What is a Montessori Education

Why is Montessori the most effective method of learning?

The simplest answer would be that Montessori teaches children “to learn how to learn” and meets each child at their unique point of development.  Those two concepts are the sine qua non of education, and because the Montessori method holds those concepts as daystars for the teacher, Montessori schools are the most effective in helping children tap into their deepest potential.  

What unique benefits does Montessori education have over more traditional education?

As for the advantages of Montessori education, those begin right away, for as Maria Montessori said, “By age three it’s late for so much.”  Order, concentration, coordination and independence are the developmental keys for young children through the age of six.  And nowhere in society is there an environment so rich with developmental opportunities as the Montessori classroom. The shelves of our preschools contain every range of experience that Maria Montessori saw children utilize again and again: sensorial, practical life, language, mathematics, geography, botany, zoology, art and music.

The key to all these areas is for the child to be shown how to do various activities and then to be left free to master them.  The concepts are, believe it or not, not as important as how the child acquires the concepts.  In traditional programs, concepts are often presented to large groups or carefully spelled out by teachers directly to students.  In the Montessori classroom, concepts are presented in three period lessons, so that children can practice and learn mostly on their own.  It’s this experience, the victory and joy of independent achievement, which begins to assert itself at an early age in Montessori classrooms.  When this happens, the very neuropathways of the brain change, the emotions change, and consequently, children’s personalities change, and their life’s work begins. 

Peer reviewed studies have also shown that children leaving Montessori preschool programs are more academically advanced than their traditional counterparts.  Why?  Because academic achievement is not the sole goal of Montessori education.  It’s the byproduct.  The first goal of Montessori education is to create a lifelong learner, an individual who is well-rounded, happy, socially adept, intellectually curious about all things, independent, a leader, confident, courteous to his peers and adults, peaceful, and aware of his or her own unique inner compass.  When these qualities are present, strong academic achievement follows almost effortlessly.

In the elementary and middle school years, children are interested in understanding their place in the universe, their unique purpose, and how all things connect with one another.  As Maria Montessori said, “To teach facts alone creates confusion.  To teach how all things connect creates knowledge.”  This helps to account for the biggest difference between traditional and Montessori education: in traditional schools motivation and enjoyment tend to diminish, while in Montessori classrooms, those qualities continue to grow.  Because the Montessori method centers itself around the child’s interests and helps to link those interests to the larger picture, children feel they are in control of their destiny and feel more inherently motivated.  A study done by Dr. Kevin Rathunde compared Montessori students with traditional students and verified this.  What was more, and of course equally important to many parents, is that these motivated Montessori students possessed more of the qualities that are the means to achievement than their peers whose teachers had been “teaching to the test.”

What is the biggest difference between traditional schools and Montessori Private Academy?

There is a perception that parents must choose between academic achievement and enjoyment, when finding a school for their child.  Children can have both!  But parents need to think differently than how they have been trained to think about education.  In general, society still looks at standardized test scores as very meaningful.  But they are incredibly narrow views of a person, to the point that more than 850 colleges and universities in 2012 have eliminated or deemphasized the SAT or ACT as a means of offering enrollment, because they found them to be unreliable or unfair predictors of success.  What was more accurate?  They found a child’s quality of work at the high school level, along with extra-curricular activities and leadership, to be far greater predictors. Montessori education emphasizes learning based on a child’s interests, not on the notion of meeting broad and impersonal state or national standards.  Montessori graduates excel in school (and, ironically, even on standardized tests), not because they’ve been trained to do so, but because they enjoy new challenges and inherently love to learn.

Montessori Private Academy (MPA) is a great place to learn and a fun place to be! Students, parents, grandparents and staff make up a committed school community that works together to educate children. Since 1983, MPA has served Rockford, Belvidere and surrounding communities as the only private Montessori offering Young Child, Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School classes.

This video on YouTube illustrates the benefits of a Montessori Education

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