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.
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.
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.
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.
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.