Why We Left Montessori School? (Top 5 Disadvantages)

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Why We Left Montessori School

The Montessori method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, has gained significant popularity with over 7,000 certified Montessori schools worldwide, including at least 4,000 in the United States. In fact, over 200 public school systems in the U.S. have adopted Montessori programs, highlighting its widespread influence.

While Montessori education has its critics, it’s worth noting that Montessori students often demonstrate impressive academic performance. Studies indicate that Montessori students outperform their peers by significant margins, with a 15% to 24% advantage in English Language Arts (ELA), 8% to 30% in math, and 14% to 27% in science.

However, like any educational approach, Montessori is not without its disadvantages. This post explores the top five challenges that have led some families to leave Montessori schools. These include concerns about the child-led learning approach, issues with continuity when transitioning to traditional schools, limited accessibility for low-income students, the perception of a loose curriculum, and less emphasis on group work.

However, along with this are criticisms of the method and its proponent. While a lot of students benefit from this type of instruction to some of them, it just doesn’t work.

So you may ask, why we left Montessori school? It’s simple, it’s not for everyone. First, the child-led mode of learning can be detrimental to the holistic development of a child. Second, the lack of continuity can be a challenge for the child as well as the lack of accessibility to Montessori elementary schools. Fourth, the Montessori curriculum is too loose and varies significantly from school to school, and lastly, they provide less emphasis on group work.

What is Montessori School?

Montessori preschool refers to a type of early childhood education program that follows the principles and methods developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. 

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    It is a child-centered approach that emphasizes independence, self-directed learning, and hands-on exploration.

    In a Montessori preschool, the learning environment is carefully prepared to foster the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. 

    The classroom is filled with developmentally appropriate materials and activities that encourage sensory exploration, fine and gross motor skills development, language acquisition, and cognitive growth.

    One of the key aspects of Montessori preschool is the mixed-age classrooms, where children of different ages, typically ranging from 3 to 6 years old, learn together. 

    This multi-age grouping allows younger children to learn from their older peers and older children to reinforce their learning by guiding and helping younger ones. It also promotes a sense of community, collaboration, and empathy among the children.

    The role of the Montessori preschool teacher is that of a guide or facilitator rather than a traditional instructor. The teacher observes each child’s interests, abilities, and progress, and provides individualized guidance and support. 

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    In a Montessori preschool, there is typically a focus on practical life skills, sensorial experiences, language development, mathematics, cultural studies, and arts. 

    The materials used in the classroom are designed to be self-correcting, allowing children to learn independently and develop problem-solving skills.

    Overall, Montessori preschools aim to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment where children can develop their intellectual, social, emotional, and physical abilities while fostering a love for learning and a sense of responsibility for themselves and their community.

    Why Some People Leave Montessori?

    1. Child-led education can be detrimental

    One of the most appealing aspects of the Montessori method is its emphasis on child-led education. 

    Unlike traditional schooling where children are compelled to study subjects they may have no interest in, Montessori allows children to focus on topics that captivate their attention. 

    This approach recognizes that forcing children to engage in activities they lack interest in can lead to poor performance. 

    However, this philosophy seemed to have a negative impact. Take for example, in the same class, there is a 2-1/2-year-old student who could write her name effortlessly, while a nearly 7-year-old student struggled to write his name. 

    Despite having only three letters in his name, his disinterest in writing meant he was not required to practice it, according to the Montessori philosophy. 

    The teachers were not allowed to push him on the matter or tell him, “You’re 7 years old; you should probably know how to write your name.” 

    In this case, the child-led approach seemed to have backfired, as the student missed out on an essential skill.

    2. Problem of continuity

    It is important to note that there are no Montessori programs for senior high schools or colleges. 

    Consequently, former Montessori students often face significant challenges when transitioning to a traditional school environment later in life.

    Many individuals who grew up in the unstructured Montessori setting have expressed difficulties in adjusting to the more structured and conventional educational system.

    3. Lack of accessibility

    Unfortunately, this type of education has often been associated with white privilege, although the original vision is different. 

    The non-traditional nature of the Montessori curriculum has resulted in the majority of Montessori programs being private, requiring tuition, and having selective admissions processes. 

