10 Benefits Of A Montessori Preschool

Over the last few years, the Montessori Method has risen to prominence in educational circles as being a highly effective tool for helping children master the basic skills required for long-term success. Although Dr. Maria Montessori developed this educational philosophy over a century again, it has not only remained valid in the modern world, but has actually been validated and reinforced by emerging research on early childhood education.

The reason for its success is that Dr. Montessori recognized that children naturally go through sensitive periods during which they can easily acquire new skills, and also have a natural curiosity to explore new ideas. By allowing children to direct their own psychic energy towards learning activities – and not interrupting them while they learn – the Montessori method has proven itself as a remarkable and holistic method for early childhood education.

Dr. Maria Montessori recognized that structure is important in a learning environment, but she approached the need for it differently than traditional education. Rather than seeking to control children’s behavior and attention or employing a reward & punishment model for classroom education, Montessori built structure in the learning environment itself with precisely designed educational materials & lessons that provide children a form of “freedom within limits” to learn more effectively.

10 Benefits Of A Montessori Preschool

There are many benefits to enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool, including a wide variety of cognitive & social development advantages from the self-directed learning that the Montessori Method encourages. Children in Montessori preschool environments do better in language & mathematics, problem solving, spatial reasoning, and other traditional academic areas – as well as having better social skills, conflict resolution abilities, and leadership qualities. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll find from Montessori preschool education:

Improved Language Skills

Montessori language education begins with phonics, which is a reading method that allows a child to learn the sounds of letters by developing an understanding of how these sounds are used individually, in groups and whole words. Montessori preschools teach the alphabet, but also help children to succeed in using letters together by using phonics to help children learn and identify the sounds. This is only one of the many innovative approaches to language skills that the Montessori Method embraces to help children develop better language fluency over their peers in traditional preschool environments.

Improved Mathematics Skills

In a Montessori preschool, you’ll find an array of blocks, beads, and other learning materials designed to help children learn the fundamentals of mathematics. Children use a number board to develop the skill of learning to count to one hundred, and using strings of beads from the decanomial box lets them easily internalize the difference between numbers. Like all Montessori preschool materials, the focus is not simply on rote memorization, but on a self-directed approach to math that’s both fun and highly educational.

Improved Spatial Reasoning

The hands-on approach to manipulating blocks, solving puzzles, and other activities you’ll find in a Montessori preschool contributes to good hand-eye coordination as well as building the foundations for strong spatial reasoning skills. For instance, the geography puzzles used not only help teach children about the continents and land-masses, but help them to learn how to fit together into the outline of the globe – and do it in a self-correcting manner that lets the child identify for themselves if they’ve made a mistake.

Better Practical Life Skills

Children are introduced to a collection of Practical Life skills in a Montessori Preschool to help them develop coordination, improve concentration, master basic life skills, and become more independent. Practical life activities include a wide variety of simple common tasks such as practicing grace & courtesy, learning how to tie shoes, washing hands & dishes, watering plants, and a variety of arts & crafts activities. Children are not forced to do these activities, but introduced to them, and allowed to master these basic skills on their own over time.

Better Social Skills

Children in a Montessori preschool interact in a mixed-age group setting, allowing them to learn cooperative skills with others, and also participate in mentorship with younger children as they master skills. Unlike a traditional school setting where the teacher dominates the classroom, the Montessori Method stresses freedom to move, interact, and solve problems independently – which naturally encourages relationship building & builds friendships across a diverse group of children.

Introduction To Music

Research has shown that an introduction to music at a young age helps children develop language skills, problem solving, movement coordination and more. Children love to move, dance and enjoy listening music, just like adults – and in a Montessori preschool, music plays an important role in the curriculum. One example of this is the matching bells exercise, which helps children recognize sounds and notes. As they continue to make progress in learning, they may go further to read and write musical notes, as well.

Introduction To Art

Children in a Montessori Preschool are surrounded by art, in the form of craft activities, drawing, and much more. Rich, colorful materials abound – and color, shapes, and different mediums are used to teach many concepts and highlight the difference between various sizes, numbers, and letters. Children are naturally creative, and in the self-directed environment of a Montessori preschool, they’re provided with countless opportunities to create preschool artistic masterpieces. Not only is art an important enrichment tool, but the process of creating art is also valuable for developing hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, and more.

Responsibility and Self-Discipline

In a Montessori preschool, children clean up their own messes, put away their own learning materials, and put on their own coats & shoes. Montessori encourages children to take ownership & responsibility for themselves and the environment around them, which leads to thoughtful, helpful, and more responsible children. Everything about the Montessori Method leads to an awareness of individual responsibility, which originates from the self-directed nature of this educational method and it’s focus on children being responsible for their own learning.

Teachers Act As Guides

In a traditional education environment, the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures – but in a Montessori preschool, they act as guides. A guide constantly monitors the activities in the classroom, but doesn’t interfere with the individualized, self-directed learning taking place. Instead, they provide mentorship and gentle guidance without exerting control, which helps children to become independent learners and focus on tasks that provide them with the most learning satisfaction.

The Prepared Environment

The key to creating a successful learning experience in a Montessori preschool comes from the prepared environment, which is classroom design concept to facilitate the highest level of independent learning and exploration by the child. All of the educational materials, furniture, shelves and other items in the classroom fit the smaller size of preschool age children, and the classroom has no focal point, allowing children to move from station to station and in a self-directed manner. The prepared environment in a Montessori preschool is one of the key differentiators between this style of learning and traditional education.

Why Choose A Montessori Preschool

Throughout this article, you’ve seen mention of “self-directed learning”, which is one of the biggest benefits of enrolling your child in a Montessori preschool. This educational model stresses agile learning, the ability to focus on tasks without interruption, the concept of self-correction in work, and a focus on moving from the concrete to the abstract over time.

Montessori education is over a century old, but surprisingly aligns perfectly with the latest research into early childhood development, making this Montessori preschools an extension of natural learning methods that work the best for children. The model for learning created by Dr. Montessori is not a production-line that produces bodies for 20th century industrial labor – it is a rich & flexible model of learning that creates agile minds for the diverse challenges of knowledge economy.

It should be no surprise that self-directed and agile learning are both qualities that help provide children with strong foundations for leadership – making Montessori education a platform for producing the great innovators and leaders of tomorrow. The development of the ability to experiment, relate well with  all kinds of people, and to function well in ambiguity and complexity are all attributes which the Montessori method helps to promote and develop in children.