It should go without saying that the early years of your child’s development are very important. The development that children experience in their early years forms the foundation for their lifetime behavior, learning, and health. The experiences that young children have can shape their brain and their capacity to learn, make friends, and respond to daily life. Choosing the right daycare is always very important, but it is even more so during the pandemic when you want to ensure that your child is not missing out on a meaningful learning experience.
What is Montessori?
The Montessori method of education was developed by the Italian physician, Maria Montessori. The method views children as naturally eager to learn and emphasizes independence. Grades and tests are discouraged, with schools instead favoring mixed-age classrooms, student freedom, uninterrupted work time, and specially-trained teachers. Montessori daycare has many benefits.
Traditional daycare tends to focus on structure, whereas a Montessori daycare emphasizes flexibility. Instead of the teacher deciding on the activity and the time frame that all children will do each day, the teacher works with the needs of each child, letting the children work at their own pace. Children have the option to move around freely, engage in the activities that interest them, and collaborate with others. Thus, every child learns at their own pace.
In a traditional daycare, the staff typically introduces children only to the very basics of education. A Montessori daycare aims to help your child become well-rounded and well-educated. This helps the child develop their social skills, which leads to the creation of good habits when working with others in the years to come. The more holistic approach means that children can work with their peers, and older students can mentor younger ones. This method gives children the chance to develop skills in leadership and cooperation.
Traditional daycares are instructor-directed. If you choose to send your child to a Montessori daycare, they will be encouraged to move around the classroom as they please, with the opportunity to explore and engage in a wider variety of activities, depending on what catches their interest. Each child has the freedom to learn through hands-on interaction. Children won’t experience learning methods that involve the repetition or memorization of facts, but instead will be able to develop a real love of learning by making choices that suit them.
Montessori daycares see more opportunities for learning for your children. Most ordinary daycares focus on childcare, which often means not much time is spent on important skills like reading, writing, and mathematics until children are old enough to start school at about the age of five. If you choose a Montessori daycare, your child can start learning these important skills much earlier, through work directed by themselves, as well as circle time, helping the children to learn concentration and self-control.
The Montessori method emphasizes stability over time. This is why children at Montessori schools have the same teacher for as many years as possible. In traditional schools, children often have different teachers every year, which can be disruptive to their learning. Spending more time with the same teacher allows the child to build a deeper bond with their teacher, which can help with learning.
The Montessori method acknowledges and allows that all children learn in different ways. All learning styles can be accommodated at a Montessori daycare. Students can learn at their own pace, advancing only when they are ready. They will receive a tailored, personal learning plan, guided by their teacher.
Montessori schools often have a classroom that mixes ages together, usually with an age gap of about three years. This recreates a family-style structure. Older students can act as mentors and role models to the younger ones, so the youngest children feel supported. Both age groups can grow in confidence, while they learn respect, kindness, and conflict resolution from their teachers.
Self-correction and self-assessment are both essential parts of the Montessori method of education. Starting with daycare, children will develop the ability to critically view their own work. This means that rather than being corrected by a teacher all the time, your child can learn important skills to recognize, correct, and learn from their own mistakes. These skills will be very useful to them as they grow up, even if you decide to transfer them to traditional schools for their later education.
A Montessori daycare offers your child the chance to lead their own learning, building important skills for later life, and an interest in building their own knowledge.
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