    Consequently, it is disproportionately challenging for low-income students of color in urban areas to find Montessori schools that suit their budget.

    However, some Montessori charter schools offer a more accessible option. 

    According to the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, out of the 5,000 Montessori schools in the U.S., approximately 500 are public programs. 

    These public Montessori schools are typically located in more diverse areas and receive federal funding, which helps eliminate the financial barrier of tuition.

    4. Curriculum is too loose

    The Montessori curriculum, which emphasizes following the child’s interests and abilities, may be perceived as too loose by some. 

    While it is important to note that “following the child” does not imply letting children have unrestricted freedom, the curriculum in Montessori is generally less structured compared to more conventional approaches.

    In the classroom, it is the responsibility of the teacher and assistant to ensure that children progress at an appropriate pace. 

    This balance of guidance and autonomy can be effective, but it also leaves room for certain subjects to receive less attention.

    Some students may feel inadequately prepared for math and science classes while being excessively prepared for language and art classes.

    5. Less emphasis on group work

    The opportunity for social development and interaction through group activities may be perceived as lacking in Montessori.

    Although the nature of interaction in Montessori differs from that of traditional or non-Montessori schools, the interactions that take place are often more meaningful. 

    The prepared environment in Montessori allows students to engage in spontaneous and free interactions, rather than being limited to specific times of the day as in traditional classrooms.

    Similar to Waldorf education, the interactions in Montessori are less structured while still being influenced by the way teachers arrange their classrooms. 

    Montessori recognizes students as individuals and respects their uniqueness by providing a less rigid and structured approach compared to traditional classrooms.

    Why Does Some Child Thrive In Montessori Classrooms?

    The primary objective of a Montessori school is to create a thoughtfully designed and engaging environment where children can learn and develop their lifelong love of learning. 

    The specific aims for children attending a Montessori school include cultivating a positive mindset and attitude towards education by creating an environment that is suitable to the learning experiences of every child.

    In essence, Montessori nurtures children’s inherent curiosity and empowers them to reach their utmost capabilities by establishing a solid groundwork for their future development. 

    The impact of Montessori education is evident in a wide range of successful individuals, including tech innovators, scholars, artists, and accomplished professionals. 


    In essence, Montessori education nurtures children’s inherent curiosity and empowers them to reach their utmost capabilities by establishing a solid groundwork for their future development. 

    The impact of Montessori education is evident in a wide range of successful individuals, including tech innovators, scholars, artists, and accomplished professionals. 

    Like any educational approach, the Montessori method is subject to scrutiny and extensive research, with both supporters and critics offering their perspectives. It is important to recognize that the Montessori approach, like any other, has its advantages and disadvantages. 

    Dr. Maria Montessori’s profound insights into the learning process enable Montessori classrooms to provide a strong educational foundation that paves the way for a lifelong journey of learning. Compared to traditional preschools, Montessori seeks to produce self-motivated and academically inclined kids who learn at their own pace with the guidance of a Montessori teacher.

    Furthermore, it may not necessarily align with the specific needs and preferences of your child, so do not be discouraged! The key is to find a school and educational method that is right for your child and where your child thrives the best while catering to the unique requirements of both you and your child.


    Why is Montessori controversial? While there are critics who argue that Montessori pedagogy’s emphasis on independent exploration and individual projects may hinder social interaction and impede children’s social development, it is important to note that a Montessori environment does not isolate students.

    Did Mark Zuckerberg go to Montessori? Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, is among the notable individuals recognized for their initiative, creativity, and self-confidence, and it is believed that he attended Montessori Elementary in his early years.

    Do Montessori kids do better in life? Over the course of three years, the 70 students who went to a Montessori school demonstrated accelerated progress in math and literacy tests. By the end of kindergarten, when the study concluded, the Montessori students achieved significantly higher levels of academic accomplishment compared to their counterparts.

    Is Montessori for the wealthy? Montessori pedagogy is not limited to affluent families; it is accessible to individuals across all income levels. Nonetheless, it is true that many Montessori schools have high tuition fees. It is important to emphasize that the Montessori approach to education is not exclusive to a particular group. Children can also benefit from the Montessori Method at home without any cost.