It's that time of year again. I'm always amazed at how early we start thinking about summer camp and the next school year. If you want to enroll your children in a quality program, the early bird definitely gets the worm. As I was writing an article about how to choose a Montessori program for your children, it occured to me that it would be helpful to have a checklist of things to look for while you are visiting Montessori schools.
Now that you have decided that Montessori is the right approach for your child, the question is: which Montessori school to choose? There are many good Montessori schools in the Twin Cities to choose from; however, keep in mind that different Montessori schools will likely differ in their day-to-day practice of the Montessori curriculum. Finding the school that is right for your child and family is an important decision – and we understand that it can be hard to know what to look for.
Recognized versus non-recognized Montessori schools will have different offerings. The term “Montessori” can be used to describe any school that loosely follows the ideas of Maria Montessori, but only AMI-recognized schools like WBMS follow the exact practices laid out by Dr. Montessori. Recognized schools require that the staff have certain levels of training, a specific curriculum is followed and authentic Montessori learning materials are used. If a classic Montessori education is what you are looking for, you will likely want to start by focusing on AMI-recognized schools. AMI has a school locater to help you find a recognized school in your area.
If you have spent any time looking through our website or reading our blog, then you already know that we have a unique way of doing things around here. As a certified AMI school, we faithfully put into practice the principles and practices espoused by Dr. Maria Montessori and the Association Montessori Internationale, including a traditional Montessori curriculum. But what exactly does that mean?
If you’re like me, when you started looking at daycare options, you had a list of important criteria: well-trained, caring teachers; a warm, loving environment; a schedule and activities that would fit your child’s personality; and, of course, affordable. With my circle of friends, the cost of one facility vs. another was rarely the deciding factor in which one to choose; however, the perception of how much different options cost occasionally was a limiting factor in which daycare to consider.
More specifically, when I mentioned that we were considering a Montessori preschool, one friend commented that we must be making more money than she thought. Another asked why we would “waste” our money on Montessori when all kids needed at this age was a good place to nap. Both friends were surprised when I told them that a Montessori preschool was not that much more expensive than the childcare center they were considering (I decided to wait to tackle the value of a Montessori preschool another time.)