How does the Montessori educational approach differ from conventional education? In most conventional preschools, the children are taught educational concepts in a group by a teacher. In a Montessori program, the children work at their own pace, independently learning concepts from multi-sensory materials designed for self-correction and physical exploration. Montessori education is child-centered whereas traditional education is very much teacher centered. Montessori method is the use of all five senses to learn, not just through listening, watching, memorizing or reading. Children learn at their own pace, according to what interests them the most at that particular time in their development. They move and choose work freely. Learning is a process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
How do children from Odyssey Montessori transition to new schools? With our commitment to a child's education and well being we expect our students to excel in their new environments because of their knowledge base, their confidence, and their eagerness to learn. Along with parents, we strongly believe that we work hard with children to help them become “confident achievers.” Odyssey Montessori is better measured by the characteristics our children's lifelong love of learning, self-confidence, problem-solving ability, and a strong social conscience.
Why are there children of different ages in the same Montessori classroom? Dr. Montessori observed that adult society is represented by multi-age beings and the benefits of peer observation and learning and collaboration could be successfully implemented in a classroom. Young children flourish more rapidly in classes that span two or three years. Multi-age grouping encourages older children to assist and mentor their younger classmates, while the younger ones look forward to moving on to the more challenging activities they see around them. Most importantly, the multi-age grouping allows children to master work at their own pace.
Why doesn’t my child bring their work home everyday? On any given day, your child has the opportunity to select his/her work. Children are presented lessons for a work and then given the opportunity to practice it themselves until they master it. The lead teacher records their progress as they practice and learn a lesson. Children develop concentration through practice and repetition of a lesson. This can last a short period or span a few days, depending on its complexity. Your child is constantly working, observing, and learning in the room. It just may not be physical work that goes home frequently. Parents are encouraged to contact the lead teacher throughout the school year with any questions about their child's activities or progress.
How can I create a Montessori environment in my home? Children need a sense of belonging, and they get it by participating fully in the routines of everyday life. “Help me do it by myself” is the life theme of the preschooler. You can find ways for your child to participate in meal preparation, cleaning, gardening, and caring for clothes, shoes, and toys. Providing opportunities for independence is a positive way to build your child’s self-esteem.
How do I get involved in the Center? Parent involvement is a critical factor in a child’s successful experience in their school. We encourage parent participation through conferences, assisting in the classroom, and holiday activities. The more parents understand the classroom experience, the better they are able to follow through at home. When parents follow through at home, the child benefits even more because he/she has a consistent environment in which to grow and develop.
Why is the preschool program 5 days a week? The Montessori education system was designed around the premise that children are provided sufficient time to practice lessons, observe, work with their peers and teachers. Children learn to master a lesson through observation and practice. The child in a Montessori program builds on their foundation of experience and confidence to move on to other challenges in the classroom. Everyday, the lead teacher has scheduled lessons with each child one-on-one as well as in small groups. Odyssey Montessori is an educational center and not just a daycare facility. Parents who become knowledgeable of and embrace the principles of Montessori support their children by ensuring they arrive at the center everyday on a punctual basis.
Is Montessori right for my child? Montessori has been a proven method of education regardless of culture, language, socioeconomic status, and level of physical/emotional/mental development. Because a Montessori program is child-directed, it is right for every child. Each child is treated as an individual and accommodations are made to work within the child’s natural strengths and weaknesses. Odyssey Montessori teachers are accustomed to working with children from all walks of life and levels of ability. The question should really be: “Is a Montessori school right for my family?” Montessori programs rely on a partnership between the family and teachers to maximize the experience for the children. The educational values of the family may or may not be compatible with a Montessori education. Generally speaking, families that will thrive in a Montessori program agree with the following:
1. It is important to allow children opportunities for independence. 2. A competitive classroom stifles creativity. 3. Children are capable of making choices to guide their own learning. 4. Children learn best through hands-on experiences and concrete problem solving.
Families who may not be comfortable with a Montessori program may feel:
1. Children learn more when they are pushed. 2. Teachers must maintain strict discipline in the classroom. 3. We are unable or unwilling to be actively involved with our child’s education.
Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Here are a few names of Montessori educated people:
Jeff Bezos, financial analyst, founder of Amazon.com Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, former editor, former first lady T. Berry Brazelton, noted pediatrician and author Sergey Brin & Larry Page, co-founders of Google.com Julia Child, famous chef and cookbook author Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, rap star, music mogul Helen Hunt, Academy Award-winning actress Prince William and Prince Harry, English royal family Anne Frank, famous diarist from World War II Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner for Literature Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia Will Wright, designer of The Sims George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor Yo Yo Ma, famed cellist