How to choose a
schools claim to be Montessori, but parents must know what questions to
what to look for during a school visit in order to find a true
years ago, Maria Montessori created an educational method based upon
observations that a child will successfully direct his own development
has a nurturing and prepared environment and the appropriate materials
which to work.
preschools that claim to be Montessori,
there is no mandatory accreditation process for a school to call itself
Montessori. Parents must ask three important questions and look for a
essential classroom characteristics during a school visit to find a
Montessori early childhood program.
to Ask a Montessori Preschool
taking the time to visit every school in town, a parent should call and
these basic questions.
teachers have Montessori credential?
supplement their classroom staff using non-Montessori trained
teaching aides in order to keep teacher-to-child ratios low. Be sure to
many certified Montessori teachers are in each class
training is required of teacher aides in order to evaluate whether a
Montessori experience is being offered.
has each teacher worked at the school?
education is based upon a three year cycle from age three through
During this time a child remains with the same teacher in the same
order to fully explore and experience all curriculum areas in a
environment. A stable Montessori school with a long-term teaching staff
provides a child with a safe basis to develop and grow.
to Look for
Montessori Preschool School Visit?
school visit with each qualified Montessori school. If possible, choose
when class is in session and bring the child who will attend along.
visit look for the following characteristics that indicate a good
children free to choose activities independently?
Montessori classroom is set up for independent freedom within an
structure. This means that activities in all curriculum areas are
all times, with each child free to independently choose an activity.
activities are child-directed not teacher directed. The teacher is
show a child how to use a material, but then allows the child to work
classroom appear peaceful, yet busy?
purposeful, yet quiet buzz of activity is the sound of a quality
classroom. Children are engaged in their various activities, some
alone, some working together, some eating snack, some washing tables,
simply watching another child work.
treat the children with respect?
treat children in a respectful way by speaking gently, modeling manners
creating a culture of peaceful responsibility create a Montessori
in which children naturally behave the same way.
at the equipment in the classroom, and make sure it's
A fully-stocked classroom can be very expensive, but you want to make
basic materials are there. You can find online catalogs that have
at Montessori-n-such online to see Montessori equipment that should be
should be neat with work on shelves that are an appropriate
3-6 year olds. The tables and chairs should be sized for the children
Especially watch the snack area - the children will likely be coming 1
or 2 at
a time from their work, serving their own snack, eating it, cleaning up
themselves, and returning to work - all independently (i.e. without a
directing them to snack). Nienhuis is
classic granddaddy of Montessori work sellers, and is another source
what work should look like. The classroom will have a practical life
(water pouring, scooping things,
wiping things, apple slicing, carrot
etc.), science, language, and math, sensorial. There may also be
preschool for a child is a big decision, but by asking questions about
accreditation and teacher qualifications before going on a school visit
time and ensures that all visits are to Montessori affiliated schools.
selecting which schools to visit, a parent is empowered to know what
characteristics to look for to determine if the school truly
Montessori philosophy of a child-directed school experience.