Choosing a Montessori School – Do They Offer Kindergarten?

Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist and author of the best-selling book The Unschooled Mind, states that: “Many schools have fallen into a pattern of giving kids exercises and drills that result in getting correct answers on tests that look like understanding. Most students, from as young as those in kindergarten to students in some of the finest colleges in America do not understand what they’ve studied, in the most basic sense of the term. They lack the capacity to take knowledge learned in one setting and apply it appropriately in a different setting.

Sending your child to a local school for kindergarten as opposed to keeping them in Montessori school can have the following disadvantages for your child:

  • Your child will not have the opportunity to complete the 3-year Montessori cycle. At 5-years of age, children explode into all the advanced materials. If children leave Montessori before they have had the time to internalize their early experiences and Montessori education, then they are not given the opportunity to obtain the full benefit of the program.
  • Traditional kindergarten classes often have very different expectations for 5 year olds than a Montessori system. This, coupled with the adjustment period of a new school and setting, can severely impact the learning that could occur during this crucial year of their lives.
  • A child who stays in Montessori will reap the benefits of his past work under the enthusiastic guidance of teachers who will share his or her joy in learning. By the end of the kindergarten year, Montessori students will often have developed academic skills that may be beyond those of children enrolled in most kindergarten programs.

Despite all the possible academic benefits of a Montessori school, parents should remember that academic progress is not the only goal. The genuine hope of a quality Montessori school is that the children will have an incredible sense of self-confidence, enthusiasm for learning, and feelings of being closely bonded. Once children have developed these traits, they can normally adapt to all types of new situations with ease. By the time they are in first grade, a child will typically be able to go off to their new school with a vibrant curiosity, an excitement about making new friends, and an eagerness to learn new things!

More in this series:

8 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Montessori School