MYTH 1: Montessori Is a Free-for-All
The Montessori approach is too permissive, a virtual free-for-all. Children need boundaries and Montessori doesn’t offer them.
TRUTH: In the Montessori classroom, children have the freedom to choose work that has a purpose. This includes a wide variety of classroom activity, but the underlying responsibility of the child is to make good choices. Teachers and assistants spend a great amount of time observing the children, helping them make good choices when necessary, and removing obstacles to their optimal learning activities. Good manners and respect for others is taught and expected, so the practice of social responsibility becomes part of every school day.
MYTH 2: Montessori Is Too Structured
Montessori instruction is too structured. Kids sit and work all day and aren’t allowed to move around.
TRUTH: On the contrary, in the Montessori classroom, children are allowed to move freely about to access all the learning materials they need. Additionally, for children, play and “work” are often the same thing. In other words, when children engage with the Montessori learning materials, they are indeed learning but it feels like play to them. For example, think of how your own child can joyfully while away the hours manipulating and arranging objects like toys or blocks. The two experiences are similar, but in the Montessori environment, the student is actually working toward mastery of skills and subjects.
Montessori students are allowed to work with specific learning materials for as long as they desire, and the fact that they will until they feel they have mastered it is testimony to the power of the method. Children in Montessori choose to work toward mastery and are internally motivated by a natural love of learning.
Children are also given the security of knowing how to work with the many activities in the classroom. This helps them orient themselves to the fundamentals of each learning experience. At the same time, because instruction is highly individualized, you seldom see children writing the same words with the movable alphabets, painting the same pictures, or even doing the same math problems as their friends.
MYTH 3: Montessori Is Old-Fashioned
Montessori is an outdated method that peaked in the Sixties.
TRUTH: An education based on the observation of children, and on your child in particular, is hard to outdate. Everyone knows the approximate ages children begin to walk, to talk, to lose teeth, even to learn to read. Fads in education come and go because they are not based on observation of children. Often they’re not even based on child development.
The Montessori Method, on the other hand, represents a solid body of observation of child development that has been successfully employed internationally for over a hundred years. Montessori methodology is closer to a true scientific method of instruction than any other educational program in the world today.