With the recent rise in online-based schooling, there are other options that have not been getting as much attention. One of them is Montessori schooling. Montessori schooling is a method that uses natural interest and activities to engage and teach children rather than the formal methods most often seen in schools. The idea is that children are free to engage in their work with less instruction and interference. This allows them to learn at their own pace and build confidence with every mastery.
It isn’t just talk though. A survey was recently administered to the alumni in various New York Montessori schools. These surveys confirmed what was already known: Beginning early education with Montessori techniques leads students to enter the elementary grades prepared, and in some cases, ahead of other students. Just in considering that fact alone, it seems as though it may be beneficial to our children if Montessori schools were more main-stream; and this is not a new suggestion.
A story is shared by Daniel Petter-Lipstein, whose daughter attends a Montessori School, that outlines exactly what Montessori-in-action looks like. He talked of an incident where a student asked a question about triangles. Rather than the teacher answering the question directly, she encouraged the children to test out the question and see what answer they arrived at. One might draw the conclusion that when using Montessori methods students are encouraged to think for themselves.
One thing to consider about using this approach is the cost. While tuition will vary based on location, it does tend to be costly. The NAMTA conducted a survey on tuition rates and discovered that they range from $999 – $14,000 per year. These rates are based on private schooling, however there are some institutions that have incorporated Montessori techniques into public schools. This, of course, would mean that tuition is not a factor.
Another consideration of this approach is how it translates into the real world. Though it has been highly praised for fostering independence, it has also been brought up that this doesn’t exactly translate into the workforce. Often there are deadlines and expectations that need to be followed, and Montessori is often more abstract than that. In the same way, concerns around independent thinking and the workforce have also been raised. In many cases a workplace will rely on teamwork, and there is uncertainty about how much teamwork is taught when the focus is on individual work in the Montessori approach.
All in all, it has been found that most childcare thrive with the Montessori approach. And while there are pros and cons to everything, the benefits seem to outweigh the concerns in this case. Children are respected and taught the value of their work. They learn to think for themselves as well as gain an enhanced curiosity for the world that results in a love of learning. Some may conclude that a tuition and greater sense of individually are not too steep a price.