When looking for a preschool or child care center for your little one, you might come across some that advertise themselves as being Montessori child care centers. This is becoming more and more common, especially in the United States. As a parent, you are probably wondering what this means and whether the Montessori approach is a good choice for your child. The information below should help guide you and answer your questions.
What is the Montessori method?
The Montessori method is an educational philosophy that originated in Italy. The basic premise of the approach is that children lead their own learning process. The Montessori method encourages children to foster their own unique talents and interests. It accepts that some students may be better and more interested in math, and others may be better and more interested in art — and it doesn't seek to make the artist a mathematician or vice versa.
How this plays out in a classroom or daycare center is that the teacher, or leader, works as more of a guide. They guide children through hands-on activities and exercises rather than standing up and lecturing. Each child's curriculum and approach is a bit different.
How will a Montessori daycare center look?
Although every daycare center is different, you can expect a Montessori daycare center to be full of toys and items that encourage hands-on learning and educational play. There may be stations where kids can pretend to be chefs, other stations where they can play doctor, and still other stations where they can paint and draw. Montessori child care centers are often big, open spaces. Also, multiple ages of children tend to be combined. The philosophy here is that the older kids can help lead and teach the younger kids. This not only helps the younger kids learn, but it helps the older kids develop leadership skills.
Think of a Montessori child care center as offering gentle, approachable education. Your child may not be school age yet, but by attending this type of daycare, they will be learning skills that will prepare them for more formal school. They'll get a better sense of their own interests and see those interests fostered by kind and caring adult leaders.
Montessori childcare may not be for everyone, but it is a very good choice for most kids. Children tend to thrive from the openness and flexibility of this educational approach.