WHAT IS MONTESSORI?
Q: What is the difference between Montessori and traditional education?
A: Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not
just through listening, watching, or reading. Every concept is presented
with a hands on material for the child to work with and internalize the
concept. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual
pace and according to a facilitated choice of activities. Learning is an
exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation,
self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place
children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 and so on), forming
communities in which the older children spontaneously share their
knowledge with the younger ones.
Q: Is it true that a child is allowed to do whatever he wants for
as long as he wants?
A: A child may choose to work with any activity in which he/she
has had a lesson. A child may ask for a lesson. If the work the child
chooses is inappropriate for his/her developmental stage, the teacher
will direct the child to an activity which has elements that have drawn
the child's interest and which is a foundation for what the child wants
Q: How does the teacher know when to direct a child to new
A: The Montessori teacher's training is different from that of
traditional early childhood and elementary teachers in that a great deal
of emphasis is on observation. The teacher spends a part of everyday
just observing the children, and the assistants are asked to share their
observations with the teacher as well. Other ways for the teacher to
know that a child is ready for a new lesson include the child asking for
a lesson and information supplied by parents and caregivers. The teacher
is but a partner in the child's education, and communication among all
of those concerned with the child's development allows the teacher to
design the environment to meet each child's needs.
Q: How are a child's mistakes corrected?
A: Most Montessori activities have a "control of error" built into
the work. For example, on a cylinder block each piece fits correctly in
only one particular hole. In a classification exercise each category has
the same number of objects. A pitcher to be filled by a child has a
piece of colored tape inside to show the child to what level the pitcher
should be filled to have the best chance of successfully walking from
the sink to the work area without spilling the contents.
Q: Is Montessori good for both learning disabled and gifted
A: Montessori is designed to help all children reach their fullest
potential at their own unique pace. A classroom whose children have
varying abilities is a community in which everyone learns from one
another and everyone contributes. Moreover, multi-age grouping allows
each child to find his or her own pace without feeling "ahead" or
"behind" in relation to peers. Lessons are individualized allowing
students who are advanced work ahead and those who need extra time and
help are given it along with the encouragement they need to succeed.
Q: I want my child to be academically well prepared. Will WEMS do this?
A: Definitely. Our goal is to assist each child to become a
confident, independent learner and to reach his or her highest academic
potential. In addition to the basics, our students learn problem-solving
strategies, critical-thinking, conflict resolution, communication and
leadership skills. They learn how to learn and are able to use these
skills for the rest of their academic careers.
Q: How will my child fit into a traditional program when he or she leaves
A: Montessori students are noted for their independent thinking,
self-confidence and ability to assume responsibility and leadership. The
longer they are in our programs the stronger these characteristics grow.