Montessori vs. Daycare

Montessori vs. Daycare

When comparing child care options for your child, you may have some questions about the differences between a Montessori preschool and a traditional daycare. Every classroom is unique, even within the same educational system. However, there are some major differences between Montessori and traditional systems.

Time:

In a traditional daycare system, a child usually stays in the facility until they turn five years old and can then enter kindergarten, where they begin to really focus on important concepts such as reading, writing, and mathematics. In a Montessori education system, children will begin their academic career at around age three. This means that children in Montessori schools have an additional two years to learn and develop the skills necessary for them to do well in school later in life. Montessori children usually remain with the same teacher for multiple years. This extended period of time allows them to bond with their teacher and gives the teacher the ability to develop and implement an individualized teaching plan for each child in their classroom.

Flexibility:

Traditional daycares focus on structure, and the caretakers are the ones who determine the activities that all of the kids do each day. Montessori classrooms, however, allow for flexibility when it comes to the individual needs of a child. There is an emphasis on each child being able to work and move at their own pace, learn freely through activities, and collaborate with others. If a child wants to work on one activity for an extended period of time, the child has that option. This gives each child the opportunity to learn at their own pace until they fully understand a topic.

Holistic Approach:

The primary goal of a daycare is to introduce basic educational topics and entertain a child while her parents are at work. Montessori preschools, however, work to develop a well-rounded, well-educated, and successful individual. Montessori students develop social skills through life habits and learning principles taught early-on, as well as through collaboration and group work. Older students are commonly given the opportunity to mentor younger students, which teaches cooperation, altruism, and leadership.

Freedom:

Traditional daycares usually rely on instructor-directed discipline to function, but in Montessori education, children are free to move around the classroom, exploring and learning through a variety of activities. This freedom allows children to learn through interaction in their stimulating environment. As children grow older, this emphasis helps develop a deep love of learning, instead of the repetitive memorization of facts and concepts.

As they grow and mature, every child will learn differently and be shaped by their educational experiences. Choosing a Montessori school for your child will no doubt be beneficial for both their development and their future.

Why your child should go Montessori

As a parent you want to find a stimulating learning environment that maximizes your child’s early learning experience, setting the stage for a positive relationship with education. The Montessori curriculum, developed by Maria Montessori, is a child-centered approach to education that treats children as individuals, focuses on the “whole child” and nurtures curiosity, developing students who possess a deep love of learning that lasts a lifetime. Our school offers a close-knit community dedicated to meeting your child’s unique needs in a manner not typically found in a traditional daycare setting.

Here’s what a Montessori education will mean for your child:

Building Independence

Guided individual choice is a key component of the Montessori approach and students are encouraged to work independently on lessons, or work, of their own choosing.  Montessori classrooms contain distinctive learning materials designed for hands-on learning.  Each lesson first teaches a single concept and as students progress to more complex levels, teachers replace materials with ones that ensure that the level of challenge continues to meet a child’s individual need.  A Montessori education allows students to deeply explore subject matter as long as academic value is being gained.

This educational method teaches children to be self-motivated as an active participant determining their own learning path and progressing at their own pace. Montessori classrooms are multi-age allowing students to participate in group activities, learn from and mentor children of different ages. This helps to teach responsibility, cooperation and leadership which are important life skills that benefit all children.

Improving Concentration

Developing a child’s ability to concentrate on tasks is one of the many benefits of a Montessori education. An outside observer may wonder how a Montessori classroom encourages choice as classrooms are meticulously and thoughtfully arranged.  It is this sense of order that sets the stage for learning activity that is focused and calm.  Learning materials are placed on child-height, uncluttered shelves which fosters independence as students can go about their work, on their own with confidence, as a result of everything being where it’s supposed to be.  This creates focus and harmony in students that inspires joyful learning.  

You might observe your child repeating the same task, such as washing a table, sewing a button, or counting small objects.  It is important to know that each of these tasks involves a multi-step process where your child takes out the materials, completes the activity, and cleans up after himself.  These activities instill the mindset that focusing on the details of a task is important. This mindset is necessary for a child to complete more difficult lessons in the future, such as reading or long division.

Learning with Hands-On Materials

Montessori classrooms contain hands-on learning materials. You will not see teachers lecturing on topics to all students simultaneously or asking students to memorize facts; teachers encourage students to see things with their eyes and feel things with their hands. Lessons are taught using materials that are interesting and engaging , such as the movable alphabet to spell words and animal figures to learn about classification.  This interactive, practical approach to learning helps students to understand abstract and complex concepts. In a study published by Psychological Science, students with hands-on learning experience performed better on tests than students with traditional learning experience.
These are just a few examples of how a Montessori school environment delivers an education experience and outcomes that differ from traditional daycare centers.  To learn more about our educational offerings check out the programs section on our website.  We also encourage you to schedule a tour to visit our school, see firsthand the benefits of a Montessori education, and discuss the questions important to your family with one of our certified teachers.