Montessori FAQs
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Montessori FAQs

Many people are unfamiliar with Montessori schools and their unique structure. We’ve compiled a list of FAQs to help answer all of your Montessori-related questions!

Q: Why should I send my child to a Montessori school?

 

A: The “toys”, or materials, found in a Montessori classroom are unique and cannot be found elsewhere in such a wealth of variety. The use of the materials is fascinating and interesting. They are stimulating. There is a reason for every item in the classroom. The classroom provides an exciting environment for the child.

Q: What is the Montessori Method?

A: The Montessori Method is named after Dr. Maria Montessori. It is a method of education Dr. Montessori developed based on scientific observation of the child. She recognized the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. This method aids the child by emphasizing independent activity without the unnecessary help of an adult.

 

Q: How do we know that the Montessori Method works? Is there any scientific research that supports it?

A: Recent studies have shown that Montessori children have scored higher on different parameters in comparison to children to who attended a traditional school. A comparison of Montessori students with students in other school programs found that 5-year-old Montessori students scored higher on both academic and behavioral tests than the control group. The study also found that 12-year-old Montessori students wrote more sophisticated and creative stories and showed a more highly developed sense of community and social skills than students in other programs.

A longitudinal study of Milwaukee high school graduates showed that students who had attended Montessori preschool and elementary programs significantly outperformed a peer control group on math/science scores.

A study comparing Montessori with traditional middle school found significantly higher student motivation and socialization among adolescents in Montessori programs compared to traditional school environments.

Q: What is the Child-Development Approach of Montessori?

A: Children develop their characters through their actions. The Child-Development Approach allows children to develop independence, self-confidence, self-discipline and a love of learning, spontaneously, without the need of adult intervention. The Montessori method specifically recognizes the importance of social interaction. Children are free to move in the classroom, which enhances social skills. This allows  children to be able to learn by doing and working with the numerous educational materials we provide them with. Since all children learn differently, they are able to work individually or in small groups, at their own pace, assuring that they will not be bored or frustrated by their activities in school.

Q: What is the best age for my child to begin at Alef Bet Montessori School?

A: We accept children as early as 18 months old.

The Montessori program is a 3-year cycle (ages 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, etc..). A child age 2 will join the first cycle, in the Toddler Class. Note that his/her cycle of 3 years (i.e. 3 – 6) starts in the next year, as he/she turns 3 years old.

Q: Shouldn’t my child just play for a few years before starting school?

A: A child’s work is play! At Montessori your child’s work is play with meaningful materials. Children love to explore, examine, and discover. The Montessori method was particularly designed for these inquisitive minds. The children lose themselves in their “work” in a joyful and self-fulfilling way.

Q: How does Montessori Support Creativity?

A: In the classroom there are many elements that help children develop basic skills, such as pencil holding, grip, balanced movement, and hand-eye coordination. Mastering these skills can serve the children in working with art materials and with writing letters.

Q: What is so important about the early years?

A: The first period in human development, from birth to age 6, is the time when a child’s character and intelligence are formed. The child has great creative energies, during this period, that are used to develop a mind with the ability to think, understand and remember. This extraordinary power of the child works like a sponge absorbing information from the environment.

Dr. Maria Montessori names this power the “absorbent mind“. Dr. Montessori used to say, “Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it” (Dr. Maria Montessori, book: Absorbent Mind, 1995).

It is the work of the child to build the person that he/she will become and the foundation for this important self-construction is formed in the early years.

 

Q: Why are different ages grouped together?

A: Montessori class includes children of different ages. There is a great benefit to the children in growing in a “family like” environment. Some cousins are at different age – but we still get along well. Younger children benefit from the guidance and stimulation of older children, while older children gain additional self-esteem and independence by helping younger ones. Children can always find others who are working at their level, regardless of age. The children stay in the same class for several years, developing strong bonds with their classmates and teachers.

Q: Who was Maria Montessori?

A: Dr. Maria Montessori lived in Italy (1870). A pioneer in her field, she was the first woman to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rome in 1896. As a physician, Dr. Montessori became profoundly interested in the development of young children. Through careful and exhaustive scientific observation, she realized that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environments.

Q: What is the Sensitive Period?

A: Dr. Montessori recognized that each child has “sensitive periods” of learning. Research shows, for example that the first 6 months of a new born is a “sensitive period” to develop eyes sight up to 98%. A sensitive period is the time when the child has an intense interest and ability in acquiring a particular skill. His will to learn is particularly important during these sensitive periods. An AMI trained Montessori teacher detects those sensitive periods, and introduces relevant materials to the child. Your child will be able to choose when and how to work with the many Montessori materials that will aid in her mental and social development.

Q: Do you have a Kindergarten Program?

A: Yes, Kindergarten is the culmination of the Alef Bet Montessori Primary program. In this final year (of the Primary class), the child uses the very familiar materials that were introduced in past years, but in advanced ways geared for primary-school level curricula. The child shares work and lessons with the smaller children in the class, solidifying all the knowledge they have learned in the past years and developing them into group leaders. Kindergartners truly feel confident, secure and independent with high self-esteem. There is a real graduation ceremony at the end of the year to mark this important milestone.

Q: Does this open Montessori environment let children wander about aimlessly?

A: Montessori is highly individualized and yet group activities are found everywhere. It is also structured, with clearly defined procedures, purposeful activities, and oversight from the teachers. A child wandering aimlessly will be redirected by a staff member, gently, and find an interesting “work” or join a friend in an activity.

Q: Do children get to socialize and form friendships?

It is of the utmost importance that children also experience their classroom as a place where they can develop socially. In our classroom, they are free to move about and relate to other children in conversation and in their play.A:

Have more questions?