Viewing time: 13 minutes
By Montessori at Home, Hapa family, Ashley
Ashley describes the top things you should be looking for in a Montessori preschool.
“A Montessori classroom is very different from a traditional classroom as the children are encouraged to become independent and self sufficient and confident from as early as possible.”
Ashley explains that the Montessori name is not controlled and any school can use the name without being truly Montessori. She says it is best to have tour of the school. Accreditation is a good indicator that the school is applying the Montessori method in their curriculum.
The classroom and premises should have child size furniture, low shelves and Montessori materials. The atmosphere will be quieter because the children are focused on activities.
Most teachers should be trained Montessori teachers. In a tour you may observe teachers working one-on-one or small groups. Teachers acting more as guides rather than traditional teachers.
You should see self directed learning at each child’s pace with children self selecting materials. The children should have a long period of time to work and play without interruption.
Important differences between the US and UK
Age in preschool
In Denver Colorado children must be 5-years-old on or before October 1 of the year of enrollment to be eligible to start Primary school. In the UK most children start in the September after their fourth birthday. This means that Ashley’s children may spend up to a further year in preschool when compared to our children. This is a significant amount of time in a child’s life. The older American children will be performing at a much higher level that their younger UK counterparts. They may be engaged in different activities and have different needs.
Whilst the Association Montessori International (AMI) does have a presence in the UK of about 30 preschools most of the 700 Montessori preschools in the UK are affiliated to the Montessori Schools Association (MSA), which is part of the Montessori St. Nicholas Charity which has it’s training school Montessori Center International (MCI) based in London. The main accreditation body in the UK is the Montessori Examination and Accreditation Board (MEAB) which is part of the MSA. There are 124 accredited Montessori preschools in the UK and only two of them are in Orpington:
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BreeVKxi4Y