Modern parents are more empowered and informed than ever before. They want the best for their kids, and that includes the best possible teaching techniques and educational resources at school. Armed with global education data, social media networks, and a desire to enrich and improve their children’s education, it’s no surprise that today’s parents are questioning test-focused school systems and increasingly choosing alternative education models. But one model continues to stand out, more than a century after it was first developed in Italy: the Montessori model.

More than 500 public schools in the United States currently follow the Montessori education model. Montessori schools have existed since Maria Montessori opened her first classroom in 1907, but the model has exploded in popularity in the last 15 years, thanks in part to a resistance to rigid regulations that revolve around standardized testing. While today’s American Montessori programs still comply with state regulations, they offer a more unique, collaborative learning style that many families find refreshing.

So, why are public, private, and charter schools throughout the country adopting this individualized education model? Let’s learn a little more about the Montessori approach.

Montessori Schools Help Children Become Adults

Montessori programs are designed to promote human development, including (but not limited to) academic achievement. Unlike traditional schools that structure academic learning into year-long grades, Montessori schools divide children into mixed-age groups of different sizes. These groups vary from school to school and from year to year, because they are designed according to developmental “planes” rather than exact birth year, and they are assembled according to the needs and skills of the students.

Students between 2 and 6 years old start in Children’s Houses, where they pursue subjects that interest them and enjoy activities that help develop their senses, motor skills, language skills, and other learning fundamentals. Next, students between 6 and 12 – who are in the second plane of development – learn in elementary classrooms with unique class sizes. There are fewer Montessori schools with middle or high school programs, but many schools do extend the curriculum all the way to age 18, spanning the period in which young adults construct identities and develop senses of justice and dignity.

Montessori Students Have Freedom to Explore and Express

The Montessori model is unique because it’s an educational twist on psychological concepts and theories. Teachers in Montessori schools help children interact with their environment and each other in constructive ways, rather than guiding each child down the exact same path in the exact same way. The goal is to give children freedom to develop and explore their basic human tendencies, such as repetition and communication, within a safe and stimulating space. Of course, Montessori programs use many different teaching techniques, tools, and classroom texts and materials to supplement this approach.

If your family lives in the Bay Area, several Montessori schools near you are currently accepting new students, including the Montessori School of Fremont. Schedule a tour today to learn more about our unique, engaging approach to education.