Frequently Asked Questions
If you don't find your question here, please get in touch. I'll be happy to answer it for you.
What are some of the differences between Montessori and a traditional preschool?
Some of the main differences are:
-Multiple ages (family grouping) rather than all children in the class being the same age.
-Focus on cooperation and conflict resolution rather than teacher imposing outcomes.
-Uninterrupted time to make choices, collaborate and think rather than teacher-led class time.
-Freedom of movement and activity choice rather than assigned activities and seating.
Are Montessori schools too structured? Or do they allow too much freedom?
They have just the right balance. Montessori schools have a consistent environment, routine, and the same teachers for 2-3 years. Consistency offers children comfort and security and this scaffolding allows for freedom within the structure. Children develop a sense of order and responsibility which allows them to be creative and express themselves as individuals in a multitude of ways.
What type of training do Montessori teachers receive?
Certified Montessori teachers are not only highly trained in Montessori philosophy and the curriculum areas and materials, they also receive training in child development, observation and assessment, health and safety, and how to inspire young children.
What is the teacher’s role in a Montessori classroom?
The teacher prepares an attractive classroom environment with a range of developmental levels, then tweaks and changes it based on careful observations. If a child is engaged with an activity they chose, the teacher refrains from interfering and lets them explore at their own pace. If the teacher senses the child needs motivation or guidance, they step in. So the role varies depending on what is needed at the moment — a guide, a role model, or a lab assistant.
Are children allowed to socialize in a Montessori classroom?
Yes! Freedom of movement is one of the hallmarks of a Montessori classroom. Children may choose to explore activities alone, with another child, or perhaps in a small group. They interact with the full group at meetings, circles, and outdoor playtimes.
How is discipline handled in Montessori?
We use guidance, ground rules, and clear expectations to encourage children to develop inner discipline. We are positive, preventive, and playful in our approach, modeling courtesy, and respect. The children also learn that there are sometimes natural or logical consequences that follow their actions. The result is generally a class of children who speak to each other with kindness and care, know how to share, take turns, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
How do children fare in school after their Montessori years?
They tend to feel comfortable in most situations and can ask for what they need or want. They are confident, competent thinkers and problem solvers, well-prepared for academics and social situations. Parents often tell us their child’s new teacher could tell right away that their child had attended a Montessori school because of their confidence, independence, and willingness to ask questions.
What benefits might my child receive from a Montessori education?
Montessori children tend to do better in reading, math, social skills, self-regulation, and creativity. Here are a few Montessori success stories: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Nobel Prize recipient Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Julia Child, chef and author extraordinaire.
Why 5 mornings? Wouldn't 2-3 days be better to ease my young child into a school program?
Although 2-3 days may seem a reasonable and gradual way to transition into a program, separation anxiety can often be stronger and last longer when children are with their new friends and teachers only a couple days, then are away for several days, then start all over again. The consistency of a five-day program is comforting, especially to the youngest children. You will be surprised and delighted by how quickly your child will start to engage with the materials and with the other children. In fact, children start to think of Cottage as their home-away-from-home and sometimes wake up on weekend mornings asking why they can't go to school.
Will I be able to speak to parents whose children are currently enrolled to ask about their experience at Cottage Montessori?
Absolutely. Our parents are very enthusiastic about our program and happy to speak to anyone exploring Cottage for their child.