Montessori FAQ

Montessori FAQThe number of Montessori schools in the U.S. is growing, and some of the Montessori principles are being integrated into many childcare, private and public schools. Along with growing interest and acceptance, there are questions and even some misconceptions. Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about a Montessori school:

  1. What is a Montessori school?
  2. How is Montessori program different from other preschool or childcare programs?
  3. What is the best way to choose a Montessori School for my child?
  4. How will Little Gems Montessori and Montessori education benefit my child?
  5. What is the best time for my child to begin?
  6. If my child has learning disabilities, how will Montessori education and Little Gems Montessori benefit my child?
  7. Success of my child after competing their education at Little Gems Montessori School?
  8. How will my child adjust to the public school setting?
  9. What type of parent involvement is at Little Gems Montessori?
  10. Do you offer year-round program?

1. What is a Montessori School?

Montessori schools follow the philosophy developed by the first female physician from Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori. The method is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Another important feature to her method was to be aware of the different planes of development in a child and provide an environment that fosters the particular developmental need. This she called Sensitive Periods; Sensitive Periods refer to a block of time in a child’s life when he or she is absorbed to one particular characteristic in his or her environment. Montessori believed that children went through these sensitive periods in their formative years, which is 0 to 6 years of age.

Montessori schools begin with a deep respect for children as unique individuals and consciously teach them to be kind and peaceful. The classrooms include multi-age groupings usually a three year span, that encourages cooperation, minimize competition, provide opportunities for indirect learning for younger students as they observe older peers, foster self-confidence in students who serve as role models, and provide long-term child/adult relationships. In addition, a full complement of specially designed Montessori learning materials which is meticulously arranged and available for use in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Montessori schools is known to have a curriculum built upon these above mentioned features and also include a wide range of academics, which are all woven together to provide optimum learning , which often yields astonishing results. The teacher is the facilitator of the prepared environment and she acts as a guide to these young children. (Back to Top)

2. How is Montessori program different from traditional preschools and childcare programs?

In the traditional way of teaching, the teacher mainly acts as the primary enforcer of external discipline. The instructions, both individual and group conform to the adult’s teaching style. Children of same age are grouped together. There are fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation and also there is less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance. The child is given specific time limit for work and if there are errors on his/her work, it is usually pointed out by the teacher. The main emphasis is on intellectual development.

In the Montessori way of teaching, the environment and the method encourage self-discipline. The instruction, both individual and group, adapts to each student’s learning style. Mixed age grouping is a striking difference between Montessori and traditional educational programs. When an older child teaches a younger one, it reinforces previously learned concepts and is actually an aid in complete mastery of concepts. Younger children learn about courtesy, manners, and conflict resolution by watching the older children in the class. There are multi-sensory materials for physical exploration in the classroom and the Montessori Method has an organized program for learning care of self and environment. If the child makes and error, he spots his own errors through feedback from the material and the child can work as long as he wishes on a chosen project without any time limit. The child is able to choose his own work out of his own interests and abilities. Overall there is shared emphasis on intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development and also shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, practical and life skills to mold them into a responsible citizen. Learn more about the differences between Montessori and Traditional education. (Back to Top)

3. What is the best way to choose a Montessori school for my child?

Visit the school, observe the classroom in action, and ask the teacher or director to explain the theory behind the activities that you saw. Ask if the school is affiliated with any Montessori organization and what kind of training the teachers have. Most of all talk to your child’s prospective teacher about his or her philosophy of child development and education to see if it is compatible with your own. (Back to Top)

4. How will Little Gems Montessori and Montessori education benefit my child?

Montessori education offers children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life. It is a method of schooling that focuses on the development of the whole child. It is consciously designed to recognize and address different learning styles, helping children learn to study most effectively. The Montessori curriculum is carefully structured and integrated to demonstrate the connections among the different subject areas. Each child is valued as a unique individual. They are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori approach. With AMS (American Montessori Society) Trained & Certified Teachers, Little Gems Montessori offers an ideal learning and caring environment for your child. Adhering to the Montessori principles, our teachers work with your child and support them in their transformation to confident individuals with a desire to learn. (Back to Top)

