Trying to find the best preschool/daycare for your child? It’s understandable to feel pressured in this position, more so if you’re a first-time parent. You want a facility that will set your little one up for a life of learning, all while enriching their childhood experience. With that in mind, it’s time you considered sending your child to a Montessori daycare.
There’s been a lot of interest in the Montessori Method over the years, but what exactly is it? It’s essentially an alternative approach to education developed by Maria Montessori, the first female Italian doctor. She relied on her scientific expertise to develop a philosophy that focuses on hands-on learning and prepare students for all aspects of life.
No need to delve deeper for now — you want to know if the method will be a good fit for your child, right? Here’s why you’re better off choosing a Montessori daycare facility:
-Individualized learning: Montessori learning values the importance of teaching on an individual level. So if a class has, say, 25 students, the teacher will observe each one of them and give lessons that match their specific needs. Learners are also allowed to choose activities and approach them on their own terms.
-Self-discipline: Allowing kids to carve out their own learning experiences cultivates a sense of control and accountability.
-Holistic approach: Perhaps the most notable benefit of Montessori is that it educates the whole person from the get-go. You will find kids at pre-school level engaging in activities that develop their spiritual, mental and emotional facets.
-Creativity: It goes without saying that exposure to a wide variety of concepts will inspire your child to broaden their thinking.
Not All Montessori Schools are Created Equal
It’s worth pointing out that the term ‘Montessori’ has no copyright attached to it. That of course leaves a lot of room for dubious duplication (and all the misconceptions associated with the program). But don’t let that dissuade you — what’s important is to know how to identify an authentic Montessori school.
With that in mind, here are the things to look for when choosing a Montessori daycare near me:
-Certification: While there are many accreditation bodies, the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) is recognized for their adherence to Dr. Maria’s original principles and practices. A good school should not only hold AMI membership, but also hire teachers trained by the organization.
-Curriculum: The Montessori approach, as said earlier, seeks to support each learner through their own path instead of following a one-size-fits-all approach. So be sure to ask how each facility will tailor their curriculum to suit your child. Also keep in mind that the program doesn’t burden kids with homework — not until middle school level anyway.
-Class Schedule: Authentic programs have 3-hour long uninterrupted learning periods each morning. During this session, your child should receive lessons from the teacher without being asked to join all-class activities.
-Class Environment: Expect to find lots of learning materials placed on long, low shelves inside each classroom. At the pre-school level, most schools provide learning aids that facilitate independence: think kitchen appliances like dull knives and miniature graters, as well as glass vases and fresh flowers. Keep in mind that these materials will be made (mostly) of wood, glass and natural fibers — you will seldom see plastic inside a proper Montessori classroom.
-Class Makeup: Authentic Montessori schools group kids by 3-year age spans. This way, younger pre-schoolers get to benefit from the mentoring of their older counterparts.
Now that you know what makes an authentic Montessori School, it shouldn’t prove difficult to find an accredited daycare center in your area. Just don’t forget to take your child’s opinion into account when making your final decision. Take them along when visiting different schools to see how they feel about the place — this will ensure their preschool experience is meaningful and worthwhile.