Are Montessori Schools Better? 8 Montessori Education Facts!
There has always been a healthy debate about Montessori vs traditional schools.
While there are strong opinions against Montessori, the majority of parents tend to favor Montessori education over other schools.
Interestingly, the advantages of a Montessori education continue to be a topic of contention.
This is partly because conducting scientific research in the classroom poses inherent challenges, resulting in existing studies facing substantial criticism from skeptics.
However, in recent times, researchers have made progress in addressing some of these challenges, and their findings present intriguing insights for educators, parents, students, and anyone intrigued by the remarkable adaptability of children in the Montessori school.
Are Montessori schools better? In most cases, Montessori schools are better for a child because Montessori is child-centered and puts emphasis on independence and freedom of choice. Montessori schools are more of a community for the students where they are supported and nurtured. Montessori schools are better because they support social-emotional and practical life skills. Montessori schools prepare students to excel in higher education and become productive members of society.
What is the Montessori Method?
Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, and educator, developed the Montessori Method in the early 1900s as a method of education that is centered around the child.
It emphasizes hands-on child-led activities, referred to as “work,” and promotes mixed-age classrooms where independence is encouraged by the teachers.
According to Dr. Montessori’s belief, children thrive when given the freedom to choose what they want to learn, a principle that remains integral to Montessori classrooms today.
These classrooms differ from conventional ones in several distinct ways, including:
1. Availability of various activity stations throughout the day for children to select from and learn at their own pace.
2. Teachers actively engage with different groups instead of solely lecturing at the front of the classroom.
3. Implementation of a nontraditional grading system in the Montessori program.
4. Focus on holistic development, encompassing social skills, emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of a student.
As with any early childhood education approach, opinions on the Montessori materials and method vary among teachers and parents.
While some highly appreciate the approach, others may have differing perspectives.
The following are the benefits of Montessori education that make it better than conventional institutes of education.
Benefits of a Montessori Education Vs Conventional Schools
Montessori education and conventional schools have different philosophies and approaches to learning. The following are some of the benefits of a Montessori education compared to conventional schools:
- Independent learning: Montessori would focus on independent learning, giving children the freedom to choose their own activities and work at their own pace. This can help children develop a strong sense of independence and self-confidence.
- Hands-on learning: Montessori approach use a lot of hands-on materials and activities, which can help children learn more effectively. This is because hands-on learning allows children to use all of their senses to explore and learn about the world around them.
- Social-emotional development: Montessori principles emphasize the importance of social-emotional development. Children learn to cooperate, share, and resolve conflicts. They also learn to respect themselves and others.
- Early literacy and numeracy: Classic Montessori schools provide a strong foundation in early literacy and numeracy. Children learn through hands-on activities and games, which can help them develop a deeper understanding of these concepts.
- Whole-child development: Montessori schools take a holistic approach to education, focusing on the development of the whole child, including their physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development.
Compared to conventional types of schools, the authentic Montessori curriculum has the following characteristics:
|Benefit||Montessori Education||Conventional Schools|
|Early literacy and numeracy||Yes||Some|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Academic rigor||Less rigorous||More rigorous|
To further your insights about Montessori, we listed down 8 facts about the Montessori education program that every parent should know before enrolling their children in Montessori schools.
1. Montessori Educational Method is More Focused on the Child as Unique Individuals
Montessori preschools do not generalize children. They have a more individualistic approach to teaching.
Montessori classrooms prioritize the child’s interests, needs, and pace of learning. The curriculum is designed to cater to individual differences, allowing children to explore topics that genuinely interest them and learn at their own rhythm.
Montessori respects the children as unique capable individuals. Their learning styles, pace, and abilities are considered when planning their educational programs.
Children who attend Montessori develop their love for learning and have shown better outcomes beyond the schools.
Further, teachers in Montessori classrooms provide personalized guidance and support to each child. They observe and assess the child’s progress, understanding their strengths and areas that require further development. This enables teachers to tailor instruction to meet each child’s specific needs.
2. Montessori Schools Put Emphasis on Independent Learning and Self-Direction
Montessori schools do not spoon-feed or direct students learning. Montessori children are responsible for their own learning.
