Advice on Choosing a School
Choosing the right school or child care facility for your child is an extremely difficult decision that requires time and effort so give yourself enough lead time to explore all options before coming to a decision. Some schools have a waiting list so it’s important you register early.
The decision process should include examining the characteristics of your child, your family and the school itself. For example, if you value education and a healthy lifestyle, your child’s school should reflect this commitment.
Arrange for a tour of the school and if possible, book an observation to see a classroom in action. Meet the director of the school and your child’s potential head teacher. Following these experiences, you should have a good sense of the school’s philosophies, curriculum and whether it is the right fit for your child and your family.
To ensure you are visiting an authentic Montessori School, we have created a list of things to look for.
- The Director of the school should always be available to answer any comments or concerns.
- Each classroom should be should be neat, clean, orderly and attractive. It should offer a full complement of Montessori materials on the shelves. Some Montessori materials should be rotated every week to allow the children to continue to learn and evolve.
- The School should promote and encourage classroom observations for prospective parents and for parents of children already enrolled in the school. During your observation, are the children happy? Do they seem to have been given the tools to speak with each other in postive ways? There should be a busy hum of activity in the room. You should be able to spot several instances of children helping each other.
- There should be an outside playground area that embraces the environment. It should be fully naturalized with plants, trees, flowers, water, dirt, grass and sand. It should be rich with a wide variety of play opportunities of every imaginable type.
- The name “Montessori” is not copyrighted, so anybody can open a “Monte-Something” and call it a Montessori. Make sure that ALL the teachers are trained through either MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education), AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) or the AMS (The American Montessori Society). Casa teachers should have hands-on classroom training, not an “online” education.
- In addition to the classroom teacher, there needs to be one or two classroom assistants, depending on the number of children enrolled. These assistants should also carry qualifications in a related field. (E.C.E, E.A, or C.Y.W.)
- Talk to neighbours, friends and relatives: Like any other service you’re considering, gaining opinions from trusted sources will help you make the right decision.
- Lastly, true Montessorians love to talk Montessori. If you’re not getting a sense of passion and dedication from the staff, be concerned.