Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should I send my child to a Montessori pre-school?
A. Most educators and psychologists today agree that the single most important period in development of a person’s intelligence occurs between birth and age five. A child’s mind is extremely absorbent and his/her curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated, the child’s mind forms patterns for learning that served him/her well throughout her life. The Montessori system of pre-school education has proven to be one of the most effective methods to guide a child throughout these critical years.
Q. What is a Montessori classroom like?
A. The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world. Whatever is in the outside can be incorporated meaningfully in the Montessori classroom. To a child, the world is unmanageable. It is too big, too complex, and too confusing. By careful selection of materials by the teacher, an environment is set up that allows the child to explore life on a level she/he can understand. The materials or exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration. This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at his/her own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and he/she begins to experience the joy of discovering the world about him/her.
Q. With all the freedom, isn’t there confusion?
A. The concept of freedom in the classroom is one of freedom with limits. A child is allowed to work freely so long as he/she does not disturb others. Actually, when children have the freedom to follow their interests, they are generally happier and remain busy with their work for extended periods of time. A spirit of respect, love and cooperation is revealed and fostered.
Q. How is a Montessori pre-school different from other pre-schools?
A. In most pre-schools the prevailing theory is that children learn through play. In a Montessori setting the children learn concepts spontaneously as they work independently with the many materials in the environment. Teachers work individually with each child to teach phonics, math, map making and learning about plants and animals. Music is used to reinforce different concepts, ie. The Continent Song.
Q. What is the main purpose of the Montessori method?
A. The main purpose of the Montessori method is to develop an environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the person within. As the child begins to develop this inner self, his/her love of life and learning expands continuously.
Q. How do you keep all the children of different age groups under control?
A. Control is not a problem. Students learn early on the rules of the classroom and are very respectful of them and each other. They are given freedoms that they appreciate and that lift the burden of oppressive rules from them. They have freedom of movement. They can get up and use the lavatory at any time without asking. They can move around the room during the work time and only have to be respectful of others while doing so. Communications between students and students and teachers is based on mutual respect. Compare to traditional school where students can only move and speak with teacher permission. Movement and communication are based on external authority.
Q. Why should I begin my child at the age of 2 1/2?
A. Being exposed at their most sensitive period to such an enriched environment, the children develop their abilities to a high level, without pressure and through freedom of choice. The Early Childhood program is designed to be a 3 year program so the children have time to reach their highest level of learning.