Letting Your Child Lead The Way--The Case For Preschools Built On The Montessori Philosophy

In education, there is really no argument about the benefits of preschool for young learners. According to experts, preschool fulfills a child's natural curiosity, positively impacts their brain's structure, and builds a desire to learn that extends well past preschool age. So, if you're making the choice to send your child to preschool, rest assured that you're making a solid investment in your child's future academic success.

That said, with all of the preschool structures to choose from, it's difficult to know which one is right for your child. The Montessori model offers a number of distinct benefits for young learners--often enhancing the already significant benefits that preschools provide. Most of these benefits are rooted in the unique, student-centered philosophy that Montessori schools embody.

What Is The Montessori Philosophy?

Young children are naturally drawn to play. As any parent knows, children will often find ways to amuse themselves through active play, even when they aren't prompted to do so. This wonderfully endearing tendency is more than just a way that children naturally pass the time, however.

Maria Montessori noticed that, to a child, play is the way that young children learn best. As a result, Montessori schools are set up to allow children to shape their learning through play--play that is directed by the child's natural interests. Teachers serve as guides and facilitators to encourage curiosity, exploration, and self-discovery. Children are supported as they follow their curiosities and learn about the world through interaction.

This structure allows children to learn at their own pace, which can reduce frustrations in young learners. However, that's not to say that there is no emphasis on academics in a Montessori school. Through the use of tangible items called manipulatives, students are shown the way to develop early literacy and numeracy skills. These items, while engaging and fun to work with, are based in cognitive science as an effective means for early academic instruction.

Why Choose a Montessori School?

The student-centered structure of a Montessori school helps ensure that your child will experience an environment that is warm and receptive to your child's natural curiosity. Instruction in a Montessori school is based on keen observation and gentle encouragement--both of which are wonderful for children in any day care or preschool environment. Your child won't be pushed beyond their capacity or left unsupervised in a high-functioning Montessori school.

Also, the classroom structure that this type of educational climate demands is great at developing positive relationships among peers. In many Montessori settings, the classroom has an atmosphere very much like a family does. Mixed age classrooms allow for older students to serve as mentors and teachers to younger ones--a practice that is encouraged in Montessori education. The result is that your child is likely to develop numerous positive relationships with both children and adults alike.

All of this time spent on developing your child as a person doesn't come at the cost of academics, though. Aside from the numerous studies that clearly show the benefits of play-based instruction, students with a Montessori background tend to do better on traditional academic exams than their peers. They also perform well in the traditional subjects of reading and writing, even though they do much less worksheet and drill work than in other school settings.

Preschool is the beginning of a long educational journey. While it's important for children to prepare for the academic demands of primary school, it's equally important that they develop into young people who can work well in a social environment. Montessori preschools help children do exactly that--without sacrificing any of the academic development that makes preschools so critical to the future success of every child.