Have you heard of Montessori school before? Everywhere I look I’m seeing parenting bloggers outlining Montessori activities, homeschooling schedules, and homemade Montessori toys. From further research, I discovered Montessori is an amazing way to teach your child everyday life skills in a simplified way. Now, I’m applying at-home Montessori education concepts with my homeschooled teenagers.
What is Montessori School?
Montessori is a type of educational program developed by an Italian physician named Maria Montessori in 1907. Through her observations of children, Maria Montessori believed children are capable of teaching themselves.
Now there are specific schools dedicated to Montessori principles and education all over the world.
Children are typically placed into three-year age groups in a classroom setting. For instance, children aged 3-6 are grouped in one classroom, while children 6-9 are placed together in another classroom.
Instead of children being separated by grade level, knowledge, and capabilities, Montessori education believes younger children will learn from older children (three-year-old will observe, interact, and play with six-year old’s to learn about the world around them).
When you step into a traditional classroom, you will notice a couple of things.
- Children learn from behind a desk.
- Children are instructed by a teacher.
- School supplies like books are used for teaching concepts.
- Education is based on core subjects like math, reading, science, and more.
- Children normally learn individually.
One of the key principles of Montessori education is learning through the five senses. Children in traditional classrooms will learn through observing, reading, and listening only. A Montessori classroom looks entirely different.
In a Montessori classroom, children learn through interactive play. You will see children interacting with one another in groups and learning through hands-on play activities that activate all five senses.
Instead of teacher-led instruction, children are their own teachers. They are not expected to learn a particular subject at a certain time. The child sets his/her own learning goals and works at his/her own pace.
This makes it so that a Montessori education can be customized to each unique child, and can therefore even be a great homeschooling method to use.
The Benefits of Montessori schools
Research shows children who learned with Montessori principles are later better prepared for life socially, emotionally, and academically.
If that wasn’t enough, Montessori children tend to rank higher on standardized tests with above-average scores in categories such as directions, attentive listening skills, responsibility, and an enthusiasm for learning.
Along with increased positive life outcomes, there are also the following benefits of Montessori education:
- The pace of learning is determined by the child which fosters independence.
- Accommodates different learning styles.
- Hands-on interactive sensory play activities.
- Individualized learning helps children to self-regulate.
- Increases concentration and a love for learning because children can follow their interests.
- Activities help develop social and emotional skills.
- Teaches children how to recognize, correct, and learn from their errors.
- Helps develop leadership skills.
- Helps children engage with one another to help build peer relationships.
Although there are many benefits to having a child participate in Montessori education, it is worth mentioning some of the downfalls associated with Montessori.
Montessori schools are not available everywhere
While it would be nice to have your child’s public school incorporate Montessori principles and concepts, Montessori education is normally seen in a private school setting.
This type of specialized program is typically not seen in rural areas. Although it would be nice to have a Montessori school on every corner, depending on where you live Montessori may not be an option for your child because the closest school is hours away.
Montessori schools can be expensive
Since the Montessori Method is a private, admission only type of education the cost can be an extra burden for some families. The cost varies depending on the age of your child, the location of the school, and how often your child attends.
According to the North American Montessori schools, the median annual tuition for babies to toddlers for 6 hours a week is $3,003. Once a child reaches the age range between 12 and 18, the tuition caps at $10,671. If these numbers scare you a little, know that there are programs available to help with the cost of tuition.
Montessori may not be structured enough
While it’s a plus to have children learn at their own pace and independently, for some children (and adults) this type of education may not be structured enough.
It’s a simple fact some children crave and need extra structure, while others go with the flow and have no problems working in a semi-unstructured environment.
For some children with behavioral issues, Montessori may not provide enough structure to keep them motivated to learn. This may cause a child to become disruptive in class.
Is Montessori education a good fit for your child?
There are many great lasting benefits to a child’s development by participating in Montessori education. Is this type of education right for your family and child?
Only you can answer that because you know your child best! If you’re wanting a Montessori education for your child, consider two things: The proximity of a Montessori school and the cost of tuition.
If these two things cause strain on your family, remember there are always at-home Montessori methods you can begin applying today to help your child excel!
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