Trying to find the right kind of education for your children can be a real challenge. With public schools, private religious schools, private secular schools, charter schools, and more, finding the right place for your child to grow and prosper will take a little research and will be in part based on what options are available to you locally.
One form of education that has had frequent mention is Montessori schools. So what are Montessori schools? What are the pros and cons of a Montessori education? Lets take a moment to find out.
The Pros of A Montessori Education
1. Children Learn How to Be Independent
What most people find shocking about a Montessori style education is the lack of traditional structure. Within public school, a teacher directs a classroom of students to their tasks and directs everyone at once. With a Montessori education, the students are instead allowed free reign around the room as they learn for themselves, occasionally aided by a teacher along the way. This allows children to gravitate towards what interests them instead of being forced to learn things in a style that may not match their true interests.
2. Children Can Learn From Teaching One Another
One of the conditions for a Montessori school is that classrooms are mixed in age. One of the reasons for doing this is the theory that children, as well as adults, learn best when they teach one another. In this structure, older students are seen as helpers and teachers, helping younger students in a supportive and nurturing environment. As a result, general rates of bullying are significantly lower with Montessori schools then public schools.
3. Children Can Learn At The Pace That Works For Them
There are countless learning styles. Traditional schooling plays to the strength of one or two of these styles, doing very little for those children who learn differently. With a Montessori education, it is assumed that children will find the best way to learn for themselves. While this may include listening to an instructor, it might also mean reading, creating things, and much, much more.
4. Higher Level of Excitement Learning
A common complaint regarding the current public school education is that it kills the desire to learn. With examinations, quizzes, and high stake tests, any natural joy that children have regarding learning is quickly squashed. With Montessori schooling, this desire to learn is not only unhindered, it is allowed to grow. Children quickly find what their interests are and continue a lifelong desire to learn well into adulthood.
The Cons of Montessori Education
1. Not All Students Do Well In An Instruction-less Setting
While the lack of structure may be good for some kids, other kids will have a very hard time adjusting to a classroom without structure. This is especially true if the child is coming from a more traditional public school education. Extra time may have to be taken in order to better prepare children for the transition.
2. May Have Difficulty Transitioning To Normal Classrooms
Children coming from a Montessori education will have a challenging time readjusting to more structured schooling once they transition out of the Montessori education. As few Montessori schools go through high school, kids will have to learn to adjust to a more traditional educational style.
3. Montessori May Not Actually Be Montessori
While the AMI exists to regulate and guarantee the quality of participating Montessori schools, there is nothing that stops a private school from simply calling itself a Montessori school. It may be difficult to find out if the Montessori school near you is a part of the AMI or not.
4. Cost Associated With Attending
Montessori schools, like other private schools, cost money in order to enroll children. With the general cost of private schooling being so high, many people find it challenging to afford a Montessori education for their child. While there are some financial aid packages available for parents, they can be very challenging to get as there is a lot of competition for these.
What Exactly is A Montessori Education?
The term Montessori School comes from an Italian educator and physician, Maria Montessori. Contract to the traditional classroom structure, Montessori education stresses the respect for a child’s natural inclination to learn, an emphasis on the freedom of the child within educational limits, and puts a great deal of focus on the independence of the child. True Montessori schools belong to the Association Montessori Internationale or (AMI), and emphasize all of the above plus uninterrupted blocks of work time, mixed aged classes, and a discovery model for learning. Significantly different from the standard model for education in the United States, Montessori education has a series of advantages and disadvantages associated with its teaching structure.