What do Jeff Bezos and preschoolers have in common? In 2018, the major online retailer promised one billion dollars to finance Montessori preschools specifically for low-income families. You may not be aware, but Jeff Bezos, the founder of Google® as well as some renowned sports stars, singers, and activists, was taught using the Montessori method.
What is the Montessori Method?
Dr. Maria Montessori created the Montessori Method during the initial years of the 20th century. This type of educational experience focuses on young people and is based on activities which come from the children themselves (commonly called “work”). It also features classrooms with children of a variety of ages and teachers who promote self-sufficiency in their students.
Dr. Montessori advocated for letting children select what they want to learn and this ideology is still incorporated into Montessori classrooms in the present. A Montessori classroom is probably not similar to what you are familiar with. Things that make it unique include:
- Various activity stations for children to choose from throughout the day.
- Teachers moving from group to group instead of standing at the front of the classroom.
- A nontraditional grading system.
- A focus on the whole student—social, emotional, intellectual and physical development are all considered.
In regards to educational strategies, some educators and family members are very fond of the technique while others are not as enthusiastic. Keep reading to discover some of the possible advantages and disadvantages of a Montessori education.
What is the Difference Between Montessori and Public School?
Montessori’s approach to learning emphasizes personalized instruction and giving individuals freedom to make their own decisions. In a Montessori setting, pupils are allowed to progress at their own rate and decide which activities they would like to take part in. This type of schooling is advantageous for kids since it takes into account each child in terms of their talents and shortcomings. In the Montessori method, students are not assessed or judged in the usual way of giving letter grades. Montessori students don’t have to preoccupy themselves with tests or evaluations, leaving them free to investigate their inclinations and develop fresh abilities.
In comparison, the educational system in public schools in the United States differs significantly from those taught by Montessori methods. Many public and conventional schools generally rely on standardized assessments to measure their students’ growth and accomplishments. A great importance is placed on ensuring that everything taught in these classroom settings is geared towards helping pupils do well in state tests, as the quality of a teacher’s performance is regularly evaluated based on how well their students score.
Public schools must also stick to the Common Core Standards. The standards aren’t necessarily an issue, however having particular benchmarks often implies that teachers are restricted to particular teaching tactics. Frequently in standard classrooms there is an assumption that everyone must learn the same material in the same amount of time. Kids have different approaches to education and this can be difficult for students who don’t fall under any specific category (which is often the case, and it’s nothing to worry about). Moreover, many public schools suffer from overcrowding and lack of sufficient financial resources. Mixing these two things typically results in a decreased number of assets and poorer educational quality.
The pros of Montessori education
If you converse with someone who is trained in the Montessori Method, it is probable that they will effusively extol its virtues. Educational systems have a tendency to ignite a strong enthusiasm within the educators who implement them. What are the advantages of a Montessori education specifically?
An emphasis on hands-on independent learning
Montessori classrooms are somewhat famous for their beauty. Natural illumination and room are commonly desired elements in the design of classrooms. This is all done for a reason. Karen Ricks, the founder of a global Montessori school based in Japan, believes maintaining a welcoming and easily-navigated space is incredibly essential since children can lead their own instruction with materials specially made for them.
Ricks explains that these learning materials help young learners comprehend difficult words and gain insight into abstract concepts through manipulating concrete items specifically designed for this purpose.
Anitra Jackson, a Montessori educator and the author of Chronicles of a Momtessorian, remarks that the most praiseworthy aspect of a Montessori atmosphere is it provides the opportunity for children to pursue their own trajectory of development and learning. Kids are presented with teaching, tasks, and resources that help expand their abilities–they make advances in their growth as a person.
Enhanced social interaction
Have you observed the engrossment of kids in what other kids are doing? Montessori takes advantage of this by placing together youngsters of differing ages in the same classrooms. According to Stepien, Montessori classrooms are usually composed of learners from a variety of ages and designed to encourage interaction between them. A more diverse classroom setting could create an environment in which growth can happen that might not occur in an environment with all the same age students.
Jackson states that by having a combination of different age groups together, kids can gain knowledge from each other, instruct and support each other, in addition to fostering qualities like acceptance and cooperation.
Independence is a mainstay
Lexi Montgomery, a Montessori alum and proprietor of Darling Web Design, states that she appreciated the feeling of assurance and imaginative opportunity she obtained. I believe that a Montessori learning environment is advantageous for cultivating entrepreneurial skills. As the teaching relies heavily on self-motivation, kids are able to cultivate an autonomy and trust in their capabilities at a much faster rate than if they were in a conventional school setting.
Stepien states that students who go to a Montessori environment tend to have better self-control and are more apt to think for themselves.
A cultivated love for learning
This educational approach promotes fostering an appreciation for acquiring knowledge. Ricks states that the most lasting effect he has observed from a Montessori education is that Montessorians keep a constant curiosity about the individuals and planet around them, perceiving learning as an enjoyable journey that goes on throughout life as opposed to a burden that is finished when the school day is over.
This advantage can follow kids throughout their entire life and become a driving influence with regards to higher education, a job, vocational education – or even just what they go through and the people they meet.
Are Montessori Schools Better Than Public Schools?
