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Not all Montessori schools in Chicago are the same

Not all Montessori schools are the same. Here are things to keep in mind while researching a Montessori school in Chicago for your child.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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