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Dispelling Montessori Myths

MYTH 1: Montessori Is Not Academically Rigorous


Montessori will not prepare my child for the next level.

TRUTH:

As cited in Angeline Lillard’s renown study published in the journal, Science, in 2006, “Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children.”

“They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.”

According to neuroscientist, Dr. Steven Hughes: “If we decided that the purpose of education should be to help every child’s brain reach its highest developmental potential...Montessori education presents a radically different – and radically effective – educational approach that may be the best method we’ve got to ensure the optimal cognitive, social, and emotional development of every child.”

MYTH 2: Montessori Is a Free-for-All


The Montessori approach is too permissive, a virtual free-for-all. Children need boundaries and Montessori doesn’t offer them.

TRUTH:

Following the principle of freedom within limits, we guide children to make appropriate decisions and to achieve self-management. Children are free to work, but not to avoid work. They learn to make appropriate decisions regarding choices of work, workspace, and co-workers. Self-discipline leads to independence and freedom. Independence is tied to the fundamental rule of respect for oneself, others and the environment. Freedom to socialize occurs when children respect the concentration and space of others.

MYTH 3: Montessori Is Old-Fashioned


Montessori is an outdated method that peaked in the Sixties.

TRUTH:

An education based on the observation of children, and on your child in particular, is hard to outdate. The Montessori Method represents a solid body of observation of child development that has been successfully employed internationally for over a hundred years. Dr. Montessori believed that by placing children in a stimulating, specially-prepared environment, their natural curiosity would help them become self-motivated learners.

Our Montessori-certified teachers all have B.A. degrees and many have graduate degrees. They are trained in the observation of your individual child. Children work at their own pace and it is not uncommon for children to be working above grade level. Montessori methodology is closer to a true scientific method of instruction than any other educational program in the world today.

MYTH 4: The older children will intimidate my child


My child should be with same-age classmates so they feel secure and foster social skills.

TRUTH:

The social community of mixed-age children gives experienced students an opportunity to serve as role models and help others through peer teaching and partner work. This promotes self-worth as well as community pride. At each level the children are expected to carry through with age-appropriate responsibilities which include caring for personal possessions, the classroom and the total community.
With the range of ages in the classes, competition is minimized as a motivator. The students comfortably share knowledge with each other in a respectful manner. They learn to work as a team and to value each member's contribution in any situation. MAEL places value on peace education and conflict resolution as means to build a community. Having tools for solving conflicts builds tolerance for other points of view and prepares children to be compassionate adults.

MYTH 5: Montessori Is Too Structured


Montessori instruction is too structured. Kids sit and work all day and aren’t allowed to move around.

TRUTH:

Actually, children have the freedom to move about the room, completing works in the order of their choosing. There are no artificial time constraints in the Montessori classroom. This means that within three-hour work cycles a student at the early childhood level may visit the sound table, sensorial materials, and practical life, then move on to a mathematical work. Additionally, for children, play and “work” are often the same thing. In other words, when children engage with the Montessori learning materials, they are indeed learning but it feels like play to them.

If you would like to learn more about the Montessori Method or how we employ it in the classroom at The Montessori Academy at Edison Lakes, join us for coffee the first Wednesday of the month, or contact us. Thank you for your interest!

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