Most parents are familiar with the concept of public school education. Teachers are given clear guidelines about how to impart their subject matter to students by way of approved curricula and they are expected to help their pupils hit certain benchmarks on standardized tests. It’s the one-size-fits-all approach to education. Then there are private schools, which have more latitude about how they teach, but are still subject to standardized testing. And the same goes for home schooling.
But if you want the best for your child, you may be interested in alternatives and Montessori schools can definitely offer another option. You might be curious about how your child will fare in a system that promotes independence and personal choice (within set limitations) and puts children in classrooms that feature a range of ages. There are myriad benefits to be gained by placing your young child in this type of learning environment, here are a just few to consider.
- Creativity. One of the tenets of the Montessori method centers on constructivism, or the knowledge that is gained through interaction and experience, or discovery. The idea behind this teaching strategy may be that children allowed to figure things out on their own rather than simply being told how they work will end up being capable of furthering their own education to a degree. Students that embrace this form of learning could end up enjoying the ability to think outside the box and solve problems in ways that traditionally-taught students cannot. And they may be more interested in learning new things in general, fueling a lifelong love of education.
- Independence. Montessori students are presented with options about how they want to spend their time in school, often being given a set of activities to choose from. In addition, the arrangement of the classroom is somewhat free form, with students being allowed to move about the space as they please so long as they are engaged in their tasks. This level of freedom and choice helps children to develop independent ideas and learn that they are capable of making good choices.
- Confidence. When children are given the power to make their own decisions (within limits) they learn that they can choose wisely and succeed on their own merit. But Montessori schools also allow students to advance as they’re ready. The method recognizes that children develop at different rates, and the fact that kids of different ages are taught in the same environment means that younger kids who are more advanced have the opportunity to learn beyond the traditional limits assigned to their age range, whereas children who need more time to grasp certain concepts or lessons are allowed to do so without being pushed through the system before they’re ready or made to feel like there’s something wrong with them because they’re not at the same level as others in their age group.
- Cooperation. In public schools, students are in constant competition. Montessori takes the approach that people are going to have to work together in the real world, and embracing a mentality of mutual respect and cooperation starts in the classroom.
- Balance. It seems like the overarching goals in traditional education environments include memorization and regurgitation, competition, and thinking how you’re told rather than learning to think for yourself. At schools like Star Bright Montessori students are taught success and happiness come in many forms, and that not all value in life is derived from the singular pursuit of a career and monetary success. In other words, students are encouraged to determine what they like, what they want, and how to reach a variety of goals in a variety of ways. As a parent, you’re no doubt worried about how any school will prepare your child for eventual entry into college, a career, and life. Montessori schools prepare them for success in all of their endeavors.