As your child approaches their third or fourth birthday, you may start thinking about when they’re going to start school. Preschool can be a great way to prepare your child for kindergarten and begin teaching them the skills they’ll need in school. But how do you choose the right preschool for your child?
Importance of the Preschool Years
Skills and techniques learned in early childhood stay with us throughout our lives. Your child’s preschool years can help them set the stage for success as an adult.
Preschool is your child’s first exposure to learning in a classroom. They’ll start interacting with peers every day and beginning to regulate themselves in their actions and emotions. This regulation is the basis for interactions between children and communication with adults.
A good preschool can teach your child that learning is fun and they can succeed at anything they set their mind to. It can give them the foundations they need for strong math and reading skills down the line. And it can help them learn the foundations of caring for themselves and those around them. These are just some of the reasons why choosing the right preschool is so important.
A Montessori preschool is a great way to ensure your child gets the best start to their education. Read on to learn more about the Montessori Method and the benefits it can have for your child.
What Is the Montessori Method?
Before we dive into all the benefits of a Montessori preschool, let’s talk some about what the Montessori Method is. Dr. Maria Montessori developed this method in the early 1900s while working as a teacher at Casa Dei Bambini. She worked with special needs children and soon discovered that normal classroom setups often didn’t work for these children.
Dr. Montessori wanted to create a method of teaching and learning that focused on the needs of the individual children. In fact, she wanted each child to lead his or her own education based on their needs and interests on any given day.
Her method has grown in popularity over the last century. Today the Montessori Method is hailed as one of the best learning approaches in the world.
How the Montessori Method Works
There are two basic principles that guide the Montessori Method. First, children engage in psychological self-construction. They do this by interacting with their classrooms, their materials, and the students and teachers around them.
Second, children have a clear path to psychological development, and the teachers are only there to guide them down that path.
The entire Montessori classroom is focused on giving children access to the materials they need to learn. From there, the child chooses their own learning path.
The teacher is there to guide the children and help them find better methods to approach learning and discipline. But the child is allowed to learn in the way that works best for them.
What a Montessori Classroom Looks Like
A traditional classroom might have desks that get assigned to one specific child. In a Montessori classroom the children move among a variety of workstations.
There is no central podium that a teacher lectures from, but instead the teacher moves around the classroom as they’re needed. Children may work at tables, on the floor, or in cozy sitting areas depending on what best fits their needs at that moment.
Montessori classrooms may also have unique features. This can include a sensory area that allows children to explore how different things feel, look, sound, and even smell. There are also the standard math, language arts, and culture areas that cover important academic skills through hands on learning.
Montessori classrooms have a strong emphasis on keeping yourself and your environment clean. This allows your child to take ownership of his/her work area and increases the child’s ability to focus on one thing at a time. This means there’s often a practical life skills area.
Focuses on Individual Needs
One of the biggest benefits of a Montessori preschool is that it focuses on your child’s individual needs. Many traditional classrooms are more focused on meeting a curriculum checklist. Your child is human, and their needs, moods, and interests will vary day to day, and often hour to hour.
A Montessori preschool will put your child’s needs at the center of their focus and will work to see those needs fulfilled. Because the classroom is child-led, your child will have space to pursue learning in the way that works best for them at that moment. Montessori preschool teachers know how to guide your child and help them find creative ways to work within their needs.
As much of a challenge as an independent child can be, we all want our children to grow up into independent adults. Teaching your child to think and make decisions for themselves from a young age can foster confidence and self-reliance. They’ll learn to ask questions, find creative solutions, and pursue their goals on their own terms.
A Montessori classroom is completely focused on teaching your child independence in learning. Each day, your child will get to choose what they want to learn about and how they want to approach that learning. Introducing this independence early in a controlled environment sets them up for greater success later in life.
One of the biggest problems with traditional classrooms is that they aften quash individuality. Students are expected to follow a one-size-fits-all curriculum. They learn that their best chance at success is to suppress their curiosity and love of learning.
But in a Montessori classroom, your child can be their amazing self without worrying about fitting into a dictated curriculum. They can explore the things that catch their interest and find answers to the questions they have. Allowing for this kind of individuality can give them more confidence and make them happier in a classroom for years to come.