The Montessori classroom is designed with activity stations where children learn independently and direct their own progress.
Montessori classrooms often consist of mixed-age groups.
This multi-age setting enables older students to serve as role models and mentors for younger ones. Younger students observe and learn from their older peers, while older students reinforce their learning by helping and guiding others. This dynamic encourages self-direction and leadership skills.
Many schools have activities that are student-led and self-directed. Teachers only observe and support. Children choose the activities they like and work on them at their own pace alone or together with peers.
3. The Montessori Method is Inclusive of Special Needs
Montessori schools provide a safe and welcoming environment for all children. Montessori is inclusive of special needs.
The child-centered approach is the perfect fit for children with special needs because they are not compelled to learn the same things at the same time as their classmates.
Children with special needs can focus on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses without being judged and compared to others in Montessori preschool.
Thus, special education children may thrive and develop in the Montessori environment.
4. Montessori Education Supports Social-Emotional Skills
Montessori believes that for children to become successful in life, they need to acquire the capacity to understand, express, experience, and manage their emotions. They also need to learn to develop meaningful relationships.
Montessori students are taught social-emotional skills like:
- Peaceful resolution of conflicts
- Respect for others, animals, and nature
- Respect for diversity in race, financial background, learning styles and paces, gender, religion, etc.
- Accepting differences in opinions, perspectives, and thoughts.
- Grace and courtesy
- Working with others
5. Montessori Classrooms Promote Self-Assessment and Self-Correction
Montessori schools train their students to look at their work critically. Students become adept at recognizing their errors, correcting their mistakes, and learning from them.
The Montessori learning materials are open-ended so children can self-assess and self-correct, unlike conventional schools wherein the lessons are typically taught by the educators themselves.
This means that the materials are designed in such a way that children can easily see if they have made a mistake.
Children in private and public Montessori learn to rely on their abilities and critical thinking skills to learn and correct themselves instead of relying on their teachers.
Montessori teachers are there to provide guidance and support to children as they are learning. They help children to learn how to use the materials, and they offer encouragement and praise.
This helps children to develop the confidence and competence to assess their own work and to correct their own mistakes.
6. Montessori Kids Become Part of a Caring and Supportive Community
A Montessori class stays together for three-year periods. They become close and form strong bonds between each other and their teachers.
The Montessori classroom forms a strong community that supports each other. It mimics the dynamic of society where they learn to interact and behave properly.
Children in Montessori classrooms are put in a prepared environment wherein they are:
- Encouraged to help each other. They may work together on projects, share materials, or help each other to solve problems.
- Given opportunities to care for their environment. They may help to water plants, clean up the classroom, or take care of pets.
- Encouraged to participate in group activities. This could include circle time, singing songs, or playing games.
- Celebrates holidays and special events together. This helps to build a sense of shared identity and belonging.
The Montessori classroom becomes a second home for the students.
7. Students Enjoy Freedom Within Limits
The Montessori provides all the necessary tools, activities, and learning materials children need within the classroom. They are free to move around and choose the tasks they are interested in.
The Montessori classroom gives children enough space to discover, explore, and learn. Contrary to popular belief, Montessori does not leave children on their own accord. Montessori teachers are there to observe and guide.
One of the key principles of Montessori education is the concept of “freedom within limits.” This means that children are given a great deal of freedom to choose their own activities and work at their own pace, but they are also expected to follow certain rules and guidelines.
There are several reasons why Montessori schools emphasize freedom within limits.
First, it allows children to develop their independence and self-direction. When children are given the freedom to choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn it, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their learning.
Second, freedom within limits helps children to develop a sense of responsibility. When children are expected to follow rules and guidelines, they learn to take responsibility for their own actions. This is an important life skill that will help them to succeed in school and in life.
Third, freedom within limits helps children to develop their social skills. When children are given the freedom to interact with each other, they learn to cooperate, share, and resolve conflicts. These are essential social skills that will help them to get along with others in school and in the community.
Of course, there are some limits to the freedom that children are given in a Montessori classroom. For example, children are not allowed to hurt themselves or others, and they are not allowed to destroy property. However, these limits are generally few and far between, and they are designed to protect children and ensure that they have a safe and positive learning environment.