The Montessori method of teaching is highly appreciated due to its flexibility and custom approach to educating which rarely is a “one size fits all”. Every youngster is distinct and has the right to a learning experience suited to their particular requirements. The concentration in a Montessori classroom is on discovery and inventiveness, whereas this may be hard to accomplish in a conventional public school environment.
In spite of this, there are many outstanding public schools across the USA that give students the chance to investigate their own hobbies and hobbies, and have instructors who can tailor their lessons to each student. Unfortunately, public schools usually do not provide the same level of personalization as what Montessori schools do.
What are the Disadvantages of Montessori Schools?
The biggest disadvantage of Montessori schools is the cost. Tuition fees are usually required in order to attend a Montessori school as they are usually privately owned. It is not common to have a public Montessori program, and many parents who would like for their children to have this type of educational setting do not have the funds available to pay for it, thus making them difficult to get into due to high demand.
Montessori schools also have a downside, which is that kids might not be set up for a successful outcome in the highly competitive college admission process. Montessori schools are not designed to prep students for standardized testing, thus causing difficulty with the SAT or ACT for several learners. Fortunately, many colleges and universities are no longer taking into consideration scores from tests like the SAT when determining admissions.
Independence isn’t everything
Montessori emphasizes the development of autonomy and activities that are completed without requiring external guidance. However, as Montgomery points out, not every job is like that. Having the aptitude for entrepreneurship can be advantageous, yet it can complicate students’ capacity to cooperate in a collective and go along with rigid supervision.
Montgomery states that Montessori school encourages the development of independent thought, whereas the workplace is more concerned with collaboration.
Stepien proposes that students would benefit from receiving more guidance on how to work together. Montessori curriculum is not particularly noted for its focus on collaboration, however since it is so highly valued in modern society, certain Montessori schools might prioritize it more.
The open-ended structure of the classroom can be intimidating for some
Children tend to like routine and structure. The placement of desks in a line can provide reassurance to some pupils. In Montessori classrooms, students are given the ability to freely move and adapt, whereas the faculty primarily provides guidance in lieu of direct instruction.
This is something to take into consideration, although it may not be an issue that is impossible to get over. In a traditional classroom setting, students may not be granted as much freedom, but it can create an atmosphere that is well-organized, secure, and predictable.
Curriculum may be too loose for some
Although “following the child” should not be seen as simply giving kids free rein, it nonetheless involves a less rigid curriculum than in a more traditional structure.
The responsibility lies with the teacher and assistant to guarantee that the children advance at an adequate rate. Ideally, this give and take can work well. However, this can also lead to some topics being overlooked.
Montgomery reflects on her experience, emphasizing that she would have liked to see more structure in the curriculum. I hadn’t done enough studying for my math and science subjects, but I had done too much for my language and arts classes.
How is Montessori Education Different Than Traditional Education?
An educational system developed by Maria Montessori more than a century ago, Montessori education is focused on the individual needs of the child. The Montessori method emphasizes hands-on learning, independence, and self-direction.
Pupils in a Montessori setting are allowed to spend extended periods of time concentrating on activities while the instructor looks on. The Montessori teacher is typically highly skilled at observing and accumulating knowledge regarding their students and their immediate surroundings. The instructor will then adjust and adjust the classroom according to the needs of each student for them to succeed.
In contrast to traditional education, curriculum-determined information is more heavily emphasized when it comes to educating children. In the majority of established educational institutions, there is an increased focus on scoring high instead of becoming expert at the material being taught. In traditional educational systems, students are normally classified into classes according to their age rather than aptitude. In a Montessori school, children are in mixed-age groups. The Montessori program is continually adapting and adjusting based on the requirements of every student in the classroom.
Traditional instructional models tend to place far more importance on social-emotional learning than Montessori schools. Successful people need to have a strong foundation of social-emotional skills in order to thrive, both in their personal lives and careers. In Montessori classrooms, kids have ample opportunity to become familiar with practical life skills, which aid in boosting autonomy, self-control, and accountability.
A Montessori Education Promotes Independence
In a traditional school, pupils are generally instructed what needs to be accomplished and the right approach to take. In the Montessori setting, students have more self-governance and autonomy. They have the option of selecting materials relating to their interests or requirements during any part of the day. The Montessori teacher is more closely watching than actively controlling the process.
By emphasizing autonomy, kids can learn how to find resolutions and make their own judgments. It instructs them on how to function without the need for guidance and inspire themselves. It is vital to have these abilities both in work and in life.
A Montessori Education Encourages Creativity
Montessori schools are notable for their stress on imagination and the opportunity to investigate. Many Montessori educational institutions feature art rooms that may be used at any point during the day for young people to express themselves artistically or in an alternative fashion.
Montessori Education Embraces Mistakes As Part of the Learning Process
In conventional educational establishments, errors are typically regarded as something unfavorable. The teacher or parent ensures accuracy by promptly addressing any errors made by their child, as they wish to guarantee they are always executing tasks accurately and following instructions.
Mistakes are welcomed and seen as a regular part of gaining knowledge in Montessori schools. In a Montessori learning environment, making mistakes is not only tolerated, but also actively encouraged. Parents and instructors recognize that errors are a normal part of the education experience.
In Montessori schools, there is a structure of 3 hours in which kids may be involved in activities without any disturbances. Montessori pupils frequently take advantage of their own time to either operate by themselves or in groups with their classmates. This increases accountability and responsibility.