and lifelong success.
However, it is still the first stepping stone into the world of academia and is basically their first early childhood education experience, which is why it deserves some time, research, and careful observation. A school is not a life-and-death scenario.
Your child’s school will impact their personality – but that’s not the only factor that will determine their career, happiness, and success. Anxiety-induced hyperventilation, breathing into a paper bag to calm your nerves, and desperately searching for ‘Montessori schools near me’ will only lead to unnecessary stress and arguments at home.
Instead, approach the issue with a calm and clear mind, and begin by understanding your selected approach.
Understanding Montessori education
So you have picked the Montessori approach—an excellent choice, if I may say so myself. This method of education is credited to Maria Montessori, an educator and Italian physician who believed in encouraging children to explore their natural interests to encourage learning and independence. Today, many schools use her child-led approach to encourage hands-on learning in the classroom.
So, whether you are looking for a Montessori daycare, a Montessori nursery, or a Montessori school, you should understand the philosophy behind their teaching method.
Visit schools with an open mind
Take time to visit the schools you are interested in. Observe the classroom and ask questions that concern you and your child. Focus on a school that works with your child’s personality. Try to see if the schools follow the five Montessori principles.
What are the five principles of Montessori?
The five principles of Montessori are
- Respect for the child: Montessori education is based on a deep respect for the child and their unique developmental needs.
- Prepared Environment: Montessori classrooms are structured and organised to promote independence, order, and concentration. Children will learn to clean up after themselves and use an indoor voice.
- Sensorial Education: Montessori utilises sensory materials to help children understand abstract concepts.
- Follow the child: Montessori emphasises individualised learning, allowing children to work at their own pace and on their interests.
- Normalisation: Montessori classrooms foster a sense of community and collaboration, encouraging children to work together and respect each other, leading to the normalisation of behaviour.
Essential qualities of a Montessori school that you should focus on
Great! So, you have a few schools that you absolutely love. You can ensure that you pick an ideal setup by focusing on these characteristics, or essential qualities. If they are present in a classroom setup, they can help your child grow and learn.
A child-centred approach can provide individualised learning, allowing children to work at their own pace and on their interests, with multi-age classrooms, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and mentoring of different ages.
Classroom material and structure
This would also mean more hands-on materials for children, like safety scissors, toys, and materials that help them understand abstract concepts. The classrooms would be structured and organised to promote independence, order, and concentration. Last but not least, the environment should be one where your child feels safe, confident, and respected.
How do I prepare my child for Montessori school?
Starting a new school can be exciting and daunting for a child. You can help give him a head start and boost his confidence by incorporating Montessori principles at home. Lovevery, a fast-growing early childhood brand, has just the kits for you. You can foster a love of learning and engage in hands-on activities through their stage-based materials that can help your child develop cognitive and motor skills as well as improve their language development and early STEM skills- just in time for school!
You can also encourage independence by letting your child perform daily tasks, like putting on a shirt, or cleaning up their toys. (That last one is quite a challenge.)
And of course, talk to your kiddo. Visit the school and let them observe the premises. Drive by and wave at the building. Allow them to choose their outfits and backpacks, and validate their feelings when they express concern or anxiety.
Is my child ready? What is the best age to start Montessori school?
Dropping off your kid at daycare or school for the first time is one of the hardest parts of parenting. How do you know if they’re ready? Will they be okay?
Well, the best age to start Montessori school is typically between 2.5 and 3 years old. That is because, at this age, children are beginning to develop a sense of independence and a desire to learn, making it an ideal time to start a Montessori education.
The specific age to start depends on the individual needs and interests of the child and the programs offered by the Montessori school. It’s best to talk to the school and observe your child’s development to determine the best starting age.
Do Montessori kids do better in life?
And here we come back to our success and the happiness of the child. The impact of Montessori education on children’s success in life is the subject of ongoing research and debate. Some studies have shown that Montessori students tend to perform well academically and have strong social-emotional skills, as well as score higher in well-being in comparison to kids who didn’t opt for the Montessori approach.
They are often creative, independent, and confident learners who have a “lifelong love of learning.
It is important to note that your child’s success in life is influenced by a multitude of factors, including family background, personality traits, experiences outside of school, and lemons life throws your way. A Montessori education equips kids with the tools they need to stand to stand tall, be independent, and make some awesome lemonade.