With lots of different options for early education settings, it can be difficult to know what kind of environment to choose for your young child. It’s good to explore your options and understand the differences in the types of educational philosophies available to make the best decision for your child and family. As you are researching, you may determine that Montessori preschool is a good option for your child.
What is Montessori?
Montessori is an educational philosophy developed in the early 1900s by an Italian doctor, Maria Montessori. While working with young children, she created the Montessori method through observing children and their development. She developed an approach to education that uses hands-on learning, respect for the child and holistic learning that focuses on every part of the child, not just the academic sides. Her materials and philosophy have been proven effective through scientific studies and the test of time.
What to Expect in a Montessori Classroom
When you see a Montessori classroom in action for the first time, it can seem rather unusual. First of all, the classroom is made up of mixed-ages of children. They are grouped by their developmental stages rather than a single calendar year. Children are given one-on-one lessons with each of the materials in the classroom. When a child is not receiving a lesson from the teacher, they are practicing lessons they have already been given. The Montessori classroom is very lively since all the children are actively engaged with independent learning. If you take a peek into a Montessori classroom, you may see children:
- working independently at tables or on floor rugs
- preparing snacks for themselves or friends
- washing tables, windows, floors or shoes as part of their practical life lessons
- older children helping younger children
- cutting flowers for flower arranging
- receiving lessons from the teacher
- working in a garden or watering plants
- setting up and putting away their work one at a time to keep an orderly classroom
- painting, cutting or gluing art materials
- practicing gross motor skills with balancing activities or movement lessons
As long as they have received the lesson and no one else is using the materials, children can freely choose the activities they would like to practice. This freedom means the children take ownership over their work and remain more engaged than if the teacher always guided their lessons. Children in this type of environment find great satisfaction and joy in their work since they are such an active participant in their learning.
The core subjects of a Montessori classroom are practical life, sensorial, math and language. In addition to these, children learn lessons in science, geography, art, peace education, music and movement. Many Montessori schools also include enrichment programs such as language immersion to teach children an additional language. Social and emotional lessons are also built into the Montessori classroom by design.
Our staff at Fountainhead Montessori is excited to discuss all the offerings of our program with you and your family. Contact us today to see if a Montessori preschool is a good option for your child.