5. What is the best time for my child to begin?

“Absorbent mind,”  the ability to absorb all aspects of one’s culture and civilization without effort or fatigue begins at birth.  Children experience sensitive periods in their development which refer to a block of time in a child’s life when he or she is absorbed to one particular characteristic in his or her environment. Montessori believed that children went through these sensitive periods in their formative years, which is 0 to 6 years of age. These are transitory periods in which they develop specific mental functions, such as movement, language, order, refinement of the senses and social awareness.  They occur universally at approximately the same age in all children.  If a child’s need for specific stimuli is not met during the sensitive period, he loses the opportunity for optimal development.  What he can learn almost effortlessly at this critical time will take effort on his part later. Between the ages of 2 and 3, a sense of order, concentration, coordination, and independence emerge, to facilitate this development  Dr. Montessori devised special didactic materials. This time is ideal to begin a child’s training in Montessori, as she is at the perfect period to build a strong foundation for future learning. (Back to Top)

6. If my child has learning disabilities, how will Montessori education and Little Gems Montessori benefit my child?

The Montessori Method embraces uniqueness and offers great opportunities for all kinds of children both Special needs and normal children. Maria Montessori first started her work and observations with special needs children.  This gave her the idea to work with normal children as well. Children with Special needs / Learning Differences find the Montessori environment satisfying their need for multi-sensory learning and also the need to build their confidence. These needs are fulfilled to a very high degree by the didactic materials in the classroom. The stimulation’s created by the Montessori materials help the child to overcome any barriers that inhibits the growth in them.  The mixed age classroom helps many children with special needs to achieve their potential by observing the other children acting in normal appropriate ways and also by trying to imitate their behaviors.  Another factor that helps children with special needs is the degree of personal attention they receive because of tailored made lesson plans.

At Little Gems Montessori School the teachers are dedicated in giving the children the right kind of learning environment to reach their full potential. The Director has to her credit numerous trainings on various topics that would benefit children with special needs in a Montessori environment. She has attended training programs from Eden Autism School, and the Orton Gillingham’s level 1 reading program for children at –risks, such as those with learning disabilities. (Back to Top)

7. Success of my child after competing their preschool and kindergarten years at Little Gems Montessori ACADEMY?

“Montessori children “grow up to become CONFIDENT students! Research has shown that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially and emotionally. At Little Gems Montessori, children learn by exploring and manipulating specially designed materials. Each material teaches one concept or a skill at a time, and lays a foundation from which students can comprehend increasingly abstract ideas. Children work with materials at their own pace, repeating an exercise until it is mastered. The teacher may gently guide the process, but her goal is to inspire rather than overly instruct and let the child develop independently. Throughout the classroom, beautifully prepared, inviting curriculum areas contain a sequential array of lessons to be learned. As students work through the sequence, they build and expand on materials and lessons already mastered. All the while they are developing qualities with which they’ll approach every future challenge: autonomy, creative thinking, and satisfaction in a job well done. (Back to Top)

8. How will my child adjust to the public school setting?

Children who have been in a Montessori environment are generally very flexible and adjust quite easily to a public school system.  They are generally better students with high confidence levels and spend their time in more productive ways because of their self-discipline, independence and positive attitude toward learning. (Back to Top)

9. What type of parent involvement is at Little Gems Montessori?

We hope that all parents will become involved through observations, conferences, parent evenings, and other special events.  The more parents participate, the better able they are to follow through at home.  When parents follow through at home, the child benefits even more because she has a consistent environment in which to grow and develop as a secure, well-adjusted human being. (Back to Top)

10. Do you offer year-round program?

Yes. LGMA offers 10 months school year program from September to June and follows Franklin Township School District school-year calendar. We also offer 8 week summer camp program. Care is provided for our enrolled students on need basis. For more information see our Calendar and Summer Camp pages. (Back to Top)