A Whole Page For Informed Decisions

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

The last few months I’ve been writing articles on different types of schools you can choose as a parent. The choice can be so overwhelming, with many different options and many different choices within those options.

The choice seemed overwhelming to me, so I sought out to help others make their decision easier by researching the different schools and lining out the facts. I tried to stray from a pro/con list because there are some facts about these schools that can be a pro for one family, and a con for another family.

So here it is! A page where you can read more about each school.

Informed Decisions For Different Types of Schools

Choosing A Montessori School: Is It Right For You?

Let’s talk about Montessori schools! The term Montessori is thrown around a lot, especially recently, it’s become a very popular method among schools, caretakers, and parents. But what is the Montessori method? Here’s a quick introduction. 

Maria Montessori developed her method of learning as an Italian physician in the early 1900s. Her work focuses on children being independent in their learning and that they have a natural tendency for inquiry in learning. With the proper tools and set up, the child can be independent in their learning. The typical tools in a Montessori classroom are wooden, simple, and always at a child’s level.

Her work was never trademarked, so any school or center can tag “Montessori” onto their title and claim they teach Montessori method, but may not actually follow exactly what Maria developed. This is important to remember when looking into a Montessori school! 

A few facts about a Montessori school: 

If choosing a Montessori education, you may have to change your expectations of what school will look like for your children. They most likely will not be sitting in desks at any point in the day, but instead wandering and exploring and learning at their pace. 

Because the Montessori method is not a trademarked learning style, it is important to do research on specific schools to watch how they are learning and what the school’s style is to see if it meets the needs you are seeking. 

The Montessori method was well developed for elementary aged students, but Maria never created a curriculum for middle or high school students. Some schools have taken the Montessori principles and adjusted them to a high school level, creating a Montessori secondary education program, however, they may be few and far between. 

If you have chosen a Montessori program for your kids, how did you come to the conclusion that it was the right choice? 

Cover photo from thetot.com

Using The Montessori Method In Everyday Life

The Montessori method is a common practice in schools today, mainly the places that focus on early childhood education. There are also entire schools based around this method Maria Montessori created in 1897. Maria has revolutionized the way we foster learning in children with her research and educational practices. 

The basic idea of the Montessori method is children take charge of their learning. The adult provides the material, the child makes the decision on where and when to spend their time. Everything is eye level with the child, making it easy access. Wood is the preferred material for toys, not plastic, being aesthetically pleasing, as well as durable and practical. It’s a method that can be adopted in homes, daycares, preschools, elementary schools, even up to high schools. 

“Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential.”

Montessori Northwest

I had the intention to use the Montessori method in our home when my daughter was born, putting toys on a shelf at her eye level and practicing other Montessori ways. However, soon I began to feel inadequate about my implementing based on research I was doing and others I was comparing to, especially with my limited funds. Here’s how I brought the Montessori ways into my house without breaking the bank. 

We found a kid-sized card table we bought second hand. 
Toys were organized on a cube shelf, all at my daughter’s level. 
I was more mindful of the toys we bought for her, trying to stick with materials that promote imaginative play and learning, not limited, one-time-use toys.
We incorporated more play into our day. 
I let her prepare and be more involved in her meals. 
She took the reigns on her own learning, I stopped pushing her to learn letters and numbers and instead accepted that she would pick it up by herself eventually. She did. 

The Montessori method doesn’t have to be complicated or perfect. Certain aspects did not fit into our daily lives, but others worked great. Placing her dishes at her level to claim responsibility worked wonders, but setting up a functioning child-sized kitchen set for dishwashing and food prep wasn’t practical for us. I stopped comparing my small acts to those who had more resources. My main takeaway, in the end, was that just because I couldn’t orchestrate a perfect Montessori household for my two-year-old doesn’t mean that my efforts went to waste. This can be the case in any classroom. 

Move art supplies to kid-level. 

Give students access to imaginative play materials. 

Allow younger kids to use messy things such as markers and paints. They won’t understand the responsibility of playing with messy items until you give them the opportunity to. 

Place learning and classroom functions in the hands of the students. 

Be an advocate for responsible, independent kids, who will turn into responsible, independent adults. 

How do you implement Montessori ways into your classroom? How can this elicit deeper learning in other areas?