Because of the combined grade classrooms, I learned how to get help from my classmates when I didn’t understand something, and later how to be an eager but patient teacher. KMS Alumna, 2009 (Elementary Graduate 2007)
Why should you send your child to a Montessori school instead of a traditional preschool or Elementary school?
There are really two answers:
- The Montessori Difference – How much more your child will enjoy school and how much more they will learn.
- The Benefits of Montessori – How much better prepared your child will be for their later schooling and for life.
Click the links above to learn more about each of these – and be sure to watch the video below, which offers one parent’s view of why Montessori is better than traditional education.
The Montessori Difference
Montessori is fundamentally different from traditional education, and for most children it is the most natural and enjoyable way to learn.
Unlike students in a conventional classroom, Montessori students:
- Choose their own lessons – instead of waiting for a teacher to tell them what to do.
- Work at their own pace – instead of sitting around waiting for everyone else to finish, or being forced to rush their work because the rest of the class is ready to move on.
- Use hands-on materials that encourage exploration and facilitate deeper learning – instead of filling out piles of worksheets.
- Are free to move around in the classroom and to work independently or in small groups – instead of being forced to sit in one place and being punished if they talk out of turn.
- Interact with children of different ages, learning from and teaching each other and developing teamwork and leadership skills – instead of being limited to children in a single age group who have less to offer each other because they are all on more or less the same level.
- Are part of a close-knit, caring community that values each child and nurtures mutual respect and understanding – instead of being forced to obey by a teacher-imposed system of punishment and rewards.
For all of these reasons, most Montessori students love going to school, and they often move ahead more quickly, and understand what they learn more fully, than students in conventional schools.
The Benefits of Montessori
In addition to being a more natural and enjoyable way for children to learn, Montessori does a better job helping students develop the social, emotional, and intellectual skills they need for long-term success in school and in life.
These skills, often referred to as “executive function skills,” include:
- Critical thinking
Katie Krawczyk, a graduate from a Montessori charter school in Michigan, highlights the importance of these skills in “How Montessori Prepared Me for College”:
Montessori taught me how to study, how to take notes, and how to work independently; how to set goals and chase them as well as how to become a self-motivated learner.Katie Krawczyk
The benefits of Montessori education were were confirmed in a 2006 study conducted by Dr. Angeline Lillard, a Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Lillard evaluated students in an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee who had been assigned at random to a public Montessori school. She compared these students to students from the same neighborhood who were assigned, also at random, to a traditional public school.
By the end of kindergarten, the Montessori children performed better on standardized tests of reading and math, engaged in more positive interaction on the playground, and showed more advanced social cognition and executive control. They also showed more concern for fairness and justice.
At the end of elementary school, Montessori children wrote more creative essays with more complex sentence structures, selected more positive responses to social dilemmas, and reported feeling more of a sense of community at their school. Lillard, “Evaluating Montessori Education,” Science, 9/2006
Dr. Lillard concluded that the students in the Montessori school learned more and achieved higher levels of social and emotional development than students in the traditional school.