The Jakarta Post
A Montessori classroom is ideally well-organized and uncluttered so that children can feel focused and calm. It is also arranged to suit group activities. (Shutterstock/Dmitri Ma)
Montessori education is being considered by more and more young parents these days, and even the royal couple the duke and duchess of Cambridge are no exception. Their firstborn Prince George, third in line to the throne, was enrolled at Westacre Montessori School when he was 2 years old.
Founded by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori, the Montessori education program emphasizes independence, freedom and social development alongside the core subjects of mathematics and language.
Students are allowed to work at a desk or on the floor, and are given the freedom to move within the classroom. They might even find themselves in a mixed age classroom, expected to learn from older students.
Now that parents have all the right reasons to send their children to Montessori schools, below are a few tips to choose the one that suits you best.
The school holds official recognition
According to the American Montessori Society (AMS), many Montessori schools are members of professional organizations such as the AMS. The membership level is determined by how many of its classes are led by a teacher who holds credentials from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education.
Montessori schools that are full-members of the AMS are accredited and recognized as having a well-defined standard of excellence with its curriculum, teacher preparation and learner outcomes. So if you are looking for a Montessori school with better standards, its recognition and accreditation should be taken into consideration.
Asses the school by observing an ongoing class
Ideally, a Montessori classroom is decorated in soft colors, giving the look of a well-organized and uncluttered space for children to feel focused and calm. The classroom is arranged to suit group activities, with rugs and couches where kids can also have quiet time alone.
According to teach-nology.com, teachers offer guidance to students, instead of giving instructions with handouts and worksheets. As students are responsible for their own individual learning, moving from one station to another, teachers take the role of facilitators. See if this works on the class you are observing.
Following important Montessori values, teachers should also model empathy, kindness and individual responsibility. They are to treat students respectfully by speaking gently and at eye level, and correct inappropriate behavior with love and positivity.
Learning materials and spaces are in good condition
Each of the different areas of a Montessori classroom have specially designed Montessori learning tools made from a range of materials and textures. There are materials made of smooth polished wood, enameled metal, wicker and fabric. Items from nature such as seashells, flowers and rocks are also available for learning in class.
Teachers are to show the students how to handle the materials carefully, but when students break something, then that is a mistake they can learn from.
Also, have a look at the school’s outdoor area if there is one. Make sure that play materials and structures are made suitable to the size and safety of the students. (mut)