Many parents who choose Montessori for their preschoolers want their children to continue Montessori through kindergarten if it is available. Some parents look upon Montessori as a preschool preparation for public kindergarten. These parents feel a Montessori school is a place where a very young child can be taken care of until he/she is old enough for public school. However, children who don’t continue Montessori through kindergarten children actually miss a very fruitful part of the Montessori experience.
It will be helpful to begin by observing four-year olds in the Montessori classroom. Parents should seek answers to the following questions: 1) Is my child comfortable and happy? 2) How does he/she interact with other children? 3) Does he/she choose his/her own activities? 4) How long can he/she concentrate? 5) What math exercises can he/she do? and 6) What reading or language activities has he/she begun?
After getting answers to the previous questions, parents should visit the public kindergarten. They should observe a public kindergarten to ascertain the following: 1) Do the children enjoy learning? 2) How long do they concentrate? 3) What math and reading exercises are available? 4) What art, music and nature activities are in the classroom? and 5) Are there opportunities for independent work and for leadership?
The next step in this sequence is to re-visit the Montessori school. This time, rather than watching their respective children, look at the classroom as a whole and particularly at what the five-year olds are doing. Compare them with the five-year olds in the public school. What are they doing in math and reading? Are they leaders? Are they self-confident? Is the classroom a happy place for learning? After this series of observations, parents should give careful thought to the long-range as well as the immediate advantages of one program over another.
At Arbor View Montessori the opportunity to learn to read at his/her own pace is one of the most important advantage for the five-year old in the Montessori classroom. He/she receives individual help as he/she works with the reading materials. As he/she masters the phonetic skills, the reading corner invites him/her to spend comfortable hours with books that he/she selects him/herself, thus fostering his/her desire to read.
Many children begin reading and math at age four, but the most exciting work is done when they are five. If parents transfer their child before this year of fruition, they will probably lose the best return on their financial investment in pre-school education. When parents select a school for their child, the important thing to remember is that as parents, they are the only people who should make this decision. Parents, best understand their child=s needs and have the maturity to judge the available programs and the wisdom to choose the school which offers the best opportunities.