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Frequently Asked Questions

"Why should I place my child in a Montessori school?  
Individualized learning establishes a more personal contact between the teacher, the child, and their work. The environment becomes the teacher, and the child's work is initiated by their own interest. The Montessori teaching method focuses on learning for understanding and produces students with greater self-confidence, independence, and enables each child to reach their own personal best level at all times. The emphasis is not on teaching a child but on providing the child's environment with appropriate material, and guidance so they can discover, on their own, how things work. 

“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.”   Ben Franklin

What is the primary goal of a Montessori education?
The primary goal of a Montessori education is presenting children with the opportunity and materials to enjoy and nurture the natural process of learning. Assisted by hands on materials, in a prepared environment, and with the guidance of a specially trained teacher the child learns self responsibility, how to think for themselves and come to their own conclusion.

What is the prepared environment?
The prepared environment is a physically well planned, organized classroom that contains specific hands on Montessori materials designed for children that: captures their attention and interest,  provides different skill levels, has a built-in control of error, and promotes independent work.

What is learning through the senses?
Montessori put great emphasis on the connection between the brain and movement, believing that, the senses and the muscles must all cooperate for learning to take place. This is why our children trace letters of sandpaper with their fingers in order to fix the path of the letter in the child’s muscular memory; count colorful beads to understand how many; build a tower of cubes in varying sizes to understand numbers, ratios and later, factions; sweep, pour, and scrub with child-sized tools, experience music through singing and instruments; create art with paint, chalk, and clay; plant a garden to watch with wonder and pride as it grows. Montessori believed that one should never give more to the brain than to the hand.

“The child has own intuitive aim: self-development. He wants to do and see and learn for himself, through his senses and not through the eyes of an adult.”   Maria Montessori

What is multi-age grouping?
Maria Montessori believed students taught in multi-aged groupings maximized the potential of their learning. The prepared environment is developmentally appropriate for each student regardless of their age or grade level; children are challenged according to their ability, pace and style of learning. She recognized that students learn better when they have role models they can turn to for assistance and when they are able to practice their skills by demonstrating to others. As many as two thirds of the children return for their second or third year, there is a strong sense of continuity in the classroom and new children joining the class experience an easy orientation into the group. Multi-aged grouping is based on a more family-oriented structure where difference is accepted, and nurturing is valued and encouraged.

What is the role of the teacher in a Montessori environment?
The child’s desire for learning comes from within. The Montessori teacher has been trained to observe the child, to recognize individual periods of readiness, and her priority is to help the child to help himself.

“We must give children service that assist development and not service that obstructs development.”   Maria Montessori

How will my child later adjust to a conventional classroom?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Each child is unique with different social and academic characteristics. Montessori students have a love of learning. They have been taught to be responsible, to think for themselves, how to work independently or in groups, they manage their time, and are problem solvers who can make choices. These skills will transfer to any school setting. Montessori parents have found that their children make a very smooth and successful transition to conventional education.

Comparison of Montessori and Conventional Education
 
                   Montessori                        Conventional

         Start School Early (2-3 years)                             Start School Late (5-6 years)

      Three year age range in a classroom                          One age (grade) in a classroom

       Freedom to move around the room                                       Seated at desks

              Family atmosphere                                                    Little socialization

      Individual and small group lessons                                     Large group lessons

              Self correcting materials                                  Teacher as source of answers

         Natural & logical consequences                                     Rewards & Punishments

         Child-centered schedule and                               Teacher/school centered schedule and                        
environment                                                                environment

            Long, free work periods                                              Planned activities

              Enhanced curriculum                                             Grade level curriculum

     Progress of student and mastery of                                      Peer comparison
              concepts as evaluation                                                  as test        
                    
             Emphasis on learning                                                 Emphasis on grades

           Emphasis on individuality                                        Emphasis on conformity

         Progress at individual rate                                           Annual promotion

         Emphasis on "self" control                                         Teacher as disciplinarian

              Peace in education                                                         Punishment

         Strong school/home ties                                          Little parent involvement

    Observation based progress report                                  Graded report cards
            and mastery of materials


              Freedom within limits                                             Controlling environment