Isn’t the Montessori classroom too ‘free’? How can my child learn without direction?
Dr. Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing. 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 intervene to challenge a student or redirect when necessary.
Why are Montessori schools not play-based?
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 is is called a directress, and she will guide her student to move forward 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.”
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, teachers can tailor this curriculum to each student. The best part is that although we teach similar subject areas- math, science, history, geography, and language—they are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together. This approach to curriculum shows the interrelatedness of all things. It also allows students to become thoroughly immersed in a topic—and to give their curiosity full rein.
In addition, our curriculum spans 3 years so although each child is in the same multi-age classroom year to year, they do not see the same themes repeated.
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.