When your child enters kindergarten, he or she is beginning an amazing academic journey that will take them through elementary, middle school, high school graduation, and beyond. Kindergarten is so foundational to how a child perceives school that it can determine a student’s success for years to come. So, it’s no surprise that many parents in Rockville, MD and the surrounding areas look long and hard at different schools and are interested in how Montessori kindergarten truly compares to traditional classrooms.
The fact is, an authentic Montessori school with great teachers can instill a love of learning that lasts for a lifetime. And there are so many advantages of enrolling your son or daughter in a Montessori kindergarten class. At Primary Montessori Day School, we’re dedicated to giving your kindergarten-age child a full, well-rounded, nurturing experience that prepares them to excel for a lifetime.
To help you learn more about the ways that Montessori education compares to traditional classes, here’s a closer look at the positive differences your child will enjoy in a uniquely Montessori kindergarten class.
One of the mainstays of a Montessori education is the focus on individualized learning experiences. The curriculum covers the essentials — reading, writing, math — but it is also designed to make room for what a child is passionate about, encouraging them to take deeper dives into studies they naturally gravitate toward. This fosters delight as children are empowered to learn more about what interests them. And it embraces the fact that students learn at different speeds and in different ways.
By comparison, traditional schools are built around the need to work through the same studies at the same time and at the same pace. Students are expected to meet standardized test results, without accounting for individual differences. It’s harder for teachers to give students the chance to pursue what they are passionate about.
Mixed Age Classes
In Montessori classrooms, students of different ages occupy the same space, learning together as they pursue self-directed studies. There is room for flexibility, allowing children to find their place in a class that fits their social and academic development. Older students mentor younger ones, and everyone gets practice in collaboration.
By contrast, students in traditional classes are grouped with others of the same age, no matter where they are developmentally. They don’t benefit from learning from children a little older than them, and they don’t enjoy the opportunity to mentor younger students.
Superb Learning Materials
While traditional classes use mainly textbooks, a Montessori curriculum makes use of specialized, elegant, wood learning materials that appeal to your child’s five senses — which is essential to their learning at this stage of development. Studies move beyond rote learning and memorization skills to exploring and discovering how and why things happen as they do. They develop greater understanding as a result.
Lively Classroom Environment
Children love the comfort and freedom that characterize the classrooms in our Primary Montessori programs. Students can move about to different activity stations, embracing their love of being active while also directing it toward learning. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively, sharing ideas and mentoring each other. They learn to explore while also learning respect for others and self-discipline.
By comparison, traditional classrooms are more rigidly set into rows or tables where children are assigned a specific seat. Students are not given much freedom. Learning is centered around the teacher, not the child.
Ample Time for Activities
In order to teach standardized tests and also try to avoid student discipline problems due to boredom, traditional classrooms typically move fast from activity to activity. Many students are unable to keep up with the pace of learning, while others can find the pace stressful and tiring. Often, students are interrupted before they can have an aha moment in their studies.
Montessori teachers take a different approach, guiding students to love learning. Our teachers encourage students to work on lessons as long as necessary to gain understanding. Children can relax, enjoy their studies, learn more, and feel less stressed.
Skilled, Caring Teachers
Teachers are passionate about helping students learn. But the structure of a traditional classroom is much different from the Montessori classroom, and it affects how teachers can work with their students. In traditional kindergarten, the teacher is the center of the room, leading and choosing what happens, and expecting all the students to follow along.
In our Primary Montessori program, by contrast, our teachers act as guides, working with students one on one. Children get individualized attention and coaching in their studies, which allows them to learn in the way that is best for them.
Social and Personal Growth
One of the most wonderful aspects of Montessori education is its ability to foster not only academic learning, but also the development of social graces and personal skills. Kindness, respect, and positivity are modeled and encouraged. Students learn to value and care for their classroom, themselves, and others. Traditional classrooms can vary widely in this aspect, as it is not essential to the school structure. But in Montessori, it is absolutely essential, and it is a part of daily life. Montessori students often develop social skills far beyond their traditionally taught peers, at a much younger age.
Choosing the Best Kindergarten for Your Child
As you consider where to send your son or daughter for their education, you probably want to compare each school you visit, so you can make an informed decision. To help you do that, we’ve compiled a handy Comparison Guide & Worksheet for you to download today. It’s easy to use and helps ensure you think about every aspect of a school that matters to give your child the most balanced, enriching experience.
To learn more about how our school benefits your kindergarten-aged children, check out our Primary Program for students age 3 to 6.