Isn’t the Montessori classroom too ‘free’? How will my child learn if he can just wander around?
Dr. Montessori observed that children can choose their work. A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but it is a freedom with limits. A student knows to work with materials that his teacher has prepared and presented to him and a teacher knows when to redirect a child or tell him she has something new to show him!
I’ve heard a lot about play-based schools. Is Montessori play-based?
Not technically– we call learning time ‘work time’. But in the Montessori classroom, work is play! Montessori students work hard, but it’s because of their natural curiosity and desire to learn. A Montessori student will often come home and say that they played all day. Learning is fun!
If children work at their own pace, don’t they fall behind?
The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained. A Montessori teacher will guide students at a pace that is appropriate for him. This gentle guidance helps him master specific concepts—and waits for him to be ready for the next concept. Not allowing this is what actually causes children to “fall behind.” In addition, children at this age are sponges and want to be challenged!
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Yes! Our teachers are trained in the Montessori Method which is a very broad curriculum. Unlike traditional schools though, students can work at their own pace. No child has to ‘hurry up’ because the class needs to move on, and no child has to wait to move at a faster pace. In addition, our curriculum spans 3 years so we have appropriate materials for advanced students.
Can Montessori accommodate gifted children?
An advantage of the Montessori approach—including multi-age classrooms with students of varying abilities and interests—is that it allows each child to work at her own pace. Students whose strengths and interests propel them to higher levels of learning can find challenge without being separated from their peers.