Montessori learning is a different approach to education. Instead of rigid changes in subject matter and location throughout the day, children have goals and the freedom to work on projects without fixed timing. The idea is to give students the ability to focus on educational projects. The factors setting an excellent Montessori school apart underscores what a parent should look for.
As a matter of course, an excellent Montessori school will have the affiliation and recognition to demonstrate how well it is doing. This includes school and teacher involvement with professional organizations, recognition from national learning centers, and full licensing by government as well as independent educational associations.
Manageable Class Sizes
A Montessori classroom may have students involved in several different subjects at the same time. To prevent this from becoming a free-for-all, class sizes are generally smaller. In turn, this allows the teachers to spend more time with individuals, offering more guidance for children who need help and allowing children who are doing well to proceed at their own speed.
Child-Centered, Result Oriented
The purpose of Montessori education is to provide children with the tools they need to reach well-defined educational goals. Classrooms are laid out with the materials necessary, in an intuitive manner that children can easily grasp. Instead of a focus on every child learning at the same pace as other children, the focus is on each child getting the most benefit out of their own individualized curriculum.
Another example of how a Montessori school excels over other learning centers is the way that classrooms mix age groups. Younger children look up to older students, and working with younger children builds self esteem and teamwork in older kids. This reinforces previous learning for the older kids, and helps them put what they have learned to productive use as they assist others. It also has the added benefit of taking some of the load off teachers, which means they have a little more time to spend with children who need a little extra encouragement.
Teachers as Models and Guides
Most Montessori teachers are “generalist” educators. Rather than specializing in a single field, they have a well-rounded educational background. This is a necessary trait in an excellent school where children remain in the same classroom for large portions of the day. Some fields, including science or languages, will have specialist instructors, but the aim of the teacher is to assist students in learning, not dictate how each child will spend their day. Teachers are at the top of a hierarchy of educational goals, rather than being the supreme leader in a stagnant pond of subject matter.
Montessori education is not like traditional education, and should not be regarded as such. Although students are still required to take the same standardized tests and meet the same minimum objectives, an excellent Montessori school will spend more of each day focused on the educational goals of individual students than on teaching rote memorization from limited sources.
At Montessori School of Flagstaff Switzer Mesa Campus, our public charter elementary school welcomes parents and students to visit our school to see the Montessori Method first hand. Contact us today and schedule an appointment to learn why our school is an excellent choice for Montessori education.