Montessori schools and public schools all vary widely depending upon administration, teachers, families and other factors. Generally speaking, however, Montessori environments strive to help a child reach their full potential rather than focusing on grades. This does not mean, however, that Montessori education is less challenging than public school. Rather, it pushes the child to grow and learn to the fullest extent they are capable.
Self-Paced Learning: The Montessori Method follows the child’s abilities and interests. As a child fully masters a lesson, they move to the next one to build upon their skills. A Montessori teacher also observes the students to see if they show a particular interest in a subject. They can provide additional or more challenging instructions if the child is especially engaged in a subject for a period of time. This individualized instruction is a key difference between Montessori and public school education.
Independence in Learning: The students in a Montessori classroom are responsible for their own learning. Teachers provide lessons, but the students freely choose what to work on each day in the classroom. They learn to be highly independent as they practice making good choices and navigate the classroom on their own. This independent structure is very different from a public school where the teacher guides the whole class from one subject to another throughout the day.
Wholistic Education: The Montessori classroom has four main subjects: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language and Math. In addition to these, the students receive lessons in Geography, Grace & Courtesy, Science, Art, Music and Peace Education. Rather than just focusing on academics, the Montessori environment seeks to educate the whole child. Children coming from a Montessori education have real-life skills that go well beyond the academic learning they would receive from a public school classroom.
Montessori Classroom Expectations
Some may consider a Montessori education more challenging because of the expectations placed on children from a young age. Dr. Montessori believed, however, that young children thrive in an environment where they have the weight of responsibility. Children want to contribute to the world around them and enjoy tasks that adults often find mundane. For this reason, the Montessori classroom has some expectations that vary from the public school settings.
Care for the environment - Each student is responsible for keeping the classroom tidy, treating the materials with respect and cleaning up after themselves.
Care for self - Children are taught how to do tasks for themselves such as serving snack, cleaning off their face and dressing themselves.
Respect for everyone - The Montessori classroom only works if everyone shows mutual respect for each other. This includes helping when a need arises, not distracting others from their work and working out conflicts quickly.
Montessori education may be considered more challenging than public school in the sense that every child is pushed to their full extent. Teachers are trained to challenge students to choose works that make them use important problem-solving skills. These are not easy tasks. But they do motivate and provide students with a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. If a Montessori education seems like a good fit for your family, contact Fountainhead Montessori today for more information.