January is often preschool registration so I invited a Montessori educator, Deb Chitwood, to share about the Montessori philosophy of learning.
I’m a Montessori educator/writer, so I’m biased. Still, I think Montessori education should have a place in every family. In fact, you’re probably using a number of Montessori principles already – even if you’ve never considered Montessori.
A Brief Intro to Montessori:
Montessori education is a system of education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy in the early 1900s. It’s most commonly seen in preschools, but there are Montessori schools from preschool through high school throughout the world. Montessori education is also becoming more and more popular as a method of homeschooling. The primary focus is to follow the child, observing the child’s needs and interests and individualizing education based on those observations.
I wrote a post that has much more information and a helpful video: M is for Montessori.
There are 3 options for incorporating Montessori education into your family. The level of Montessori involvement is up to you, and the only right answer is the one that’s right for your unique family.
1. Use Montessori principles at home.
This can work for any family. Whether you use a few or many Montessori principles, you can help your child academically as well as help your child develop order, concentration, coordination, and independence. Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning gives ideas that can work in any home, regardless of where your child attends school.
2. Enroll your child in a Montessori school.
There are Montessori programs for infants and toddlers, although the recommended age for a child to start Montessori is 3 years old. Some Montessori preschool classrooms do accept 2½ year olds.
Montessori schools have mixed ages together in the same classroom and a 3-year cycle, so you’ll want to enroll your child by age 3 if possible. Some schools have long waiting lists, so you can’t start looking too early. When I had a Montessori school, a few parents signed up on the preschool waiting list when their baby was born. Of course, the economic climate affects school enrollments, so there are generally more spaces available in private Montessori schools today.
Here’s a post about choosing a Montessori preschool that has related videos: How to Choose a Montessori Preschool for Your Child.
Here’s a post with information and links to famous Montessorians: Famous People Who Were Influenced by Montessori.
3. Set up a Montessori homeschool classroom.
This option obviously requires the most work and time commitment on your part, but it’s more economical than enrolling your child in a Montessori school unless you can find a public Montessori school in your area. I’ve been a Montessori teacher, Montessori parent, and Montessori homeschooler. Each role was wonderful, and it just depended on my family circumstances as to which was right at the time.
This post and its links will help if you want to set up a Montessori homeschool classroom: How to Set Up a Montessori Preschool Classroom at Home.
You’ll find me at Living Montessori Now, the Living Montessori Now Facebook page, and Twitter (@DebChitwood). If you have any questions about Montessori education, feel free to ask me here or at any of my usual hangouts! Wishing you the best on your family’s educational journey! 🙂
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies. She taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in Colorado Springs with her husband of 36 years and their cat of 10 years.