Allows for More Socialization
While school is primarily focused on academic learning, it also teaches socialization. Even if your child has siblings or frequent playdates, their socialization is going to be fairly limited before preschool. They’ll need to learn how to work alongside other people their age and how to manage disagreements appropriately.
Because a Montessori classroom is so child-focused, it doesn’t have to be limited to one specific age group. In fact, many Montessori preschool classrooms include children from a few different age groups. This gives your child a chance to interact with children of a few different ages and learn how to socialize with all of them.
Promotes Peer-to-Peer Learning
A Montessori classroom is also a place where peer-to-peer learning is highly valued. Children can learn a lot from the other children around them.
These peer-to-peer teaching moments can help to improve both confidence and social skills. However, in a traditional classroom, socialization is usually separated from learning.
Because the Montessori classroom is so open and flexible, children can socialize as they work. Two children sitting at the same table and working on the same activity may talk about what they’re learning and how they’re approaching the task. They get to see different perspectives and explore different ways of learning that they might not have thought of in a more natural way.
Teaches Based on Developmental Stages
When children are young, they’re learning and developing so fast that even a few months can make a huge difference in their skill levels. Scientists have identified some general developmental stages that children usually go through. At different ages, they may learn more language skills, fine motor skills, social skills, and so on.
It can be hard to accommodate all the different developmental stages in a traditional preschool classroom. But a Montessori classroom allows your child to learn different skills as they gain the ability to handle them. Your child’s education can meet their needs based on their developmental stage.
Self-discipline is one of the most important skills children learn in school. As they move out into their careers and independent life, knowing how to stay on task and stick to a goal can help them succeed in many areas of life. From finances and work to fitness and relationships, knowing and why to follow the rules can help your child live their best life.
Montessori preschools don’t put sole responsibility for discipline and control in the teachers’ hands. Instead, children are taught to manage themselves within a basic set of ground rules. They learn why these rules are important and follow them on their own, rather than because they’re afraid of some punishment that will come if they don’t.
Develops Concentration and Motivation
At a Montessori preschool, your child will learn to develop concentration and motivation skills. As we all know, being able to stay focused on one task and follow it through even when you’re not excited about it is a critical life skill. Teaching your child this early can make that ability second nature to them.
A Montessori classroom makes it easier to stay motivated and to focus on work. They’re exploring things that naturally hold their interest.
Students do still have to finish a task they start, so they learn to see an activity through to the end. But this motivation is self-directed, rather than coming from a teacher breathing down the back of their neck.
Encourages Natural Curiosity
Curiosity is one of the best tools children have when they start their education. Children are naturally curious about everything – it’s the force that drives them to explore and learn more about their world. Unfortunately, standard education systems don’t give children much room to explore the things they’re curious about.
A Montessori preschool classroom, however, is driven by children’s curiosity. Your child is encouraged to find answers to their questions and to explore learning based on what they’re interested in. Helping them to keep this sense of curiosity can help your children develop better creative problem-solving skills later in life.
Cultivates a Love of Learning
One of the best advantages of a Montessori preschool is that it teaches children to love learning.
In a traditional classroom, learning can become associated with drudgery. Children are forced to follow a curriculum that doesn’t meet their needs or answer their questions. They may begin to dread school as the place where they have to sit down, be quiet, and memorize things they have no interest in.
A Montessori education helps children learn to love education for what it can be. They see it as a joyful exploration of all their questions and curiosities. School becomes the place where they learn about their world, interact with other children, and work on their own terms.
The lifelong love of learning this provides can be an invaluable tool as your child grows up.
Find the Right Montessori Preschool
The Montessori method focuses on your child’s needs and interests to allow them to pursue learning in the way that works best for them. A Montessori preschool can teach your child independence, curiosity, social skills, and much more. These schools can help your child grow up to be a confident, successful adult who finds creative ways to solve the problems they face every day.
If you’d like to find the best Montessori preschool for your child, check out the rest of our site at Shipra Montessori. We help self-inspired learners find their best path to education. Schedule a tour with us today and start developing your child’s intellectual, physical, social, and emotional skills today.