Montessori daycare is an attractive alternative to traditional daycare, but you need to make sure that the school uses authentic Montessori methods and materials. Here are 5 ways that Authentic schools stand apart from other types, along with brief explanations of why these things are important.
- Verifiable Accreditation
Checking the credentials of your selected Montessori daycare is probably the most direct way to verify that it is authentically Montessori. Since any organization can claim to be Montessori, checking their credentials is the only way to assure yourself that the school is recognized as an authentic Montessori school, and since accreditation is a badge of honor, most authentic schools will display the fact for everyone to see.
- Specially Trained Teachers
Just as schools are accredited, the teachers are certified in Montessori instruction. This is special training that goes above and beyond what is required for traditional daycares, making Montessori teachers a cut above as well. Trained to observe and guide rather than lecture and dictate, Montessori educators are in a class by themselves.
- A Prepared Environment
The prepared environment is a visual clue to ascertain you have chosen an authentic Montessori daycare. Everything is carefully organized and positioned for the benefit of the children instead of the adults. Additionally, Montessori strives to keep children fully grounded in the real world, so there won’t be a lot of, for example, Disney characters dominating and decorating the classroom.
- Authentic Materials
While you may see materials that are not strictly Montessori, you will also see items that are distinctly designed for Authentic Montessori learning. This includes things like the well-known Pink Tower, and all authentic Montessori materials will be characteristically self-correcting and designed to be manipulated by young hands and minds. A majority of Montessori “toys” are made of wood because wood can withstand countless hands and is inviting enough to encourage children to get started right away.
- Observing Children
Authentic Montessori classrooms have another trait in common: The children seem to be quietly engaged in a variety of activities. They may work alone or take part in a larger group activity, but they will be quietly engaged, a stark contrast to other types of daycare. When it comes to classroom behaviors, Montessori is a visible difference.
The word Montessori is not trademarked, so the name alone is not enough to verify that you have chosen an authentic Montessori environment. You will have to check the credentials of the school and its instructors for verification, but just touring a classroom is often enough to illustrate that you have entered a special place for children.