Very soon, parents of the coming Kindergarten children will have to make a decision on whether to keep their children in Montessori Corner or move them to the public school. Our teachers are often asked their input on this situation. Well, it’s not really a very difficult decision to make. For several years in teaching Montessori, this is what we observe:
In a nut shell, what would be the most important short–term disadvantage of sending my five–year–old to the local schools?
When a child transfers from Montessori to a new kindergarten, she spends the first few months adjusting to a new class, a new teacher, and a whole new system with different expectations. This, along with the fact that most kindergartens have a much lower set of expectations for five–year–olds than most Montessori programs, severely cuts into the learning that could occur during this crucial year of their lives.
What would be the most important advantages of keeping my five–year–old in Montessori?
Montessori is focused on teaching for understanding. In a primary classroom, children receive the benefit of sensorial preparation for academic skills by working with the concrete Montessori learning materials. This concrete sensorial experience gradually allows the child to form a mental picture of concepts like how big is a thousand, how many hundreds make up a thousand, and what is really going on when we borrow or carry numbers in mathematical operations. In the Kindergarten year, your child gets the opportunity to gradually transition from concrete to abstract at his/her own comfort and pace as each lesson is tailored to his/her need.
Research is very clear that young children learn by observing and manipulating their environment, not through textbooks and workbook exercises. Learning to be organized and learning to be focused is as important as any academic work. Doing worksheets quickly can be impressive to parents, but there is rarely any deep learning going on.
In a class with such a wide age range of children, won’t my five–year–old spend the year taking care of younger children instead of doing his or her own work?
Being with younger children provides opportunity to practice leadership skills and develop confidence.
Anyone who had to teach a skill to someone else may recall that the very process of explaining a new concept or helping someone practice a new skill leads the teacher to learn as much, if not more, than the pupil. This is supported by research. When one child tutors another, the tutor normally learns more from the experience than the person being tutored.
Should you have any additional questions about the kindergarten year at Montessori Corner, kindly reach out to us and we would be happy to help answer any questions you may have.