Q. Is the Montessori classroom structured so that children are not allowed free play?
A. Montessori is structured and based on the needs of the child at each stage of development. However, children are allowed to explore and work with the materials in the classroom with the guidance of the teachers. Children proudly call the activities in their classroom “work”.
Q. Are children in a Montessori school allowed to do whatever they want?
A. No. Montessori does “follow the child”. However, we operate under the concept of flexibility within structure. Montessori students are allowed to explore and work with what interests them, but they are expected to follow the rules of the classroom and respect their fellow classmates.
Q. How do children transition from a Montessori to a traditional learning environment?
A. They transition quite well. They have been allowed many freedoms in the classroom so they tend to be quite flexible in new situations. Many children do not enjoy the rigidity of the traditional classroom but do respect the new rules. We find that the longer our students are with us, the better they transition. We have been told that our students are mature, kind, and centered.
Q. What is Montessori’s view on imaginative play and fantasy?
A. When children are very young, they have a hard time distinguishing between reality and fantasy. We believe it is very important for children to learn about the real world first. For example, they learn about real animals from different continents rather than hearing stories about imaginary animals that talk and wear clothes. When children enter elementary school, they are better able to understand the difference between what is real and what is not. This is the age where imagination and creativity flourish.
Q. In elementary school, are the students given letter grades and homework?
A. The students are not given letter grades. We use progress reports to quantify their mastery of the curriculum. Our students are expected to read independently and may have some projects that require outside work, but as a rule we do not assign daily homework.
Q. Do Montessori students meet state standards and the requirements of the new common core standards?
A. The Montessori curriculum surpasses state standards and allows students to meet those standards individually and not as a classroom. The Montessori curriculum also encourages critical thinking and applied concepts as opposed to rote memorization. So, the Montessori curriculum has already implemented the intention of the common core standards.
Q. Is Montessori faith-based?
A. No. Montessori is accepting of all faiths and cultures. We celebrate diversity.