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      Questions Parents ask about Montessori Kindergarten

      Every year parents of children in their second year of Montessori begin to ask questions about continuing their child in the school. Published research on some of the questions is limited, however, the experience of schools and parents throughout the country, as reported in surveys and an ectodal accounts, shows the following are the most frequently asked questions and their answers.

      Why is to so important to continue my child in the kindergarten year at a Montessori school ?

      In the Montessori environment, the child is presented with endless opportunities to develop all his senses and his motor skills with the aid of self correcting materials in a prepared setting. During the third year a child can, not only work with these materials in more depth, thus gaining more insights from them, but, using this base, can move into the academic areas.

      Next, having learned from older children, shared with peers and helping younger children, the student has the opportunity to assume leadership within the classroom

      And, once the child has established critical learning habitsconcentration, self-discipline, a sense of order, persistence in completing a task, creative self -expression and a love for learning, (invaluable preparations for life) these behaviors and reinforced in supportive, exciting environment.

      All preparations for later academic work and for social and emotional development, which have been so carefully nurtured in the three and four year old child, are reinforced in the kindergarten year.

      As one parent said “everything my child had learned up to then seemed to fall into place, and he was ready to meet other challenges once he had this foundation”.

      Won’t it be easier for my child to make the adjustment to public or private school at the kindergarten level rather than at first grade ?

      The goals of Montessori classroom seem to be more closely related to those of a traditional first grade class than those of a traditional kindergarten. In most traditional kindergartens, the primary emphasis is on developing social skills with some preliminary work in cognitive readiness.

      In a Montessori environment, the emphasis is on individual growth, which allows for cognitive development based on a firm foundation of sensory and motor skill training, and which makes the transition into academic work so much easier for the child.

      This transition occurs naturally during the third year in a Montessori environment and it occurs without stress, pressure or praise. At this point, a child who is ready will begin reading and working with math materials, in addition to other activities, Few conversational kindergartens are geared to do this or have children who have been prepared for such work, and so it is not introduced until first grade.

      One father’s reason for preferring to make the transition at first grade level was :

      “We considered the school years ahead. Children usually do their best if they have good learning habits, a sound basis in numbers and math, and the ability to read. We realized that our child had an excellent two-year start in this Montessori school. Transferring now to Kindergarten, the child will go no farther, whereas staying in Montessori, ensures reaping the benefits of all past work under the enthusiastic guidance of teachers who
share the child’s joy of learning “.

      Will a child have enough experience in working in groups in a Montessori school to become a successful group member in first grade ?

      A visit to any American Montessori school will show that considerable socializing and grouping takes place naturally in the environment and that the children behave in a socially responsible and orderly manner. The Montessori approach eliminates many of the discipline problems found in more conventional environments. There are a few will-chosen ground rules, which are consistently reinforced.

      The children learn to help one another and care for one another, as well as taking care of their environment. Children are free to talk and move around, treated with respect, and not controlled by fear or punishment.
      The ambience of the Montessori classroom provides the opportunity for more meaningful talking and social interactions than in a more traditional environment. Thus, the young child is well prepared from the Montessori experience to act as a cooperative and skilled group member in first grade.

      After three years in Montessori, won’t my child be bored in first grade ?

      The Montessori school cultivates a highly motivated child with a true love for learning; a child with a positive attitude towards school is motivated to learn in any environment.

      Teachers respond favourably to children who are curious, selfdisciplined and socially responsible, so it is more than likely that the Montessori graduate will be valued highly by his first grade teacher.

      Of great importance, of course, is the parent’s attitude toward the new school and teacher. A little tact will go a long way toward fostering a good relationship and helping the transition to a different

      It is a good idea to visit the school to see what kinds of individualized programs are available. It is also a good time to decide how to help your child pursue special interests (music, dance, gymnastics) outside of the school environment.

      Will my child feel left out when the other children in our neighbourhood go off to another school ?

      The attitudes and feelings reflected by parents will affect those of a child of this age much than those of neighbourhood playmates. In general, if parents are firmly convinced they are offering their child the best choice for his future, the child will accept that decision. If parents have doubts or discuss those doubts within earshot of the child, the child will be quick to reflect the mixed feelings.

      Also, don’t ever underestimate the friendship developed in the Montessori classroom. Friendships begun at 3,4 and 5 years of age in a sharing, loving atmosphere continue for life.


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