Is Montessori right for my child?
I get asked a lot, “Is Montessori right for my child?” “Is it only for kids who can plan well and are super independent?” “Or only for kids that can sit quietly and work and not run about?”
Let’s take a look.
1. Different learning types
I’ve found that Montessori is suitable for all children. The materials offer opportunities to learn visually, aurally, kinaesthetically (through touch) and verbally, and thus easily accessible to children who learn in different ways.
The teacher prepares and connects the child to the environment which is full of beautiful materials to explore and the children learn through discovery.
One of my children learns a lot from observing the other children – he watches and watches others doing an activity, then after some time tries it himself and has generally already mastered it. And my other child learns by doing the activity herself and repeating and repeating it until it is mastered. Both children have thrived in this environment despite their different learning styles.
2. Does your child have to be able to plan?
Planning their day is something Montessori children learn. Some children need more guidance than others, but a good Montessori teacher should be able to guide children who need more assistance to organise their work.
Both my children gradually learned the planning process during their time at Montessori preschool and primary school. And this was mastered in upper primary (the bovenbouw). Under 9 years, they could mostly do the activities they wanted as long as they were moving ahead in all areas of the class.
3. What if my child needs to move a lot?
If you enter a Montessori classroom, it can indeed be quite quiet. The children seem focussed on their activities without the teacher having to yell to calm them down. However, the children are also allowed to get up and move around the classroom so it can be ideal for children who need to move.
4. What is your family approach?
While I believe Montessori is suitable for all children, Montessori is not for all families. If you are laissez-faire at home where your child can do what they like, eat what they want and go to bed as they wish, they may find the limits of the Montessori classroom too constraining. And if you are strict at home, and your child is used to cooperating via rewards, stickers and time outs, they could find it difficult to control themselves with the freedom in the Montessori classroom.
Montessori schools are most suited to children in families where there is respect for the child, the parent set few but clear limits, and the child learns to respect and follow these limits.
Want to know what to look for in a Montessori school? Watch THIS video.