You might be thinking: if a Montessori education is founded on the idea of child-led learning, then why do Montessori teachers need so much training?
If you’ve spent much time around a group of children at this curious, exploratory, emotional and perceptive age, you might think that high staff-to-toddler ratios are designed to reign in all that energy.
One of the biggest challenges parents have with Toddlers is teaching them to use the toilet. Some children take to it right away, others are still working on it when they arrive in preschool. No matter where your child is on the spectrum, the Montessori curriculum for Toddlers is heavily geared towards independent toileting.
If you could, would you send your children to the same school you attended as a child? I did not want to. Some of my earliest school memories are of feeling out of sync with what my teacher and the other kids wanted me to do during the school day. I didn’t like to sit still in my desk – I wanted to get up and move around. I learned things more quickly than some of my classmates, so I felt bored when the teacher repeatedly reviewed the same material for those kids that didn’t get it the first time.
Last year I wrote a blog post comparing the cost of Montessori to traditional preschools and daycare. A lot of readers clicked on that blog, so I figured the topic of childcare costs was worth revisiting. When I went to update my statistics from ChildCare Aware of America, I ended up reading the entire 2014 Parents and the High Cost of Child Care Report because of the wealth of information it included. You can download the full report but if you’re like me and feel like there’s never enough time to read all the things you want to, I’m going to summarize a few of the main points that spoke to me.
Kindergarten is a special time in a child’s Montessori education. After two full years, the Montessori preschool class is a familiar environment to these 5-year-olds. They know the daily routines inside and out; their teachers know them well and can readily work with their strengths and encourage them to take on challenges. They are conscious of being the oldest students in the room, having lived through two years of classroom transitions, starting when they were three. It is during this third year that you (and they) will witness the
Children in Montessori often learn to read at a very early age (although I will admit there was a point in time when I wondered if my son would EVER learn to read, but he did exactly when his teacher predicted he would.) They learn their numbers – not just counting but understanding that seven is one more than six and not just because it follows six. They begin to add and subtract, even multiply and divide, as early as kindergarten. They learn about leaves and leaf shapes. They learn about zoology, geometry and time. There seems to be almost no end of the surprises of what our children learn. It is ironic, however, that one of the most important lessons they learn in Montessori does not appear on a progress report. And yet once it’s learned, it’s a lesson that will make your child stand out for the rest of his or her life. The lesson: grace and courtesy.
A group of fellow WBMS parents and I were recently talking about our early experiences with WBMS and Montessori in general. Several of us admitted to each other that the first few months of our child’s time at WMBS was a bit rough, not with our child, but with our spouse, who originally had not been as committed as we were to the Montessori approach. I don't know about you, but my husband questioned whether Montessori was worth the money we spent on tuition for the most of our son's first year in Children's House.