Parents who have decided that they would like a Montessori education for their children must think carefully about how to select Montessori school if they are to ensure that their children actually receive the education they want.
In some cases, preschools that claim to be Montessori do not actually follow true Montessori principles or structure.
There are some key questions to remember when thinking about how to select Montessori school. Before visiting any school, it can pay to contact the staff and ask these three questions to ascertain whether the school is truly a Montessori one.
Every Montessori preschool is accredited by a Montessori organization so ask which one the preschool in question is linked with. Being accredited means the preschool is following a true Montessori philosophy. This information is also often available on the internet from either the preschool’s website or the website of the accrediting organization.
The qualifications of the teachers are also important and a good Montessori preschool will mainly employ teachers who have specific Montessori qualifications or credentials to ensure they properly understand the principles and practices used at the preschool. While some teachers may be employed even though they do not have Montessori credentials in order to increase staff numbers and reduce staff to child ratios, it is important that the majority of staff have Montessori training.
It can also be useful to find out how long each teacher has worked at the preschool to gauge how stable the staffing at the preschool is and how much previous experience each teacher has teaching in a Montessori environment.
If the preschool can answer these questions satisfactorily, then the next step is to visit the school in person to experience it firsthand. During the visit, it is important to look for certain factors that will indicate whether the school is following Montessori principles.
At a Montessori preschool children are free to choose their own activities and work independently, so during a classroom visit parents should observe children being able to decide on their activity and complete it at their own pace rather than being overly guided by a teacher. A good Montessori preschool will have activities pertaining to all areas of the curriculum on offer for the whole session.
A Montessori classroom should always be busy with children focused on and engaged with activities, but the environment should be peaceful and calm. A Montessori classroom should resound with the sound of activity flowing through the classroom, but not with the sound of arguing or whining.
During a classroom visit, it is also important to observe the teachers and how they interact with the children. At a Montessori preschool, teachers treat children with respect by using gentle voices and listening to their opinions and allowing them to lead.
Choosing a Montessori education for a child is a big decision for parents, so it is important to know how to select Montessori school and make the right choice. This information can help parents to find the right Montessori preschool for their child, which can form the basis of a lifelong love of learning.