When you’re considering Montessori education for your child, the first question that will inadvertently pop up in your mind will be, ‘Is this the education that will equip my child for the skills they will need in adulthood?’ While some might reply with a resounding ‘Yes’, there are a fair share of naysayers that will try their best to make you believe that the Montessori route is not the best choice. It’s imperative, then, to put all cards on the table and see exactly what you might be getting into, when opting for the Montessori way of teaching.
What is a ‘Montessori school’, anyways?
Before we take a look at whether Montessori education lives up to the hype, let’s consider what it even is, in the first instance.
In essence, a Montessori school is one that provides an environment that is highly conducive for hands-on learning. A Montessori education involves the use of materials that encourage children to learn in different ways. Even the curriculum is nothing like the kind you find in a traditional school, the focus being on activities that keep children interested, instead of pushing them to learn. In a nutshell, the philosophy of the Montessori program encompasses child-centered learning, helping the children have ownership over their learning.
Pros of Montessori Education
If you’re looking to validate your shaky belief that Montessori education will give your children that edge, you’ve come to the right place. Here are those pro-Montessori reasons!
Unlike in a traditional classroom, children aren’t left to their own devices, to learn how to cope with their social difficulties. Instead, one of the Montessori method essentials is that social emotional learning is directly embedded within the curriculum itself. Right from a tender age, students are taught to develop relationships based on mutual respect and cooperation.
It’s inclusive of children with special needs
Maria Montessori’s grand vision for education placed a great emphasis on carving a place for children with special needs. The really great thing about Montessori education lies in the fact that children of special needs are grouped with differently-aged peers and remain in the same classroom with the same teachers, for 3 years. This ensures they are under no sort of pressure to ‘keep up’, and have that vital sense of freedom to grow at their own pace.
Each individual is treated as a single entity
A Montessori preschool doesn’t care about standardized tests. Instead, every child is evaluated on an individual basis, thereby allowing teachers to identify the unique ability of each child, thus enabling them to work at their own pace.
It infuses a love for learning
Which kid likes learning? You’ll be surprised to find that kids having a Montessori education actually inculcate a lifelong love for learning. This novel method of education seems to bolster their inherent sense of curiosity about the world around them. That love for learning undoubtedly holds them in good stead for the years of secondary education to follow, and for Life, too!
There’s a broader range of subjects taught
The Montessori classroom is a place where kids come to see that the whole world is a potential learning opportunity. Subjects like Physics and Geography are explained from a holistic standpoint. Apart from this, there is far more time spent outdoors as compared with the traditional learning model, and plenty of emphasis on hands-on projects that offer a truly ‘out of the box’ learning experience for the kids.
The Cons of Montessori Education
You’ve seen the rosy stuff where it comes to Montessori Education. But you know what they say – Every rose has its thorn! Let’s take a look, then, at why the Montessori way of learning might not be the perfect choice for our children, after all.
It is considered a ‘white and privileged’ education
You know what that means. Unfortunately, Montessori education is not for everyone. Certainly not what Maria Montessori had in mind, but there’s no escaping the harsh reality. Namely, that the Montessori program is private, admissions-regulating and tuition-centric to a great extent. That makes it difficult for children of color and even those who come from low-income families, to secure seats in Montessori schools.
It can be difficult to make friends
While a Montessori education might be pretty exemplary, it’s another story where it comes to forging friendships. After all, a Montessori classroom is much smaller than its traditional counterpart. Further, it doesn’t really help when the children have only one or two kids of their age, in their classroom. This makes it more difficult for them to make friendships later on, in high school.
The curriculum is not that structured
While the Montessori method of learning places a great emphasis on children learning at their own pace, this might not be such a great thing at times. On account of the teachers helping children to focus on certain key areas, some subjects, such as Math, might just end up getting neglected.
The authenticity of a Montessori school is up for debate
Any school can claim to impart a Montessori education. There are in fact no guidelines that need to be met, in order for an institution to call themselves a Montessori school, and parents have to do their due diligence to figure out the authenticity of the school.
The lack of routine might be intimidating
Believe it or not, children actually like a sense of routine and structure that is more present in traditional classrooms (for instance, chairs and tables stacked together unlike the more ‘open’ Montessori classrooms). While Montessori classrooms offer more freedom, children might lack that sense of order and safety that comes with a traditional classroom.
There are plenty of things to bear in mind before diving headlong into the Montessori admissions process. The pros and cons of Montessori education that have been articulated here, will hopefully help you make a well-balanced decision when it comes to securing the right kind of education for your little one with EuroKids.