Updated: Oct 20, 2020
The positive learning environment is vital for a child’s development and success in learning. The best learning environment is one where your child feels safe, supported and encouraged to explore and learn.
Many of us are wondering how to create the best learning environment possible for our kids and help them develop and thrive. What education approach will benefit my child the most? Is my kid suitable to Montessori education?
What is Montessori Education?
Personal experience and hands-on learning are the staples of Montessori education ideology. Montessori program is child-centered and it encourages children to learn independently, on their pace. According to Montessori ideology, experiential learning leads to a deeper understanding and helps kids develop language and literacy. It also boosts their cognitive skills and encourages kids to use their senses.
One of the key features of Montessori learning is the importance of play. The Montessori approach encourages free play, emphasizing the importance of physical activity in learning. Teachers model behavior and introduce new challenges, allowing kids to learn from their mistakes and to learn how to do things independently.
The importance of play in a child’s development has been proven many times. Research shows that the play encourages children to learn about the world, express their feelings, interact with others, and develop language and literacy.
The play also helps children understand and adopt social rules and resolve conflicts and encourages kids to use their imagination and senses to experiment with different situations and consequences in the safety of play.
When Italian educator Maria Montessori introduced her ideology at the beginning of the 20th century, her ideas were considered radical. Today, however, Montessori has grown to be one of the most popular approaches to early childhood education.
The Difference Between Montessori Education and Regular School
What makes Montessori education so different? Here are some of the main concepts that make Montessori different from traditional schools.
1. Montessori Education is Student-Oriented
Montessori learning materials and activities are based on observations of students’ individual needs and abilities while traditional schools are based on teacher-centered materials and activities.
2. The Teachers’ Role
In Montessori education, teachers act as consultants who work with each child individually. They provide guidance and assist students in the learning process. In most traditional schools, on the other hand, teachers deliver the same lessons to all students, at the same pace.
3. The Students’ Role
Montessori education focuses on hands-on experiences and students’ activity. While in typical school settings students listen passively, memorize facts and take tests, students in Montessori education are active and discover information for themselves, at their own pace.
4. School Grade Levels
Grade levels in Montessori schools are more flexible when compared to traditional education where grade levels are defined by chronological age. In Montessori school, your child will be placed in grades based on their developmental range, not age.
5. Learning without Pressure
Children in Montessori schools learn spontaneously, without pressures from their teachers. According to Montessori teaching, learning on free will helps students develop their natural interests and use instincts to understand naturally the things that are of interest to them.
The emphasis in Montessori education is on social, emotional, intellectual, as well as on the acquisition of practical and academic skills.
What is the Role of Parents in Montessori Education?
Montessori encourages parents to take part in their child’s education and participate in school activities such as school community meetings and celebrations. Parents lay the foundation for their child’s learning and development and are an important part of Montessori education.
To create the best cognitive, social, emotional, and physical environment for your child, make sure to support their creativity and free play. Also, encourage kids to do things on their own because independence is key to building confidence and self-esteem. Allow them to do simple household tasks and common daily chores.
In Montessori schools, children are encouraged to keep the classroom tidy and in order, which helps them to be independent and focused on important things. At home, you can also encourage your child to be organized and maintain order.
The Montessori approach stresses the importance of the outdoors. Encourage your child to spend time outside and introduce them to nature (by taking your kids to nature walks and parks, or working together in the garden). Spending time in nature activates the child’s senses and boosts hands-on learning.
Finally, Montessori teachers advise that parents use encouragement, not rewards when their kids do things right. This increases intrinsic motivation and encourages kids to do things right because they bring value to themselves, other people, and society.
Is It Expensive to Send Kids to Montessori Schools?
Montessori method of teaching has a pretty positive reputation, so it’s not a surprise that many of us are considering it as an educational option for our kids. However, Montessori school tuition may be out of reach for many families.
But how expensive Montessori school is? The tuition cost may vary depending on the location, as all Montessori schools are independently operated. The median annual tuition is from $3,000 (for infants and toddlers) to around $10,000 (for students aged 12 to 18).
However, there are lots of Montessori public schools opening across the United States which charge no tuition. Also, you can find a variety of Montessori books at your local library and start learning Montessori philosophy and parenting styles that will help raise your child into a healthy, responsible, and independent individual.
When Should My Kid Transition from Montessori Schools to Regular School?
Montessori has become an attractive alternative educational approach for kids aged 3 to 6. While most Montessori schools cater to younger children (mostly preschoolers), there are also Montessori schools that continue all the way till the end of high school, so your child can transition at any moment of their schooling.
The Montessori method is a bit different from the typical school as it highlights the importance of experiencing things in reality instead of learning from the books. Montessori is a lifestyle and philosophy that you can adopt and practice even if your child doesn’t attend Montessori school.
Be a good role model and show your children how meaningful and exciting learning can be. Through constant guidance, help your kids organize their time and encourage their desire to learn and explore. Pay attention to your child’s interests and preferences. This will allow you to get familiar with their topics of interest and encourage independence and individuality.
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About the author:
Natasha is a psychologist with over sixteen years of experience in psychology-related research and practice. She was awarded a Certificate of Youth Counselling by USAID and was graduated with a bachelor degree in Psychology at University of Novi Sad, Serbia.