Frequently Asked Questions
What are the differences between Montessori and Traditional programs?
In a traditional program, students are grouped together by age and the teacher has a dominant role in the classroom. The curriculum is structured and the students are given specific time frames to master concepts. The children are guided to learning by a teacher and their work is assessed and graded.
In Montessori education, students are grouped together in mixed ages and the teacher has an unobtrusive role in the classroom. The children are active participants in their own learning rather than just spectators. Each child is free to choose their own work and learn at a pace they feel comfortable with. In the Montessori program, children's work is not graded; instead they recognize their errors through self-correcting materials.
Why are children of different ages grouped together?
One of the key principles of Montessori education is the mixed-age grouping. In a multi-age classroom, the children are able to learn from each other. In many ways it is easier for children to learn concepts from other children than from an adult. Younger children are able to learn from older children who are already competent in a task and older children gain compassion and patience from helping younger children learn. Multi-age grouping allows the Montessori teacher to treat every child as an individual with individual needs and aptitudes.
Why is the program 5 days a week?
Five-day programs create consistency that is important to young children. The primary goal of Montessori is to create a culture of order, empowerment, and consistency. By following these guidelines it is a priority for the program to run five days per week. We can make exceptions if there are financial or time constraints on an individual case basis and when there is availability.
Why is Montessori so expensive?
Montessori is not always more expensive than traditional schools, the tuition cost depends on many factors. These factors include the cost of the building, teacher salaries, and the range of programs offered by the school. Typically Montessori programs are more expensive to organize and run due to the expensive teacher education required and the cost of purchasing specialized materials. Additional costs such as these are reflected in the tuition.
Why does Montessori education start at such a young age?
The Montessori environment for children between the ages of two and six is designed to work with the absorbent mind and the tendencies of the child at this state of development. During this period, learning takes place without effort and Montessori education helps young children to become motivated, disciplined, and helps them develop a joy of education that prepares them for future training.
The Montessori experience is preferably a three-year cycle and it works best when children enter at age two or three so they can become consistent in their learning and absorb the skills, work habits, and values that Montessori provides. Because of the individualized pace of Montessori learning, children entering at age four or five might do quite well but could have missed out on some critical opportunities. Although the education starts young, Montessori training is not strictly limited to early childhood.
Is Montessori appropriate for all children?
Yes, the Montessori Method has no distinction of culture and intelligence and has been used successfully in all parts of the world. It is designed to help ALL children in reaching their fullest potential and is an appropriate method for all children including those that, in other programs, would be considered to be gifted or learning disabled.
In a classroom where the children have varying abilities, the children are able to learn from each other and contribute productively without feeling like they are "ahead" or "behind" the rest of the class.
Will my child be able to adjust to traditional schools?
There is nothing in the Montessori program that causes children to have difficulty adjusting to traditional schools. However, every child is different and some are able to succeed in any educational environment while others may have difficulty meeting their needs in a teacher-centered classroom. Most children are able to adapt quickly and soon find success within their new school.
Research shows that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally. They typically score well on standardized tests and excel in their school environment.
At West End & Highlands Montessori we have also designed a scaffolded Kinder Prep program within operations to ensure the transition to regular schooling is smooth.
Is Montessori elitist?
No, Montessori is not elitist. Montessori schools strive to create a diverse student body by welcoming children of every ethnic background, religion, and economic status. The Montessori educational philosophy has been widely adapted and can be sound in all sorts of settings ranging from modest one-room schools to large and expansive campuses.
How do Montessori teachers meet the needs of so many children?
Dr. Montessori believed that teachers should focus on the child as a person rather than on the daily lesson plan. To this point, Montessori teachers will not normally spend much time teaching lessons to the entire class; instead lessons are presented to small groups. Since Montessori teachers work with students for more than one year, they are able to learn the specific learning style of each student and can closely monitor their progress within the classroom.
How is discipline dealt with in Montessori schools?
Montessori schools believe that discipline should come from inside rather than being imposed by others. In the Montessori environment, children are allowed to be free which helps them develop confidence and control over their own actions. Montessori teachers will only intervene if the behavior of the child becomes upsetting or is disruptive to others. In these situations, the child is handled with great respect and sensitivity rather than relying on rewards and punishment.
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