FAQ

 

What is the difference between a Montessori school and a regular school?

There are many differences between a Montessori school and a regular school. First, the Montessori school has mixed ages in the same classroom. That is, our 3 to 5 year olds are all in the same classroom together. They may do different activities but they interact with one another and learn from one another. The second difference is the fact that in a Montessori classroom, the children move through the curriculum at their own pace. That is, although there is a curriculum for the children to learn the materials, the children are free to work towards their goals according to interest and at their own pace. For example, although each child may learn to count the numbers up to 100 or even a thousand, they don’t always learn it the same time. At a Montessori classroom, we see each child as a unique individual who can acquire skills more successfully when they are learning the materials with love and interest rather than with deadlines and punishment.

 

Are there opportunities for my child to be creative in a Montessori classroom?

Yes. The children in a Montessori classroom are constantly engaged in creative problem solving as they try to figure out how to use the materials. Each teacher will introduce different materials and how to interact with them to the children; they are then free to do what they want with the materials and as many times they need to in order to master the concept behind each material. Our programs here at the Ladybird Montessori Learning Academy allows children to explore and experiment with colouring, gluing collages, watercolour, designing with geometric shapes, and more! There are many open-end opportunities for children to be creative in a Montessori classroom and children are guaranteed to have fun exploring.

 

Is 5 days a week too much for a 2.5 to 3 years old child?

No. The Montessori curriculum here at Ladybird Montessori Learning Academy is designed for flexible scheduling as well as for the child and parent to explore and experience with the Montessori materials provided. Our 5 days a week program is designed to be appealing and fun for young children. It doesn’t tire them out or cause them to feel like it’s too much work. The program is to show children that learning is fun and that they could fall in love with life-long learning rather than become tired of it. We ensure that children have lots of things that they can engage with and at the same time, they can be relaxing and comforting such as listening to music or reading a book. Furthermore, children thrive for routine and when they enrol in a 5 days program, they are able to get into the habit of having a routine much quicker and easier without having to struggle to go to school.

 

Is Montessori right for my child?

Montessori offers a range of learning materials so that all children can find something appealing and engaging in the classroom. The materials are designed to be multi-sensorial. That is, they are tactile, visual, auditory and in some cases, gustatory and olfactory. Thus children with different learning styles can benefit from these materials and each staff members take their time with every child to find their individual temperaments and learning styles. The only children who may find it difficult in a Montessori classroom are those who have a lot of screen time at home. Children who watches a lot of TV, or play computers for many hours everyday have a slower pace at a Montessori environment and often expect more instant gratification than occurs in a Montessori classroom.

 

Is Montessori too strict and structured for preschoolers?

No. The Montessori system has a good balance of freedom and structure that meets the needs of young children very well. The children have a lot of freedom in that they choose their own age appropriate activities but also have structure in that there are classroom rules. Children are expected to walk and use reasonable tone of voice in the classroom, as they should outside of it. They are also expected to clean up after themselves and put things back after they finish using them. They are also expected to treat peers and teachers as well as materials with respect and responsibility. All of these classroom guidelines take time for children to learn but parents are always impressed by how orderly their children conduct themselves and yet, they are still content and engaging with learning materials. This orderliness and peacefulness is the hallmark of a good Montessori classroom.They should a balance between freedom and structure for children at an early age.

 

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MONTESSORI

 

  • “Montessori is just a preschool for children” – Although most Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs are designed for levels from birth to fourteen.

  • “Montessori is just for special learners” the gifted or the learning-disabled – While the Montessori Method is highly effective with both learning-disabled and gifted learners; it is designed to ensure the success of all children.

  • “Montessori schools are religious” – Though some Montessori schools have a religious component to their program, the majority are independent of any religious affiliation.

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  • “Children are unsupervised and can do whatever they want”- The Montessori Method gives children the power of “free choice of purposeful activity.” This means the children learn how to use materials through lessons in an environment prepared by a Montessori-certified teacher as well as through modeling of the children’s peers. The teacher may intervene and gently redirect the child either to more appropriate use of the material only if the child is being destructive or is using the materials in an inappropriate manner.

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  • “Montessori classrooms are too structured” – While students are given the freedom to choose from a vast variety of activities in the Montessori classroom and discover the possibilities on their own, the teacher gives lessons to carefully illustrate the specific purpose for each material and clearly demonstrate the activities, step-by-step.

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  • “Montessori is a cult” – Montessori is part of mainstream education. Cleveland State University and New York University are two of the growing numbers of universities offering graduate-level programs in Montessori education. Montessori’s popularity in public schools increases annually.

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  • “Montessori is against fantasy; therefore, Montessori stifles creativity” – Instead of being against fantasy and creativity, Dr. Montessori found that children prefer activities providing practical experiences that fulfill their inner needs. The “freedom with guidance” approach to learning encourages creativity in problem solving through fantasy play initiated by the child. This approach is considered healthy and purposeful, while teacher-directed fantasy is discouraged. Additionally, art and music are integral parts of the Montessori classroom.

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  • “Montessori pushes children too far, too fast” – The Montessori philosophy allows each child to develop at his/her own individual pace. Montessori teachers never push children toward anything. In these scientifically prepared environments, possibilities open for children to learn at their own pace, and they excel far beyond traditional expectations of their age levels.

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  •  “Montessori is out-dated” – While appropriate changes have been made to the original Montessori curriculum (including the introduction of computers and modifications to the Practical Life exercises to keep them culturally relevant), the basic teaching strategy has not changed much since Dr. Montessori’s lifetime. Contemporary research and evaluations confirm Montessori’s insights.

  • “There is no play in Montessori” – The children at the 3 to 6 year old level do not really distinguish between work and play. Their work in the Montessori classroom is their play. They enjoy themselves and interact with others. Art, music and drama curricula allow for creative play in the Montessori classroom.

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  • “Montessori discourages children to work together” – Children in Montessori classrooms have a choice to work alone or in groups as long as they are not disruptive to other students. Between the ages of 3 and 6, children generally want to work and the Montessori environment supports that desire. Students age 6 to 9 and 9 to 12 years old often work together in small groups. There is nothing about the 3 to 6 year old group that would discourage working together later on. Students at this age simply are not the same as older students. Dr. Montessori did not intend for the children to isolate themselves from others when working.