Questions often asked about Montessori Preschool

Why should I send my child to Preschool?

Most educators and psychologists today agree that the single most important period in the development of a person’s intelligence occurs between birth and age five. A child’s mind is extremely absorbent and his curiosity is at a peak during these early years. When properly nourished and stimulated the child’s mind forms patterns for learning that serve him well throughout his life. The Montessori system of preschool education has proven to be one of the most effective and fastest growing methods to guide a child through these critical years.

What is the difference between Day Care, Nursery School and Preschool?

Day Care centers are generally for the purpose of caring for children on an all-day basis. Nursery schools are generally experiences in socialization and play. Preschools are oriented toward educational experiences combined with socialization and play.

How is a Montessori Preschool different from other Preschools?

In most preschools, the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In a Montessori Preschool, the children learn concepts spontaneously as they work independently with the many materials in the environment.

What is the Montessori Method of Education?

The Montessori Method of Education is basically a unique approach to learning. Rather than teaching the child “concepts”, an environment is designed to stimulate the child’s interest and facilitate his understanding and learning capacities spontaneously – with little or no adult intervention.

What is the purpose of the Montessori Method?

The main purpose of the Montessori Method is to develop an environment where the child can unfold spontaneously and manifest the greater person within. According to Maria Montessori, ”The child is the father of the man.” As the child begins to develop this inner self, his love of life and learning expands continuously.

Who started the Montessori Method?

Dr. Maria Montessori, over 90 years ago, was Italy’s first woman medical doctor. Using her scientific background, she began observing children in the children’s homes. Based on her unbiased observations, she developed unique materials, a child-centered environment and was one of the first persons to revolutionize educational thought by stressing respect for the child, freedom of expression, self-education and training through the use of movement and the senses.

What is a Montessori classroom?

The Montessori classroom is a child-sized world. Whatever is in the world 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 Directress, an environment is set up that allows the child to explore life in a level he can understand. The materials or exercises are designed to stimulate independent exploration. This prepared environment entices the child to proceed at his own pace from simple activities to more complex ones. Through this process the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied and he begins to experience the joy of discovering the world about him. Materials and curriculum center around Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Math Geography, Science, Art, Music, Drama and Dance.

How do children interact in the environment?

As the children develop their sense of pride in their “work”, a feeling of confidence, well being and joy begins to manifest itself in the child. A “new child” is born. A classroom of Montessori children is a joy to watch. There seems to be a spirit of respect, love and cooperation among the children that is not found too often.

What is the role of a Montessori Teacher?

The Montessori Teacher is called a directress because she facilitates the classroom activity. She carefully plans the environment in the interests of the child and she helps the children progress from one activity to the next. She is trained to deal with each child individually allowing him to choose from many activities within his range of ability. She stands back while a child is working and allows him the satisfaction of his own discovery.

With all the freedom, isn’t there confusion?

The concept of freedom with the classroom is one of freedom within limits. A child is allowed to work freely so long as he does not disturb others. Actually, children having the freedom to follow their interests are generally happy and busily involved with their work.

What is the best age to start a child?

Maria Montessori outlined various periods of “sensitivity”. During these times, a child is more capable of and interested in learning specific concepts. At age 2 ½ to 3 ½ a special sense of order, concentration, coordination and independence begin to emerge. This time is ideal to begin a child’s training in Montessori as he is at the perfect period to build a strong foundation for future learning.

How do Montessori children adjust to public schools?

Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very flexible and adjust to the public school situation. They are generally better students and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-direction and positive attitude towards learning.

Why is a Montessori experience for five days?

The Montessori classroom experience is for five consecutive days in order to allow the spontaneous learning of the child to flow smoothly. A child taken in and out of school every other day does not have the same opportunity to pursue his unfolding interests. Also, the five day Montessori program has been carefully constructed to effectively build on the previous day’s lessons throughout the week and the previous week’s lessons throughout the year.

What about socialization and group work?

Socialization is very much a part of the Montessori Method. In the classroom you will notice children interacting continuously, choosing to work on projects together and older children helping younger ones. Each day there is some group activity and play outside.

Who is the Montessori Method designed for?

The Montessori Method is an “approach to learning” and as such has no distinction of class or intelligence. It has been used successfully in all parts of the world and in all types of programs, i.e. Headstart, gifted children, mentally challenged, average children, etc.

Isn’t Montessori expensive?

Tuition in Montessori preschools throughout the country is sometimes higher than other preschool because of the extensive materials, encompassing environment, curriculum and trained staff. It is, however, comparable to the current cost of quality daycare facilities in Livingston county (2018-2019) and a very reasonable cost in contrast to other activities you would plan for yourself and your child. It becomes a matter of what you value most. To give your child the finest possible experience in his most sensitive years is to give him a strong foundation throughout life and probably ward off investment later to correct or remedy that which was missed. Many educators believe that it is wiser to invest in a child’s preschool education than in his college education. The child who enjoys learning and becomes self-directed at the critical preschool age will benefit through all his years of learning. The expense is now a profitable long-term investment.

How long is the school year?

The regular program begins in September and continues through early June. We follow the Howell School System calendar regarding holiday breaks.

Does Montessori employ current research and theory in education methods?

Montessori is not a static or closed system of education. While there are certain materials and methods that have been proven effective during the years, Montessori is as much an attitude about education and children as it is a specific method.

Do you encourage Parent involvement in the school?

We encourage parent involvement through conferences, observations, discussions, parent nights, making materials, etc. The staff feels that the more parents can understand the experience of the child in the classroom, the better able they are to follow through at home. When parents follow through at home, the child benefits even more because he has had a consistent environment in which to grow.

What is the training of the staff?

The Director-Administrator of the Follow the Child Montessori School is licensed by the State of Michigan as a qualified director of a preschool facility. The classroom is headed by a director who has had specific Montessori training from an American Montessori Society approved Montessori training center. In addition, the Follow the Child Montessori School is affiliated with the American Montessori Society and a member of the Michigan Montessori Society. All assistants are selected on the basis of their awareness of the child and dedication to the principles of child development. All full-time assistants have completed the Montessori training for assistants through an approved Montessori training center. Interns are often additional staff members.