Education is one of the most hotly-debated topics in the United States, and many parents are concerned about whether their children are getting the best education available. Of course, every person has a different learning style, so what works for one student may not be best for his or her peers. Because of this, many alternative education programs have arisen to help children of all backgrounds get a quality education. One of the most well-known of these programs is the Montessori education.
Montessori Education Characteristics
Montessori education programs are unique in that they allow students to learn at their own pace. Classrooms include students of all ages, allowing the older kids to mentor younger children, and allow students to choose what to work on during long time blocks. Quizzes and tests are rare, and students receive both individual and group instruction on social skills and academia.
While Montessori education is still uncommon, it is growing in popularity. An estimated 4,000 private schools and 300 public schools in the United States offer Montessori programs. Students who are enrolled in Montessori programs have earned higher scores on social and behavioral tests and demonstrate a greater sense of justice and fairness. Montessori children have also demonstrated higher motivation, interest, and levels of importance regarding schoolwork than their non-Montessori peers.
Montessori Education Myths
While many parents sing the praises of Montessori education, it is not without its criticisms. Some parents believe that a Montessori education is only for the upper class, that they couldn't possibly afford to send their child to a Montessori school. Others are concerned that their child will not be able to adjust to a more traditional educational setting in regular schools.
Fortunately, the foundation of studious behavior and love of learning that was laid down in elementary school carries on into high school, even as the learning environment changes. Many Montessori schools also offer financial aid and payment plans for less-privileged parents.