By Sofia Coraines
Many parents are mystified when they first hear about Montessori schools. In many educational programs, children are encouraged to follow a strict curriculum. Every second of their time is managed, from their bathroom breaks to their naps.
At a Montessori programs, children don't have to follow any kind of schedule. As a matter of fact, children are free to do what they want. While the day is split up into sections -- such as a work period and a lunch period -- the children have control over the kind of tasks that they perform.
That leaves many parents wondering what children actually do at a Montessori program. If you continue reading, you'll learn that children that attend Montessori schools actually do a great deal.
While children are allowed to choose the activities that they participate in, educators have control over the tasks that they perform. Although children are allowed to choose what they focus on during that day, their choices are limited by the materials available to them.
All of the activities that children can choose from are educational and build important skills. No matter what a child decides they want to do, they will be accomplishing something important.
The Value Of Freedom
Many children are excited about school when they first start to attend. In time, however, that enthusiasm starts to vanish. This is partially because children are constantly being told to participate in activities they aren't interested in.
Sometimes, people have to do things that they won't want to do; that's a necessary part of life. However, it is extremely important to instill a love of learning in small children. If a child develops a passion for learning, they'll be more willing to work on tasks that might not initially interest them.
Independence And Problem Solving Skills
At a Montessori school, teachers work to teach children how to solve their own problems. They also do their best to encourage independence.
Once a child reaches the elementary level, they work with their teachers to develop their own learning plan. They set personal goals for themselves, and they work very hard to achieve those goals.
Children that go to Montessori schools are often very driven. They don't take on projects because someone else has told them to do so. They do things because they want to do it themselves.
The Skills Children Learn At Montessori Schools
When children attend a Montessori school, they learn the same things they would learn at an ordinary school. Math, history, language and geography are all skills that are taught. However, these skills are not taught to them in the same way.
Instead of focusing on one skill at a time, teachers try to take an integrated approach. For example, when a teacher is showing a child a map of the world, they won't just focus on geography. They will also provide a world history lesson. A teacher could show children what current borders are while showing them how and why those borders have changed over time.
When teachers educate students in this way, they can see the ways in which these various studies are connected. When children are taught using traditional methods, they often feel that the things they are studying are unimportant. When they learn at a Montessori school, they'll never feel that way. They will see the importance of every subject.
Montessori Schools And Grades
In most cases, Montessori schools do not give out grades. When some parents learn this, they are upset. They may feel as though they won't be able to track a child's progress if they aren't receiving a letter grade.
In truth, Montessori schools work to provide both students and parents with more useful information about the progress that students are making. A grade is just a letter; Montessori educators provide detailed reports of progress.
When students go to Montessori schools, they are motivated to work hard because they love learning, not because they want a great grade. Parents who sent their children to Montessori schools will always know how their child is doing. They will even be able to attend conferences at the end of each term.
If a child goes to a public Montessori school, they will have to take standardized tests just like any student would. This is because testing is mandated by the law. However, teachers do not teach to the the test; they simply focus on providing children with the best possible education.
Children that go to private Montessori schools may not receive any kind of testing. It is up to the school to decide whether or not they administer those tests. Schools will usually opt out of those tests unless they believe they hold value for the students.
Montessori Schools And Gifted Children
Not all children learn the same way. Montessori schools understand that, which makes them ideal for gifted children.
If a child is an early reader, or has strong math skills, they won't be forced to hold back for the sake of the other students. Instead, they will be encouraged to develop their skills further.
At Montessori schools, every child is considered to be gifted in their own way. These schools want every child to find their natural talents and hone them.
It's clear that children do many things in a Montessori programs. When children go to a Montessori school, they will constantly be learning new things.