Friday, October 21, 2016

5 Reasons to Choose Montessori Education for Your Kids

Mom2MomEd Blog: 5 reasons to choose a Montessori education for your children
We’re almost a month into the new school year and starting to get into our groove. We had some difficulty getting into our top choice school. I had my heart set on my kids going to a Montessori school, but it turns out so did a lot of families in my area. We were stuck on a waiting list and with a lottery system. 

Thankfully, it all worked out, and we found out practically at the last minute that my son was IN!
Prior to looking into education options for my children, I knew only a little bit about Montessori education. As I began to research more about it and speak with families who involved, I grew to love the Montessori philosophy. 

If you don’t know much about Montessori education and are interested in learning more you can read about it HERE.

I’m in love with the philosophy, the teaching practices, materials, and just the overall vibe of my son's new school. As you can probably guess, I feel like we made a great choice and I cannot be any more grateful that we were able to get in.
Are you wondering why we chose this route rather than going with a more traditional school?

It really all boils down to one simple fact: I know my kids.

I know that the public school system would not be a good fit for either of them.
I know what types of environments they will learn best in and sitting in a desk for hours on end will not suite either of them. I’m not knocking desk sitting at all--in fact, I am actually the type of student who can sit in a desk and take notes and be perfectly fine with that.

That is not who my son is though.

While my husband and I discussed our hopes for our children’s educations, it was really my job to go and seek out the options available to us. We aren’t able to afford private school without taking out a second mortgage, but we refuse to do that. As I explored our options, I kept gravitating back to Montessori or similar type schools.

In our brief experience so far, here are just a few of the reasons I love Montessori education:

My child is free to move at his own pace and won’t be held back if he is moving faster or slower than the rest of the class. He is free to master a concept on his own time and has some control over how and when he completes his work. It’s giving children freedom of choice while also teaching them to be accountable for the outcomes of their choices.

Montessori doesn't promote conformity and it does discourage (aka doesn’t allow) commercialism of any kind. I have always disliked children’s items that are covered in characters and all of that hoopla, although I have given in (reluctantly) over the past few years on a few items. Montessori solves that issue once and for all. No battles in the morning because it’s simply not allowed. It’s also less distracting and doesn’t continue to promote materialism and consumerism to our kids.

They encourage (require) parent participation. Honestly, this is one of the most important things to me. I want to be involved in my child’s education. I want to volunteer, help out and get to know the teacher. That seems natural to me and I can’t imagine not being invited into the classroom, yet I've heard from parents at non-Montessori schools who say they either aren't allowed into the classroom or they are only allowed in under specific circumstances. Since parent participation is a requirement for all families, I feel like my child's school lends itself to attracting parents who are highly invested in their child’s education and want to be a part of the school. Therefore, the school forms a community for families as well as for the students.

I love that academics are a part of the classroom environment, but that is not the ONLY part of Montessori education. In fact, Montessori philosophy places a strong focus on life skills, social skills, and being a part of a community. I like that children are encouraged to be independent and to learn do things for themselves. This not only builds their skill level but also their confidence. Win and win! Plus, these are concepts I have personally been trying to work on with my children at home, so it’s nice to have the extra support at school too!

The classroom at my son's school is so inviting! I wouldn’t mind sitting in there all day myself. There are no overhead, glaring florescent lights and no desks all set up in neat, straight rows. Instead there are house plants, natural light, rugs, coffee tables, stations, bean bag chairs, and other touches of comfort. The classroom smells good and there is usually music playing in the background. The classrooms all have a calming force that you can pick up on by just walking in.
It feels conducive to learning.
It feels safe.

Now, I’m not saying that other schools do not offer some or all of these same concepts. After doing my own research, and considering what was best for my family, Montessori education won! I’m so glad it did. I feel at home there, and so do my kids, and that is so important. My son loves his school and is excited to go every day. I can’t ask for anything more.

I’m not going to be all Pollyanna about the school and think that everything is going to be rainbows and butterflies forever. I’m just happy that we’re having a good experience so far and it really is all that I hoped that it would be. 

I am so excited to continue our kindergarten journey and to see what the rest of the year has in store for us!
I've had several people ask me what I love about Montessori education and why I chose it for my kids, so it seemed like a good time to share just a few of my reasons for choosing it and why I think it is a good fit for my family. Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me until recently that others might be curious! 
Now, I want to know...what type of education did you choose for your children? How did you make that choice? Did it work out the way that you had hoped? Share your experiences in the comments!

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