Unfortunately, no one owns the rights to the name or philosophy of Maria Montessori. That means that anyone can open up a school or daycare, put Montessori activities on the shelf, and call themselves a Montessori school. There are many wonderful, well-run Montessori schools, as well as many that are not. So, how is a parent to know which schools are true to the Montessori philosophy?
Here are some very important things to look for when choosing a Montessori school for your child.
Facility: The facility should have the appropriate Montessori Infant/Toddler and Preschool classrooms. These rooms should be equipped with traditional Montessori activities as well as furniture appropriate class program. A typical difference between a day care and a Montessori school would be the minimal amount of toys present. Toys are not activities typically used in the teaching method. The classroom should be neat organized a not full of clutter. The school must also have a license from state childcare licensing and fully insured. The Peace Rose Montessori School is a modern 7000 Sq foot facilities with Infant, Toddler. Preschool classrooms. We have 2 oversized playgrounds separated for Infants and Preschoolers.
School Directors. In order for the school to run truly as a Montessori school, the director of the school should hold a Montessori certificate (AMI, AMS, or MACTE), with experience in the classroom. In our opinion, the owners should also hold the same certifications and have the same classroom experience. Miss Carmen is the primary owner and director and is certified in AMS. She has been an AMS teacher/director for 16 years. Carmen is able to use her education and experience to provide the teachers, parents, and the students with the support they need. They are also required to follow strict guidlines to be licensed by NJ Dept of Children and Families Office of Licensing. Ask to see their certificates. The quality of your child’s Montessori education is directly connected to the knowledge and dedication of the school’s director.
Montessori Teachers. The toddler, primary, and elementary teachers should hold a Montessori certificate (AMI, AMS, or MACTE).
Stability of the Staff. Many schools are seemingly beautiful at first glance yet have internal strife. Be sure to ask how long the directors has been there, are they the owners or have ownership interest. Be sure and ask about the head teachers and assistance as well as their experiences.
Read Internet Reviews. Though companies cannot protect themselves from malicious reviews from fired employees or competition, the reviews should be overwhelmingly excellent. If there is a negative review, ask the school you are interviewing their thoughts on that particular review.
Parent Recommendations. The best reviews of all are those from past and present parents. Ask to have parents call and give you recommendations.
Class Schedule. Maria Montessori was very specific that the children must have a full three hour long, uninterrupted work cycle. Many schools and daycares constantly interrupt the children’s concentration for miscellaneous activities. When the cycle is continually interrupted, the class is never normalized and the children have difficulty maintaining focus. A school that adheres to the three hour work cycle has the classrooms beautifully productive, children happily going about their work, focused and enjoying the day. Subjects like art, science, and others should be built into the Montessori classroom as part of the work cycle. Group activities should be done outside of the work cycle.
Mixed Age Groups. An essential part of the Montessori environment is having children of different ages in the classroom. Maria Montessori discovered that children go through natural developmental planes in approximately three year cycles. It is wonderful to watch as the younger children learn from the older students. The older students gain so much from nurturing their younger classmates, solidifying their own knowledge by teaching and helping them. It is also preferable that the child stay with the same teacher for the full three years as they acquire an amazing relationship built on trust and respect.
Homework. There should be no homework, even in the elementary grades. If the children have had a productive day and completed their work, they should go home and enjoy their family and after school activities. It is not productive for children to do homework in the evening hours, adding stress for the child and the parent. We, as adults, try not to take work home with us. Why should we ask that of our children?
Motivation. There should also be no grades, stickers or other rewards. The child’s best reward is the pride she feels in a job well done!
Observe the Classrooms. There is only one way to truly assess the quality of the school and specifically the classroom your child will be in. Schedule a time with the director to sit in the classroom and observe. Compare the things you have learned about a Montessori environment with the things you observe in the different schools and classrooms you visit. Currently not available during Covid but will resume once the state provides permission.
How does the teacher interact with the children and how do the children interact with her?
How do the children interact with each other?
Is the environment inviting, beautiful, clean, organized and uncluttered?
The child should feel at home in his environment, comfortable and safe.
Montessori Materials. A completely outfitted classroom with all the wooden Montessori materials is essential. As you visit Montessori schools, you will quickly see the difference between them, even without a list of equipment.
Choose the Montessori school that best fits within these essentials. Sometimes the school you choose may be less convenient to your home and quite possibly a bit more expensive than the others, but worth it. Once you answer the above questions, choosing the right school isn’t as overwhelming as you think.
Director/Owner The Peace Rose Montessori School
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The Peace Rose Montessori School is now open following the CDC guidelines and safety protocols. Come, and see how we can help create a strong foundation for your child’s future, not just in education but in life. We are now scheduling tours for summer and 2021-2022 school year enrollments.
Facility #: 214005288