Did you know that, according to The Conversation, the ideas Maria Montessori had when she started the Montessori movement completely changed the way people thought about education? Suddenly, children had more independence and choice the classroom.
If you’re considering enrolling your child in a Montessori school, this can be a great decision. However, you may be wondering, “How do I find the best Montessori school for my child?”
It’s easy to be overwhelmed and stressed by the sheer amount of information online about Montessori schools.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, you’ll learn how to choose the Montessori school with the best education for your child. Read on to learn more.
1. They Offer a Montessori Education
Even if a school claims to be a Montessori school, you want to ensure that they offer a Montessori education that’s authentic. At this point, you might be asking, “What is a Montessori school, and what features define it as offering a Montessori education?”
Authentic Montessori pedagogy involves a focus on helping the children at the school to become more independent. This is one of the main benefits of a Montessori school.
Children grow to be more independent through several methods, including respecting others, improving self-esteem, increasing competence, and building confidence.
How do they learn all this? Mixed-age classes, completing individual activities while other students learn in small groups, and having some guidance but a lot of freedom to independently decide how they learn are some of the ways children learn independence in Montessori classrooms.
Learning independence within an educational environment is the first step. The Montessori method also teaches children to build up their independence within their lives outside of the classroom through learning practical life skills.
2. A Focus on Academic Excellence
In addition to helping your child become more independent, the Montessori school you select must focus on academic excellence. This way, you can ensure that your child has success in schooling later on in life.
Important questions to ask about academics when choosing a Montessori school are:
“How do you measure the performance of students’ success, and how do you encourage them to improve?”
“Do you teach critical thinking and careful reflection? What about communication in writing and speaking, visualization, and creative thinking?”
You should also ask the school whether there are concepts and skills their students will come away with once they’ve finished their education.
Additionally, ask how the students develop a love of learning that lasts throughout their lives at that particular school.
3. The Teachers Are Certified
When choosing the right Montessori school for your child, you should ensure the teachers are certified. That way, you can ensure that they have the training needed to teach the Montessori method properly. Two certifications are acceptable.
These are the certifications available through many organizations, the most notable being the AMS (American Montessori Society, the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale), and the IMS (International Montessori Society).
Most of the training centers offering these certificates require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Then, to earn the certificate, teachers complete between 200 and 600 hours of pre-service contact, all while teaching the Montessori philosophy and covering child development principles.
Classes to complete the certification include classroom management and organization, Montessori philosophy, manipulatives, and curriculum.
As you can see, if your child attends a Montessori school where the teachers are certified, they’ll benefit greatly from the Montessori education.
4. The Montessori Environment
You should also look for a Montessori school that has all the features of the Montessori environment. The environment must be safe and welcoming, and it should also include Montessori learning materials, live plants, art, and charts.
Additionally, there shouldn’t be any desks in rows. Instead, there will be child-sized furniture throughout the room, with each set of furniture grouped into specific curricular areas.
There should also be life skills or practical areas, and the materials should be displayed prominently and easy for the children to reach. There should be a lack of traditional school papers and workbooks, and there should be no toys.
Finally, groupings of children as they learn should be mixed age.
If you visit a school with only a few of these features, you should probably take it off your list.
5. The Way the Students Learn
When you visit the school, you can observe what’s going on to find out if this is a school practicing the Montessori method well. There should be a lot of focused energy and activity in the room, with students actively engaged while being quietly respectful of one another.
If conflicts do arise, students might work through them or do so with the help of a teacher. Eventually, they will talk through their issues and may do so at a Peace Table.
Generally speaking, the students will be working hard and full of joy all at once—because they love to learn.
6. The Way the Teachers Teach
In addition to observing the students, you should observe the teachers. They shouldn’t be standing in the front, lecturing the students; instead, they’ll be working with small student groups, engaging on their level.
A Montessori teacher is a facilitator and mentor, not someone who directs the classroom, and when they teach their students their teaching style will reflect this.
Looking for the Best Montessori School?
Now that you’ve learned some things to look for in choosing the best Montessori school, you might be ready to start looking for a Montessori school. If this is the case for you, and you’re based in the Houston, Texas area, look no further than Montessori School of Downtown.
We are committed to providing children with the best Montessori education available.
We have a School of Infants, School of Toddlers, Montessori Pre-Primary, Montessori Elementary, and more. To learn more about how we can provide your child with a great education, learn more about our programs now.