Most educators who practice the Montessori method encourage children to begin their education in Montessori pre-school, though it is not too late if that isn’t the case for your child. The first years of the three-year Primary Program are key for creating a foundation for interacting with and navigating the Montessori classroom and curriculum. This foundation is necessary for the Montessori approach to education to benefit the students in the classroom, but children are fast learners and can get up to speed with the right supports in place.
The concept behind the method
Dr. Maria Montessori built her method around the concept that learning occurs as children progress through interdependent developmental stages. In these stages, the child’s sensitivity to certain ideas and skills are nurtured and enhanced through skilled facilitation and a prepared environment. In the Montessori approach to education, each aspect of the classroom experience and curriculum builds on the next to propel a child toward mastery of the subject. But even if your child hasn’t had the benefit of those formative years in Montessori schools, there is still the opportunity for them to succeed in the Montessori classroom.
A big shift: traditional classrooms to Montessori classrooms
Like with any big transition, it is normal to expect some challenges in joining a Montessori elementary school if that is not where your child started their education. The shift from traditional educational environments can be particularly difficult, but not insurmountable. Unlike in traditional classrooms where students are often motivated by grades or rewards, Montessori classrooms emphasize internally-motivated and self-directed learning. Montessori teachers take a less overt role and instead facilitate their students’ interests to promote learning. If your child is curious and loves exploring ideas, they will adapt to this more organic approach to learning. You can help support this transition by getting to know the Montessori philosophy and using Montessori practices at home while encouraging patience and perseverance throughout the adjustment process.
The benefits are worth the effort
While the move to a Montessori school will be hard work and require the support of the whole family, as well as good communication between you, your child, and your child’s teachers, the benefits are well worth the effort. In their new classroom, your child will have the opportunity to own their learning process, develop essential life skills, and build mentor/mentee relationships with classmates in their mixed-age group classrooms. Through the unique dynamics of Montessori schools, your child will gain the confidence, independence, and love of learning that is the ultimate goal of Montessori education.
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.