Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Montessori approach differ from that of the traditional preschools?
Isn't Montessori only for bright children?
What is the Montessori environment like?
Practical life encourages skill development in daily living tasks; the activities each of us perform on a regular basis to care for ourselves and our environment. This area of the classroom includes such activities as pouring, bow tying, dish washing, polishing, hammering, food preparation and many others.
Sensorial materials stimulate awareness of size relationships, colors, sounds, and tactile qualities. These activities refine and develop the child’s senses and organize the information received through the senses. Manipulative materials allow the child to experiment in a concrete way.
Mathematics, geometry, language, geography and science activities provide academic stimulation. The math and language materials develop visual discrimination skills and provide a foundation for future learning by developing mathematical and phonetic concepts. The science and geography areas contain activities that increase the child’s understanding of the world.
Movement, music, and art enrich the program and contribute to the child’s growth. Each child spends time in a “circle” daily, learning new songs and movement games, as well as enjoying old ones. Puppets and dramatic play enrich the fantasy experience. Children express thoughts, feelings, and experiences graphically through art materials.
Why are three, four, and five year olds mixed together?
Is three too young for my child to start school?
Will my three year old be able to handle five days of school each week?
Initially, some three year olds are tired at the end of the school day. Lunch and a rest period help them and their families through the remainder of the day. Their bodies adjust with time and patience.
Why do the children use the materials individually? Do they learn to share?
Before children spontaneously share, they must feel free to not share. In the Montessori environment, the adults protect their right to explore an activity by themselves at their own pace. Sharing evolves naturally from the classroom experience. When they desire, they share by communicating with and helping others. The sharing is natural and spontaneous because it comes from within the child, rather than being forced arbitrarily by an adult.
Do the children have enough opportunities to socialize? Does the day include ample group activities for socialization?
Group activities have limitations as they do not encourage spontaneous interactions among children. The Montessori program provides individual activities that encourage communication and sharing that is spontaneous, personal and pertinent to what is happening in their lives.
How do the children learn?
Are the children free to do anything?
How are the children disciplined?
When children continually disrespect others needs and rights they are removed from the group and their right to participate is terminated temporarily. During the “time out” period they sit quietly with a teacher. They can then observe other children continuing their activities in constructive ways. After a few minutes, the teacher invites the child to re-enter the activities.
As children come to understand the meaning of the respectful environment, they choose to monitor their behavior so that they do not infringe on the rights of others.