There are thousands of Montessori schools across the globe and the Montessori method has only gained in popularity over the years since it was first practiced in the early 1900s. With so many children and their parents benefiting from a Montessori education, you may be considering if a Montessori preschool or elementary school is right for your family. It is a valuable consideration, and one that doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming. There a few simple steps you can take to find a Montessori school that fits your expectations and needs.
Learn about the Montessori method
One of the first and most important steps in your search is to familiarize yourself with the various aspects of the Montessori method. This method of education is guided by a specific philosophy that has multiple unique but intuitive tenets and there is a great deal of literature on the subject including Dr. Maria Montessori’s own publications. The Montessori method includes some key features such as the prepared environment of the classroom, the overarching structure of the school day, special learning tools like the Montessori bells and the pink tower, and the role of the Montessori teacher, which does differ from that of teachers in more traditional classrooms.
Observe a classroom
Now that you know what it means for a school to claim the designation “Montessori,” you can ask the schools in which you could potentially enroll your child if you may have an opportunity to observe a classroom. Feel free so spend more than a cursory five minutes while on a tour, instead really sit back and watch. This is a chance to see if the classroom is prepared according to the Montessori method, if the teacher demonstrates knowledge of the underlying Montessori philosophy through their classroom guidance, and how the students interact with each other, the classroom environment, and their teacher.
Honor what you know works for your family
The last step, and the one that can offer the most beneficial insights in your decision making, is to recognize and honor what works for your family and to check the Montessori elementary schools against that criteria. You are the expert in your child’s educational needs and will know best if the school offers the right degree of structure, if the teachers have a compatible teaching style, or if their approach to the Montessori curriculum will spark a love of learning in your child. It is important to also respect your family’s logistical requirements, such as commuting and transportation needs, compatibility of the school schedule with family schedules, and tuition costs and available scholarship options. In the end, go with your instinct, as it is the most honest, authentic guide.
Hill Point Montessori in West Hills, California offers 3 programs – Primary for Ages 3-6; Lower Elementary for Ages 6-9; and Upper Elementary for Ages 9-12. Montessori education groups students according to their abilities, unlike traditional education where students are grouped by age. This allows students to work together and collaborate throughout their learning journey as they guide each other.