If 2020 has taught parents anything, it’s that life will bring the unexpected—even when it comes to your child’s education. Between COVID-19 concerns and the need for so many people to work from home, parents often find themselves struggling to figure out whether it makes sense to use online learning platforms or bring their children to in-person classes—especially as schools and offices begin to open back up.
Both in-person and online learning have their advantages and drawbacks, and it’s wise to be fully informed to make the best decision for your preschooler or kindergartener. Here’s what you need to know.
The Advantages of Online Education
For young children of preschool and primary school ages, online education presents some unique challenges. Like any other virtual learning, your son or daughter will be using the computer a lot.
Virtual learning has its pluses, though these usually benefit older students more than young ones.
You may be able to set the schedule yourself, especially if the online courses are run by you as a parent rather than a teacher or school.
You can control the environment, which means you can be sure the space is cleaned and maintained to your level of comfort.
You can observe classes as they happen, which allows you to see what your child is learning in real time.
The Disadvantages of Online Education
For children ages 3-6, online learning doesn’t have the same impact it can have for older children. The drawbacks are many.
The isolation that COVID-19 has created for many families is especially hard on young children. They miss out on time with friends, and don’t have as many opportunities to grow in social graces.
Being at home all the time is particularly tough on preschoolers and kindergarteners. Studies show increased anxiety and depression among children who engage only in virtual classes.
It’s hard for young children to remain focused on virtual learning, and that can make it harder for them to learn and retain new facts and skills.
Limited in learning styles
Preschoolers learn best when they can interact with their environment and engage all their senses. But virtual learning focuses mainly on visual and auditory experiences.
Too much time onscreen
There are many reasons to reduce the time preschoolers and kindergarteners spend on computers—including sleep disruptions, increased obesity, poor academic performance, and other challenges. But online learning is all about using the computer, making it difficult to limit your child’s screen time.
The Advantages of In-Person Montessori Education
For children of preschool and primary school age, being in a physical classroom with friends and teachers is so beneficial that online education simply doesn’t compare. And Montessori classrooms are especially good at this.
Better communication and support
Teachers can easily interact with students one-on-one, especially in a Montessori setting which is already arranged to invite focused, individualized studies.
Children blossom through positive, encouraging interactions with friends—and this happens most readily when they can be together face-to-face. Positive in-person interactions, such as the ones encouraged in our Montessori classes, also help children lower their stress levels and gain confidence in themselves.
There is nothing like face-to-face interactions to promote the development of collaboration skills. Your child can make great friends and gain skills they’ll use throughout their academic career and beyond.
Use of all five senses in learning
Maria Montessori observed that children learn best by physically interacting with their environment. In-person classes give your child numerous opportunities to manipulate study materials, move about the room, experiment, and discover new things.
Young students benefit from classes that allow them to focus. This is much easier to manage in a classroom setting than at home. And as a result, preschoolers and kindergarteners do better at completing their work when they’re in the classroom.
Learning indoors and outdoors
In-person classes invite students to engage beyond their computers. In Montessori classes, your son or daughter will also have many places within the classroom to discover new skills, as well as time outdoors to play and explore.
Cleaning regimens are often just as strict as you’d get at home, or better, especially in Montessori schools where caring responsibly for the space is a part of our curriculum.
The Disadvantages of In-Person Education
There aren’t a lot of negatives about enrolling young children in face-to-face classes.
Adapting to changing health recommendations
Of course, it’s worth noting that right now, health requirements surrounding COVID-19 must be met. Using a mask and social distancing may be needed, depending on the school and district.
Fortunately, Montessori classes are designed to be small and manageable, which makes it easier to implement strategies that promote health and wellness for everyone.
How In-Person Montessori Classes Are Best for Young Children
Face-to-face interactions and physical Montessori environments are proven to benefit young students. By being together in class, children learn how to make friends, develop empathy, and resolve conflicts. Face-to-face learning helps children develop self-confidence, social graces, and a lifelong love of learning.
Montessori vs. traditional classrooms
You may be wondering where you should enroll your child for in-person learning. Check out our guide to the numerous benefits of choosing Montessori classes over traditional kindergarten for in-person learning.
Genuine Montessori Schooling in the Rockville, MD Area
From an interactive setup that promotes both collaboration and individualized studies to the engaging educational activities and practice in social graces—your son or daughter will gain a lifelong love of learning through being in-person at an authentic Montessori school that puts your child first.
At Primary Montessori Day School, we offer several ways to enroll your child and supplement their education. Learn more about our program options designed to help children achieve long-lasting success in school and life.