Montessori Method FAQ's
- Why does KMS have a multi-age group of ages 6-12 but other Montessori schools split it into 6-9 and 9-12 groups? What are the benefits of having a 6-12 classroom?
- Do you have a curriculum and how does it compare with other schools in the area?
- How do you balance liberty and discipline in a Montessori classroom?
- How do the students transition into a “normal” classroom?
- How do you know my child’s progress if you don’t give tests?
- What is your policy for homework at the elementary level?
- What qualities does my child need to have to be successful at a Montessori school?
Q: Why does KMS have a multi-age group of ages 6-12 but other Montessori schools split it into 6-9 and 9-12 groups? What are the benefits of having a 6-12 classroom?
A: The Montessori method is based on the stages of human development. The first stage is from birth to age 6 with subgroupings of 0-3 and 3-6. This is the absorbent mind period of time where children are learning about their environment mainly through their senses.
The second stage of development is from 6-12 with subgroupings of 6-9 and 9-12. During the second stage (also called the plane of childhood), the absorbent mind changes to the conscious mind; children become very social and are aware of the rules of fairness, justice, and morals. Children from ages 6-9 are very enthusiastic about learning and this lays down the foundation for the 9-12 age students. The upper elementary children still have a strong desire to learn about the world around them but their thinking becomes more thoughtful and their depth of questioning increases. The 6-12 classroom is the original model that Dr. Montessori established. Many schools split these level into two groups mainly due to space and staffing constraints.
The 6-12 classroom enables the younger students to be inspired by the older ones. They realize that the new works that they are asked to do are possible because they saw older students doing it with success. They learn about kindness, patience, and generosity because they receive these things from older students.
Older students benefit from the responsibility and expectations of being a good role-model to the younger students. They learn how to take an active role in sustaining a healthy community and making sure that every voice is heard and valued. They learn how to be better people and think of others.
Q: Do you have a curriculum and how does it compare with other schools in the area?
A: The curriculum at KMS follows the scope and sequence of the Montessori lessons and materials which are based on the stages of human development. The areas of study reflect the holistic approach to education and integrate language, math, science, culture, practical life, community, music, art, movement, and foreign language. Because the core curriculum is well-established, it gives the teachers the ability to thoroughly understand the lessons and the freedom to explore new activities based on the children’s interests. The curriculum follows the Montessori principles of going from the concrete to the abstract, the whole to the parts, and understanding why and how something works.
We stay informed about policy changes that affect educational practices and curriculum in public schools in our state and across our county however, our commitment at KMS is to provide your child and our school community the best Montessori education possible.
Q: How do you balance liberty and discipline in a Montessori classroom?
A: There is often a misconception about Montessori schools that it is a place where children get to do whatever they want to do. Our goal is to teach your child how to be independent and have self-control by balancing the liberty to make one’s own decisions with the responsibility of doing the right thing, not only for oneself but for the well-being of the community. Read a good article about liberty and discipline.
Q: How do the students transition into a “normal” classroom?
A: Actually, we think that the Montessori classroom is the “normal” classroom and the traditional classroom model needs a lot of fixing, but we also understand that this is a concern that parents have. Montessori children learn how to adapt to their environment and be flexible and open-minded in their thinking however, children who have difficulties in the Montessori classroom will most likely continue to have the same problems in a traditional setting.
Children who have embraced the concept of independent learning for life do very well when they leave Montessori but they do tend to miss the peaceful, collaborative Montessori community and the opportunities to have a voice in their own education. Parents need to adjust to their child’s new school; there are new ways of doing things at the new school which take time to learn and new people to meet. The adolescent stage of development adds to this new experience for both the child and the parent. The ultimate goal of a Montessori education is to help the child be the best version of him or herself.
Q: How do you know my child’s progress if you don’t give tests?
A: Dr. Montessori was a scientist before she became an educator and she applied scientific practices to her method of education. Just like scientists, Montessori teachers use observation to understand, assess, and plan. Instead of giving tests, we observe the children doing their work, conference with them, and help them create goals. The role of the Montessori teacher is to guide, inspire, and mentor.
Q: What is your policy for homework at the elementary level?
A: Very little homework is assigned at the elementary level because we want the children to have the opportunity to pursue their own interests and spend time with their families in the evening. Some work is done at home for large projects such as the history project and science fair. Just like adults, children need to have a work-life balance.
Q: What qualities does my child need to have to be successful at a Montessori school?
A: Children who do well in a Montessori classroom are curious, have an internal love of learning, and like to work with others.
More questions about Montessori education? Check out this article from the American Montessori Society.