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It isn’t easy deciding which preschool to send your child to. There tend to be a variety of different alternatives available in any given community, with some featuring a different style of teaching and learning than others.

There are a number of benefits to attending Montessori schools, with some children gaining an advantage from this learning environment starting in preschool.

The Basics

Montessori educational programs focus on child-centered learning in which the child chooses an activity within a limited number of developmentally-appropriate alternatives and works on this activity uninterrupted for as long as the child wants, learning through discovery rather than lectures.

The teacher is there to help, but not to lead, and there are no tests or grades involved in a Montessori program. Classrooms are often mixed in age, with older kids helping younger ones.

Social Development Benefits

One study published in 2006 found that students in Montessori programs tended to have better social and behavioral development than their peers who attend traditional schools, and Montessori students received similar scores (if not better scores) in reading and math.

The mixed age Montessori classrooms and the emphasis on learning to get along with and respect the rights of the other students help children’s social skills develop.

Self-Concept Benefits

Because the Montessori education system focuses on the whole child, not just on academics, it’s also beneficial for helping children develop their self-concept, which means that they understand who they are and how they fit into the world.

If children feel good about themselves they tend to do better overall, in their personal and academic lives. Once a negative self-concept is developed, it can be hard to change, so it’s important for children to feel good about themselves.

Math and Science Benefits

Another study, published in 2003, found that students who had attended Montessori schools from preschool to fifth grade had higher high school math and science scores than those with  similar background in the same school district who attended traditional schools.

This finding could be because the specially designed Montessori materials can be particularly helpful for understanding math and science concepts, such as how squaring or cubing affects numbers.

Benefits of Learning Other Important Skills

One thing that stands out about Montessori education is that from an early age children are taught to do things independently, seek out knowledge, assess their own work and correct their own mistakes. Children are also taught the importance of order and to put things away when they’re done with them.

All of these skills help children to become successful in their later educational endeavors and lifelong learners.

Child Personality Considerations

No one school is right for every child, so it’s a good idea to take your child’s temperament and personality into consideration. For children who tend to be loud, very active, prefer imagination-based play and do not like to follow instructions, Montessori programs may not be the best choice.

The Montessori style of education works well with children who prefer quiet, those who can do well working on their own and those with special needs.

Credential Considerations

Because the term Montessori isn’t copyrighted, any school could theoretically say that they’re a Montessori school. Look for one with teachers that have been Montessori trained, have learned these educational methods, and know how to use them in the classrooms.

Montessori schools should also embrace a strong cultural emphasis, teaching children to respect other cultures.

Montessori schools are easier to find for younger children than older children. If you have a preschoolage child and want to learn more about a Montessori education, contact the professionals at Joyous Montessori for information about the programs available. This will help you determine whether a Montessori preschool is right for you and your child.