5 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Montessori School
1. Is this a CCMA school?
The name ‘Montessori’ was never copyrighted so any program can call itself a Montessori School. The Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators (CCMA) is the only organization which actually comes out to inspect Montessori Schools to ensure that they are providing authentic Montessori education. The Montessori School of Wellington is an Applicant Member of the CCMA.
2. Is the teaching staff AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) or MACTE
(Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) accredited?
Unfortunately, there are some organizations which offer pseudo Montessori education to potential students who are unaware of exactly what is required to become a properly qualified Montessori teacher. All the staff at the Montessori School of Wellington is AMI or MACTE accredited. The owner of the school was taught by Renilde Montessori, granddaughter of Maria Montessori.
3. Is there a 3-year age mix in the classrooms?
One of the main pillars of Montessori education is that there must be a 3-year age mix within the class. This offers the older children the opportunity to reinforce the skills they have acquired by helping younger children. The younger children benefit socially and academically from this interaction with older children.
4. Is there a 2 ½ to 3 hour undisturbed work period?
An interesting occurrence that takes place in Montessori classrooms is false fatigue. This is something that often happens about 10:30 in the morning. Almost as though on signal, most of the children seem to finish their work, behaviour becomes disorderly and the noise level rises. However, if the teacher does not over-control at this point, the children will return to work by themselves and that work will be at an even higher level than before. This is why the uninterrupted, 2 ½ to 3 hour work period is so very important. This long, uninterrupted block of time is fundamental to an authentic Montessori program because it allows the children time to select the work required to hone whatever skill they’re working on and gives them time to work as long as they need to.
5. Are children allowed to freely choose the work they do?
Through close individual observation, the teacher determines which areas the child is attracted to and shows him/her work in those areas. The child is then free to choose the work they would like to do without pressure from the teacher. The children can then move as quickly as they want through the exercises. The work shown should be according to ability and not according to age.