FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
|Teacher's role in the classroom is passive and designed to guide individual learning when asked and when a child is ready; the child is the active participant||Teacher's role is dominant, assuming the active role in leading a class; the child is the passive participant in learning|
|Self-discipline is encouraged both through the method of teaching and the environment||External discipline is enforced by teacher (and principal)|
|Instruction adapts to each individual's learning style in both group and individual settings||Instruction conforms to standardized curriculum with less room for flexibility|
|Mixed-age classrooms||Same-age classrooms|
|Children are encouraged to collaborate, assist one another, and teach each other||Children are primarily taught by teachers with less time for collaboration|
|Children select their own work dictated by individual interest and skill level||Children are taught a prescribed curriculum for the whole classroom, regardless of interest or skill level|
|Children forumlate their own answers from self-teaching materials||Children are guided to answers by teacher|
|Children set their own individual pace to absorb information presented to them||Children typically follow a pace set by the group average or the teacher|
|Children work as long as they desire with a selected material||Children are typically given a specific time limit to achieve their work|
|Children learn to discover their own errors through exploration with the materials||Children's work is corrected with mistakes identified by teacher|
|Learning is achieved internally at child's individual pace, by their continued interest, and their personal feelings of success||Learning is reinforced by others through memorization, repetition, and external rewards or discouragement|
|Complete array of multi-sensory materials for exploration||Less emphasis on intentional sensory exploration|
|Nurturing environment encourages children to work where they are comfortable working individually or in groups||Children are typically assigned a space and are encouraged to remain still and listen during group instruction|
|Emphasis on practical life skills to learn how to care for self and the environment and to develop attention span, fine motor skills, and work ethic||Less emphasis on caring for self and environment; this instruction left to parents|
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL
Not all Montessori programs are created equal. There is presently no regulation within the industry, allowing any school to call themselves a "montessori" school. The following is a checklist to assist you in finding a Montessori program with a genuine approach:
- Are all of the educators Montessori educated and certified?
Is the campus and classroom environment clean, organized and calm?
Is the executive director available and informative?
Does each classroom represent a mixed age group?
Are the children focused on their work and do they look interested and engaged?
Are all of the classrooms fully equipped with all of the traditional Montessori materials?
Are the materials made of natural elements such as wood, glass and cloth?
Are the classrooms separated by Sensory, Practical Life and Academic areas?
Do the instructors support the "follow the child" philosophy of working at their individual pace?
Are children permitted to repeat a work as many times as they would like?
Are the children exposed to character and environment education?
Are parents encouraged to become involved not just in the school's activities, but in the education style and learning of their children?