These days especially, preschool comes in a lot of types and forms. There are some preschools that are very structured, and others that are based almost entirely on play. The vast majority lie somewhere in between. In any case, it is important to know what to expect when you send your child to a particular preschool. If that preschool advertises itself as using the Montessori method, then here are some of the high points of what you and your child can expect.
The Montessori method really stresses individuality and independence in learning. As such, it tends to be very hands-on. A preschool that utilizes this method will probably have a lot of toys, and not just any toys. Those toys will be ones that require your child to think, interact, and use their hands. Each toy will teach something or inspire some interest. For instance, you might see a play tool chest, a play kitchen, or a play gas station where kids can not only learn about the tasks of daily life but also practice their fine motor skills.
A Child-Centered Environment
You can expect a Montessori preschool to encourage children to start doing things on their own. As such, the environment will often be built to support this. The bathroom, for instance, will probably have a small toilet and sink that a child can use or learn to use on their own. The doorknobs may even be placed where kids can reach and use them. Coat racks will typically be low, and there may even be low sinks where kids can wash their own dishes after lunch.
Traditionally, the Montessori method would place children of varied ages together so they can learn from each other. The older kids can help guide the younger kids, and in doing so, they learn a sense of responsibility and helpfulness. The younger kids can learn to ask questions of the older kids and work collaboratively with others. The extent of age mixing will depend on the school. Some preschools only combine three and four-year-olds. Others may mix the preschoolers with kindergartners and even first graders. Either way, you should not be surprised when you show up to drop off your child and some of the students look older.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect when you send your child to a Montessori preschool. If you have any additional quandaries, reach out to the preschool before the first day.
Although most people tend to think of education as something that they need to do in a formal setting, the world is filled with lessons if you just look around and soak it in. I started focusing more and more on education about ten years ago, and it was really great to feel how much of a difference those early lessons made in my personal life. Before I knew it, I really felt like things were starting to open up for me, and I was starting to feel happier about the direction my life was heading. I wanted to start a blog all about education, so that you can learn what you need to in order to improve your life.