The laws and regulations that govern public schools in California are the same across the board. The rules related to attendance, teacher certification, and curriculum are the same for public schools throughout the state of California. If you are thinking about sending your child to a private Montessori school, you may be wondering if there are any state mandated regulations that apply to those programs. Private Montessori programs are not required to follow the same mandates a public schools. When it comes to teacher training, curriculum design, and enrichment programs, Montessori schools have much more freedom than public schools.
Teachers in private Montessori programs do not have to be certified by the state of California. The state guideline simply says that teachers in private schools must be ‘persons capable of teaching’. This leaves it up to the Montessori programs to decide on the standards for their teachers. Montessori programs can choose to have teachers get certified through the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). The MACTE is a teacher training program that is specifically designed to train teachers in the Montessori Method. It is wise to choose a Montessori program that uses a teacher training program that is focused on the Montessori Method.
California public school districts have specific guidelines when it comes to curriculum. The design of the public school system is to ensure that every student in the system has access to the same education. This sounds good in theory but is troublesome in reality because not every student is the same. Private Montessori programs are not governed by the state when it comes to curriculum and are not required to adopt California’s content standards. Montessori programs have the freedom to tailor the curriculum to the needs of students. It is a core tenet of the Montessori Philosophy that every student has unique educational needs – this means that there is not a one-size-fits-all curriculum. If you want to ensure that you choose a Montessori Program that holds their curriculum up to the highest standards, look for programs that are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS). Both are optional and show that the Montessori school is committed to excellence.
There are no state mandated enrichment programs for Montessori schools. Private Montessori programs have the freedom to choose which enrichment opportunities they want to provide. For example, Fountainhead Montessori School offers language immersion programs as an option. Private programs do not have to deal with the red tape that is involved in bringing a new enrichment program to the school.
The lack of state mandated regulations for private Montessori programs gives the teachers and administration in the programs more freedom than those who work in public schools. It can be concerning to think about sending your child to a school with no defined standards. The solution to that issue is to look at Montessori programs that are accredited by the WASC and affiliated with the AMS. You can rest assured that the schools that take the extra steps to become affiliated with these programs are dedicated to providing your child with a quality education.