Perhaps you're considering sending your child to a Montessori preschool or perhaps you have already made up your mind. Regardless, when it comes to Montessori preschools, there are no set standards as to the extent a school needs to conform to Montessori practices in order to claim this status. Therefore, it is important that you consider the qualities of a good Montessori school when choosing the school.
- Check to see if the school is officially recognized by a professional organization, like the American Montessori Society (AMI.)
- In order for a school to be considered a full member Montessori school, the head teacher in every classroom has to have earned credentials from a program that has been accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. Make note, the American Montessori Society only offers accreditation to full member Montessori schools. In addition, preschools are often licensed by the state or a local agency. This license helps to assure safety, health, and teaching standards have been met at the school.
- Make an appointment to see the school in action for yourself.
- Check out the classroom. It should be clean and organized, and rather than have desks, it should have areas meant for group activities, as well as comfortable areas for solo activity. All of the items in the classroom should be easily accessible to the children to help promote independence. There should also be defined areas for each part of the curriculum, such as math, language, practical life, and so forth.
- Watch the students. There is generally a three-year age range in each classroom and the older children should serve as helpers to the younger children. The children should be able to move freely about, speak with one another as they choose, and pick the activity in which they would like to participate. Respect is taught and this should be seen in classroom interaction and the handling of learning materials.
- Make note of the teacher and her role in the classroom. She should serve as a guide and a resource to the students, and shouldn't be the center of attention. Instead, she should be seen circulating the room, demonstrating activities, and teaching small group lessons. She should act with kindness and empathy and encourage individual responsibility.
Are you searching for a Montessori preschool? If so, make sure to contact us at Montessori School in Newark today to schedule a tour of our school.