Overall, the concept of “freedom within limits” is a key element of Montessori education. It allows children to develop their independence, responsibility, and social abilities, while also providing them with a safe and supportive learning environment.
8. Montessori Teachers Nurture Order, Concentration, and Independence at an Early Age
Order, concentration, and independence are key virtues of self-regulation. It is a skill that allows children to learn on their own and think about what they are learning.
These are skills that children need to learn at an early age to become a habit that will stay with them for life.
The Montessori classroom is designed to be orderly and inviting. The materials are organized in a way that makes sense to children, and the classroom is decorated with natural materials and plants. This aspect of a Montessori school helps both younger and older children develop a sense of order and structure.
.Montessori materials are designed to be engaging and challenging. They are also self-correcting, which means that children can learn from their mistakes and correct them on their own. This helps children to develop the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.
In class, students engage in self-directed work cycles. They have uninterrupted blocks of time to concentrate on activities of their choice. This uninterrupted work time allows children to delve deeply into their chosen tasks, promoting concentration, focus, and self-discipline.
Compared to conventional education, Montessori education provides guidance and support when needed. Teachers in the Montessori classroom help children to learn how to use the materials, and they offer encouragement and praise when Montessori students showed exemplary progress.
This helps children to develop a sense of confidence and competence. They also develop better problem-solving skills, better social skills, and better academic performance.
Montessori supports this through uninterrupted work periods.
Are there instances when Montessori is not a good fit? Most of the time, Montessori is the better option. There are times though that Montessori may not be a good fit. For example, for children with severe special needs like severe autism or learning delays where more structured, one-on-one sessions are needed. It’s crucial to evaluate a child’s individual characteristics, learning style, and specific needs when considering if Montessori is the right fit. Each child is unique, and what works well for one may not work for another. Therefore, careful consideration of a child’s preferences, personality, and learning needs is essential in determining whether Montessori education is the most suitable option.
Don’t children outgrow their class or get bored if they are together for 3 years? The good thing about the Montessori method is that it is never boring. Montessori children have fun all day while learning. The class grows together, they don’t outgrow each other. This is because they don’t learn the same lessons at the same time. Oftentimes, they work together on tasks but they also have ample opportunities to work independently. The three-year cycle of Montessori is very effective.
What happens if the child is not interested in any of the activities? The activity stations and learning materials are chosen and designed based on the child’s interests, abilities, and potential. They are highly likely to be interested. In a few cases where they are not interested, Montessori teachers encourage and motivate them to choose an activity. They are given time and space to choose and work. It’s important to remember that children may go through phases of disinterest or have specific reasons for not engaging in certain activities. The Montessori approach values the child’s individuality and allows for flexibility and adaptation to support their growth and learning. Through observation, communication, and a collaborative approach, teachers can work with the child to find activities that ignite their curiosity and foster a love for learning.
What is the biggest criticism of Montessori? The biggest criticism of Montessori education is that it is not rigorous enough. Critics argue that Montessori systems do not provide enough academic instruction and that children who attend Montessori schools are not as well-prepared for college as children who attend traditional schools. However, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education. What works for one child may not work for another. Some children thrive in a traditional school setting, while others thrive in a Montessori setting. It is important to do your research and to visit a Montessori academy in your area before making a decision.
Montessori academies are better because Montessori is child-centered and puts emphasis on independence and freedom of choice. Montessori classes are more of a community for the students where they are supported and nurtured. These schools are better because they support social-emotional and practical life skills. Montessori schools prepare students to excel in higher education and become productive members of society.
Of course, there are also some potential drawbacks to Montessori pedagogy. For example, Montessori tuition may be more expensive than conventional public or private schools. Additionally, some parents may feel that one Montessori school may be too unstructured or that they do not provide enough academic rigor.
Ultimately, the best way to decide whether a Montessori institution is right for your child is to learn more about it and visit a Montessori academy in your area. It is also best to talk to peers with children who attend the Montessori education system.
Overall, Montessori is just a better option when it comes to education and preparing kids for their future. As a parent, you should focus on their overall development and not just on academics. Feel free to research more about Montessori and how your child will benefit from it.