January 4, 2011
Not all Montessori schools are the same. Here are things to keep in mind while researching a Montessori school in Chicago for your child.
- Most schools offer what they call “Coffees”, which give families an opportunity to tour the school during a regular school day, meet with the administration, and get general information. Call the Montessori schools you are interested in to find out when their Coffees are.
- Once you have found a school you like, the next important step is to schedule at least two appointments to observe in the classroom your child will be enrolled in.
- Children generally remain in the same classroom, with the same teacher (Directress), for a period of three years. This multi-age grouping of children allows for children to learn from one another, and for a strong sense of community.
- Directresses should be certified or in the process of certification through an accredited Montessori Teachers Training program.
While observing, here are some things to look for:
- The classroom should be clean and uncluttered.
- You should see a large range of Montessori materials available in all subject areas.
- Natural wood and glass is used more than plastic throughout the room.
- It is rare that a child or adult raises their voice in the classroom.
- The authentic Montessori classroom is designed to meet the overall developmental needs of each child in the class. All materials should be suitable for small hands.
- Typically, students work individually or in small groups.
- Children are encouraged to move around freely and select work that captures their interest.
- Children are free to do anything appropriate within the ground rules of the community. If a child's actions interferes with the concentration and freedom of others, however, they are redirected promptly and firmly.