Unique Characteristics of a Montessori Preschool

19, Jun 2023

Almost any preschool you encounter will have some common pieces: loving teachers, safety protocols, recess and meal time to name a few. Montessori preschools, however, have some unique characteristics that set them apart from other types of early childcare settings. While often widely misunderstood, the Montessori method has a proven and holistic approach to teaching young children that has been used for over a century.

Mixed-Age Classes

A primary Montessori classroom typically consists of children aged 2.5-6, allowing children to remain with a teacher and group of children for multiple years. Dr. Montessori realized the advantage of placing children in classrooms with a range of children in their developmental stage. By mixing older and younger children together, she recognized how children can help and learn from each other. Older children can model classroom behaviors to teach the younger ones. This kind of camaraderie provides a sense of responsibility and encourages independence so the children are not solely dependent on the teacher. The community formed by this type of inter-dependence increases social emotional learning and self-esteem in a unique way.

Hands-On Learning

All the materials in a Montessori classroom serve an intended purpose and help to make abstract concepts more concrete to young children. From the practical life to math lessons, children use their hands to engage in learning. Studies have shown that this hand-to-brain interaction deepens a child’s understanding and increases their focus. Rather than teaching a verbal-only lesson to the child, they learn by doing. This type of learning is more effective and interactive for the children.

Individualized Instruction

Montessori teachers rarely teach whole group lessons to the class. Rather, each child receives individualized instruction on each lesson as they master the previous skills. While teachers are working with other students, the child practices lessons previously given. This type of environment teaches the child independence and responsibility, while also ensuring they fully learn the concepts before moving on. Children are able to spend as much time as necessary to master the concepts, and children who learn quickly can continue to be challenged by more difficult lessons. This individualized instruction is one of the aspects of Montessori that set it apart the most.

Whole Child Learning

Another unique characteristic of a Montessori preschool is the emphasis on the education of the whole child. Beyond teaching letters and numbers, Montessori students are given explicit lessons on emotional learning, caring for themselves and their environment and interpersonal skills. Through lessons in geography, science, music, art and movement, children are exposed to a wide range of unique subjects that they may not otherwise encounter. The emphasis on whole child learning helps young children learn important life skills that they will use from this point forward and is one of the hallmark characteristics of a Montessori preschool.

The Montessori approach to learning is truly unlike any other. Our teachers at Fountainhead Montessori fully understand the complex needs of young students. By providing a holistic approach to education, children learn important skills they take with them the rest of their lives. Contact us today to schedule a tour to see if Fountainhead will be a good fit for your family.

A Parents Guide To Montessori Education

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What is Montessori Learning?
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A parent's guide to a Montessori Education for your child
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