Montessori schools are as unique as the students themselves. It is distinct from the traditional school methods. It has revolutionized teaching in the modern world.
Despite the myriad of information available today, there is still a lot of confusion as to how Montessori schools work.
What grades do Montessori Schools teach? Montessori does not have grade levels. They have stages of education where children are identified at different age levels according to their developmental needs. In a Montessori classroom, they accommodate multi-age students. Usually, there are students from 3 different stages of Montessori in one classroom.
- Infants – 8 weeks to 18 months old
- Toddlers – 18 months to 3 years old
- Children – 3 to 6 years old
- Elementary – 6 to 12 years old
- Secondary – 12 to 18 years old
Some Montessori schools will divide their Elementary level into two: lower elementary and higher elementary. Some will also refer to 12 to 15-year-olds as Middle school students while 15 to 18-year-olds are considered to be in high school.
A Montessori classroom is a multi-age classroom. Students from 3 different Montessori stages are grouped. This setup may vary slightly depending on the school and the availability of students.
Multi-age classrooms have been proven effective not just in academics but in developing strong social and emotional skills.
Students of different ages learn to adjust, tolerate, and cooperate with others. Patience, independence, and collaboration are key virtues every kid learns in a multi-age classroom.
A multi-age classroom mimics a small community where individuals play a certain role. This gives everyone a sense of responsibility and belongingness.
Montessori teaches the same academic subjects as traditional schools do. What makes the Montessori curriculum special is it integrates basic and advanced life skills with rigorous academic programs. This balance of social-emotional lessons with academics is an effective formula for molding well-balanced and productive individuals.
The Montessori programs including academics are not taught through memorization of textbooks and exams. Lessons are presented in a hands-on, experiential manner.
Given a set of prepared programs and boundaries, children are given the freedom to choose their activities, who to do them with, and how long they will do them.
This does not mean children are left unsupervised to do whatever they want. Teachers observe closely and steer each student in the right direction so they can finish their work efficiently.
Montessori students do not get the traditional letter grades. They are also not given exams. Students are graded with a holistic approach. Children are graded through:
- Constructive Criticism
Feedback and constructive criticism are given through 1) Guidance and Encouragement and 2) Self-Assessment
Teachers guide each student in every activity. They are encouraged as they go along so they can improve themselves. Through these, children are motivated to learn and strive for improvement.
In Montessori, students are made to assess themselves. Teachers let them identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Through self-realization, students are empowered to set their own goals and set their standards of learning.
Children in Montessori are not given bad grades. They are not given grades at all. Instead, their strengths are highlighted while being guided to improve in other areas.
In traditional schools, children are given report cards containing letter grades indicating if they did good or bad in class. Montessori does not follow this.
Montessori schools give out detailed reports for each child. It is in the form of a checklist that indicates the child’s progress and development. The checklist is detailed enough that it allows parents to follow up and continue the progress at home.
Families of Montessori students, especially the parents, are required to be more involved in their children’s education. After all, it takes a village to raise a well-balanced child.
How many students are in a typical Montessori classroom? For younger students, Montessori classrooms are smaller. Mostly around 10 to 15 students each. For elementary and higher, a Montessori classroom can have 20 to 30 students. In general, Montessori classrooms are much smaller compared to traditional classrooms.
Is Montessori education fit for children with special learning needs? Yes, it is. Montessori is better suited for kids with special learning needs because they get more attention and guidance. Montessori classrooms have fewer children with one or more teachers. This means more attention for them. Because the curriculum is child-centered, the child’s developmental needs are addressed properly. Most kids with special learning needs flourish in a Montessori environment because they are nurtured and supported as an individual and not part of a group.
Do Montessori classrooms have one teacher for all subjects? Mostly, yes. Montessori teachers are highly-trained and multi-faceted. They are generalists that are qualified to teach all subjects. Most Montessori schools provide more than one teacher in each classroom. Some also have specialists that teach specialized lessons like music, arts, and many others. Each class has a teacher in charge to provide a sense of order.
Don’t Montessori children fall behind if they work at their own pace? No. The Montessori classroom is a curated space. Every toy, material, and furniture serves a purpose. Everything is arranged logically. The classroom has a prepared set of activities, rules, limits, and boundaries. Teachers are there observing, guiding, and implementing rules. Everything and everyone in the Montessori classroom is there to support the child to do well and succeed. No one is left behind.
In short, Montessori works distinctly from traditional schools. Montessori does not have grade or age levels. They have stages of education where children are identified at different age levels according to their developmental needs. In a Montessori classroom, they accommodate multi-age students. Usually, there are students from 3 different stages of Montessori in one classroom.
We hope we helped answer your questions today. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to us. Keep learning!