As every parent knows, school isn’t just about teaching young children facts and figures. Especially when your son or daughter is preschool age, school plays a vital role in helping them gain the ability to interact positively with other people. Strong social skills equip children to excel in life—in the classroom and beyond it.
Montessori education excels in this vital area of early childhood development.
An authentic Montessori school is built around the concept of providing your child with a rich, balanced experience in every area of life—including their social interactions. Our certified Montessori teachers consider social development essential to their students’ growth and long-term success.
Here’s a closer look at why social graces are so important to overall academic success, and how to recognize a school that provides authentic Montessori techniques to foster social development in your son or daughter.
How Social Development Benefits Your Child
One of the most important reasons for enrolling children ages 2-5 in preschool classes is the benefits they receive from learning how to successfully interact with others. A positive, well-run classroom gives children opportunities to make friends, collaborate, negotiate, manage their emotions, and so much more that is helpful in school, on the playground, on sports teams, and beyond.
The Montessori method offers great advantages over traditional kindergarten techniques, which is why so many successful parents opt for Montessori schools.
In addition, the preschool education provided in a genuine Montessori classroom prepares children for leadership and achievement—giving them a great advantage as they pursue lifelong success.
How to Tell a Montessori School Builds Strong Social Skills
There are many ways that a genuine Montessori preschool helps children learn social graces that serve them well in life. Here are 5 questions to ask as you evaluate a school.
1. How often do students interact with children of different ages?
An essential element of Montessori education is having mixed age groups in the same classroom. This allows your son and daughter to interact daily with other children who are older and younger than they are.
There are so many benefits to mixed age classrooms!
- Your child will be able to observe and emulate the positive behaviors they see in older children.
- They’ll learn to be open to advice and mentorship from others.
- They’ll discover the joy of mentoring younger children.
- They’ll learn to be patient, listen and collaborate—all skills that are advantageous in work, family life, sports, and other areas.
2. What techniques do you use to help children practice social graces?
A trained, certified Montessori primary or pre-primary teacher will adhere to the approach Maria Montessori established. This includes:
- Encouraging children to self-direct their learning experience
- Providing guidance rather than control
- Fostering a calm classroom environment
- Balancing individual and small group activities so children can practice self-regulation in both settings
3. How do you handle it when conflicts between children arise?
While traditional classrooms typically punish students for bad behavior, Montessori concentrates on a broad approach to help children resolve conflicts and promote good will. These social skills are not an after-thought; instead, they’re built into the Montessori approach.
- Grace and courtesy are important elements that are visible in all the class’s daily activities, from greeting each other at the start of the day to working together to prepare snacks and clean up the classroom.
- Children are encouraged to show respect for others, which helps to prevent many conflicts from occurring in the first place.
- When conflicts do arise, children are given tools that help them express their feelings effectively and arrive at a peaceful solution.
4. What do you do to encourage children to share?
At preschool age, children have a reputation for not wanting to share. Traditional schools often approach this challenge by ensuring everyone has “their own” materials, but this doesn’t teach them to share.
The Montessori method is based on the belief that children can learn to share. So, there is one set of learning materials in a Montessori class. In this way, children can develop social skills related to sharing, such as:
As children grow in their ability to wait, change their focus to another activity, and communicate, they gain essential self-regulation skills they can use for the rest of their lives.
5. How do you help children to gain skills in managing their emotions?
A key to successful early childhood development is equipping children with the ability to identify what they’re feeling—and then helping them attain the tools to manage those emotions well. In a genuine Montessori school, like ours, we understand that emotional growth goes hand in hand with social development.
Traditional classrooms use rewards and punishment, which teaches students to rely on others for their motivation. Montessori encourages students to develop intrinsic, self-motivation for their behaviors. Later in life, your child will use that intrinsic drive to accomplish their goals, a key to lifelong accomplishment.
Get a Whole Picture of the Schools You’re Considering
An authentic Montessori pre-primary/primary education can give your son or daughter many advantages in life, including healthy social development. So, as you consider different schools in the Rockville, MD area, take time to ensure they’re offering a genuine Montessori experience.
To help you weigh each school and find the right one, check out our handy Comparison Guide & Worksheet. It’s free—and designed to help you evaluate different schools and feel confident you’ve found one that is authentically Montessori.
An Authentic Montessori Education Makes All the Difference
At Primary Montessori Day School, we understand what it’s like to find the right school for your child—one that fits well with your busy schedule and also equips them for lifelong success. We offer a variety of programs for children ages 2-9—including half-day and full-day classes, enrichment programs, and extended hours—so your child can enjoy a well-rounded education that works for your entire family.
Check out our program options to see how your son or daughter can benefit from a balanced, authentic Montessori education.