One of the main reasons parents do not send their children to Montessori schools is the cost. Montessori tuition is expensive. Not all families can afford the high cost.
Are Montessori schools free? The majority of Montessori schools in the country are not free. They offer their services mostly at high tuition. Although there are public schools that offer Montessori programs for free, they are few and hard to find. There are only about 500 public schools that offer Montessori education. Most of these schools only offer Montessori programs to a selected group within the school. Very few public schools use the Montessori method of teaching school-wide.
Characteristics of Montessori Education
All Montessori educational programs share common characteristics that differentiate them from traditional education.
A Montessori classroom is a mixed-age group. It groups students of different ages to encourage diversity and a more effective learning experience.
Children in the Montessori classroom teach each other and learn from one another through collaborative work. They learn to deal with different personalities, behavior, opinions, and perspectives.
Through the mixed-age groupings, Montessori students learn compassion, patience, tolerance, and independence, and build strong relationships at an early age.
Highly-Trained Montessori Teachers
Montessori teachers go through rigorous Montessori training and are required to get their license before they can teach. They also update their knowledge and skills through regular training.
Montessori teachers are trained to teach all subjects. They are equipped to handle all types of children, difficult situations, and different behavior.
Montessori teachers are experts in observing and recognizing sensitive periods and learning opportunities.
Hands-On Montessori Learning Materials
All Montessori learning materials, even the arts, and decor of the classroom are appropriate to the child’s developmental needs.
This means the Montessori classroom is constantly rotated and updated. As children learn, the Montessori materials are updated to continue their progress.
Montessori learning materials share common characteristics.
- Montessori materials are interactive.
- Montessori materials are safe, durable, and lead-free.
- Montessori materials are open-ended.
- Montessori materials encourage social interaction and collaborative work
- Montessori materials teach independence.
- Montessori materials are simple and effective.
- Montessori materials encourage independent work so children do not need to rely on their teachers.
- Montessori materials are made from wood, metal, and other natural materials.
- Montessori materials are not made from plastic.
- No battery-operated toys.
The Montessori Method of Teaching
Montessori requires strict adherence to the Montessori method of teaching including child-motivated work, uninterrupted learning periods, and hands-on experiences.
The Montessori method of teaching promotes independent learning by giving children the freedom to follow their interests. It provides the necessary tools and materials to students so they can do the work on their own or in groups.
The Montessori method of teaching is child-centered. It does not spoon-feed information to children unlike in public schools.
The Difference Between Public Montessori School and Private Montessori School
While all Montessori educational programs use the same method and approach, there is one distinct difference between public and private Montessori.
Because public Montessori is publicly-funded, they need to follow the same mandates and educational standards set by their district, charter, and state. This means Montessori students in public schools are required to take standardized tests and get traditional grades like all other students in public schools.
Montessori teachers are required to follow state requirements for licenses and accreditations in addition to their Montessori training.
Why is Montessori Expensive
Montessori education was originally designed to help young children from low-income families. Unfortunately today, the cost of Montessori is very high.
High-Quality Montessori Materials
Montessori materials are not factory-produced. They are tailored-fit.
Montessori materials are made safe, and durable and mostly made from natural materials like wood, metal, organic paper, and cloth.
Furniture is custom-made to children’s size and height. Shelves are hung low within reach of children. Every item in the Montessori classroom has a purpose and helps in the learning process.
Montessori Teacher Training
Montessori teachers go through diligent and rigorous training for 1 to 2 years before they can get their license and teach. Each grade level requires different training, accreditation, and licenses to teach.
Montessori teachers are also required to get additional training regularly to update their skills.
Montessori teachers are generalists who can teach all subjects, and handle different behavior, and difficult situations. They work with parents and child experts to come up with an effective educational plan for each student.
Montessori School Facilities
Aside from the Montessori classrooms, Montessori schools provide additional spaces for learning. This includes:
- Outdoor areas for exploring nature
- Additional facilities for the care of animals and plants
- Outdoor play areas
- After-school programs
- Special classes like arts, music, math, and sports.
- Access to child and behavioral experts
- Specialized teachers, occupational therapists, etc.
Are Montessori schools only for the rich? No, it is not. Montessori schools are open to all children regardless of their financial background. The cost of Montessori is a big challenge but public Montessori schools try to cover that void. Also, there are financial aid and tax programs that mitigate the high cost of Montessori tuition.
Are public Montessori programs available to every student? Unfortunately, Montessori programs are not available to all students in public schools. Few public schools offer it and only selected students are qualified. There is a growing effort though to make Montessori more accessible to all students.
Is mixed-age grouping effective? Yes. Mixed-age grouping is a key factor that makes Montessori effective. It helps students learn better through collaborative play and develop positive character traits.
The majority of Montessori schools in the country are not free. They offer their services mostly at high tuition. Although there are public schools that offer Montessori programs for free, they are few and hard to find. There are only about 500 public schools that offer Montessori education. Most of these schools only offer Montessori programs to a selected group within the school. Very few public schools use the Montessori method of teaching school-wide.
Montessori education may not be free but there are ways to help lessen the burden. Parents can apply for financial aid, scholarships, discounts, and tax credits.