Montessori programs differ significantly from other programs in a number of ways. The design of the classroom, role of the teacher, and focus of the curriculum are all unique elements of the Montessori Method. The differences in the Montessori Philosophy are what draw families to Montessori programs. With so many significant differences, parents and caregivers often wonder about the practical design of Montessori programs. Common questions include: Is the Montessori classroom schedule significantly different from a public school? Do Montessori programs accommodate the schedules of working parents?
Is the Montessori classroom schedule significantly different from a public school classroom?
The daily schedule that you will find in a Montessori classroom is similar to what you will find at a public school. The school day starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon for school-aged children. Kids who attend a Montessori preschool may only go for a half-day. In the Montessori classroom, students will spend time learning independently and working in groups of various sizes. Throughout the day, students will also have opportunities to get in physical activity, eat lunch, and participate in enrichment activities. The rhythm of the day in the Montessori classroom is similar to the rhythm that you will find in other types of schools. The major differences are found in the approach to instruction and the level of independent learning students engage in. Here is an example of a daily schedule for lower elementary at Fountainhead Montessori School:
Lower Elementary Daily Schedule
8:30 AM: Arrival/Head to Class
8:35 - 8:45 AM: Classroom Meeting
8:45 - 11:45 AM: General group lessons and individual lessons (Grammar, Word Study, Math, Cultural, Geography, etc.). Each child will have their own work plan with their assignments for the week. Some assignments will be follow-up work and some will be individual lessons that will be given. Students have the flexibility to organize their work time as they would like.
11:45 - 12:00 PM: Yoga
12:00 - 1:00 PM: Lunch and Recess
1:00 - 3:00 PM: Afternoon Enrichments
3:00 - 3:30 PM: Closing Routines
3:30 PM: Dismissal
Do Montessori programs accommodate the schedules of working parents and caregivers?
Montessori education can provide your child with unique learning opportunities and set him or her up for success in both education and life. The reality is, however, that you have to find a program that works logistically with your life. Many caregivers have to work and can only consider programs that make it easy to get student's care before and after school. The schedule of most Montessori programs is similar to public schools: school starts in the mornings and ends in the afternoons. If you work hours outside of 8:30 am to 3:30 pm then you will need to make arrangements for childcare – whether your child is in public school or a Montessori program. Montessori programs like the one you will find at Fountainhead Montessori School have options for before and aftercare to accommodate the needs of working parents and caregivers. It is convenient to have your child in before and aftercare at the same place he or she attends school. This eliminates the issues of finding transportation for your child to and from school. It can also provide your child with more consistency in care and learning.
The Montessori classroom and school schedule are designed to accommodate the needs of students and their families. There are some variations in the schedules based on age. You can learn more about the specific schedule for your child’s age group by visiting the Fountainhead Montessori School website and exploring the page that coincides with your child’s age.