You may think you have years to pick an educational path that’s right for your child. He or she is still a toddler, why rush them into a pre-K program?
The fact is, this may be the MOST IMPORTANT time for your child’s educational growth. Toddlers are information sponges. They soak up everything around them. You want to know that your child is as prepared as possible for their coming educational experiences. You may worry that your child will be missing some of the vital skills other students their age have already had the chance to gain. What skills can a Montessori pre-K program give them to best prepare them for educational and life success?
Montessori Pre-K Teaches Independence
If your child still cowers behind you and needs you to do everything for them, it’s time to start working on their independence. Your child should be able to ask questions when they don’t understand how to do something, work through problems on their own, and take care of basic toileting tasks. Ideally, you want a child who can tackle a task without you standing on top of them every moment.
To encourage independence, try giving your child simple instructions (“Put on an appropriate outfit for church,” for example) and see if they’re able to follow through. Even better, offer them the opportunity for creative, unfocused play with blocks, paint or play dough and see what emerges. If they need your help to create even the smallest sculpture, it might be time to find new ways to encourage independence in a Montessori pre-K.
A Montessori pre-K education gives students an active role in choosing their lessons and activities. Within a set of parameters, students can decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. This not only supports a child’s curiosity, but also encourages them to become independent, lifelong learners.
Montessori Pre-K Inspires Confidence
You are your child’s best cheerleader and their best source of courage, confidence and inspiration. Confidence and independence often go hand in hand. When your child is confident in herself, she’ll be able to figure out how to handle unfamiliar situations easily. To build your child’s confidence, our pre-K program increases her exposure to unfamiliar activities and settings. We give your child the chance to figure out how to handle surprises in life. It might shock you how well your child is able to adapt to new situations.
One of the greatest things about Montessori pre-K is that it values each child as an individual, recognizing that each child learns in their own unique way. We recognize that every child responds differently in different learning environments and has different entry points for learning. Paying close attention to children and actively following their interests and desires for knowledge makes for a better, more enjoyable and more effective education. Montessori pre-K students can work at their own pace and are not forced to move onto the next level until they are ready. Through this, they become more confident that their unique strengths are enough to tackle any task. Parents can help in the home as well.
Montessori educators also believe that the best way to learn is by doing. This means providing pre-K students with as many tools and opportunities as possible to actualize their education. Getting hands-on training provides children with real-world examples of their prowess, boosting confidence for the next challenge.
Kids in Montessori Pre-K Are Willing to Learn
It’s amazing how early students learn to hate the entire academic process. They whine about going to school. They complain about the entire school day. They’re unhappy with any learning tasks that must take place outside of school. This is not the prevalent attitude in a Montessori pre-K, where students are encouraged to love learning and to take advantage of their academic opportunities.
Unfortunately, many young students pick up that attitude from older brothers and sisters or from cousins, playdate friends, or even parents. By creating a positive attitude toward learning in your home, you can significantly enhance your child’s odds of success.
Montessori pre-K classrooms have children of varying ages, typically in a three-year age range. The age diversity in these classrooms creates a family-like environment for children, in which students support each other and help each other learn. Older students mentor their younger peers, while younger students have strong role models to look up to and learn from. This creates an academic process that students embrace rather than reject. Montessori pre-K students usually don’t learn to hate education.
Since different children learn in their own unique ways, small group pre-K settings offer a spectrum of perspectives for students and facilitate opportunities to build teamwork skills.
Montessori Pre-K Students Can Follow Instructions
Do you struggle to get your children to listen? Are they constantly running off, engaging in another task when they should be focusing on the instructions that you’ve given them? If so, now is the time that we dig in deep and work hard on those vital skills. Your child should be able to follow their teacher’s instructions without trying to do it “their way” first. While some strong-willed children are more likely to strike off on their own than others, it’s important to encourage your child to follow instructions the first time they’re given. Learning to follow multi-step instructions can also help your child transition to kindergarten more effectively.
When students are immersed in a welcoming, comfortable and organized learning space, they are better able to synthesize and absorb information.
Montessori Pre-K Teaches Life Skills
As every parent knows, the pre-K child wants to be with adults, to take part in the activities of daily adult life. The Montessori practical life materials allow him to do just that. When a child enters pre-K, the practical life area provides the link between home and school. In the classroom, with child-sized tools that really work, the young child can perform the same activities he has seen adults do: polishing, scrubbing, pouring, sweeping. The pace is unhurried, and an adult is nearby to help if needed but not to interfere.
The young child is, of course, more interested in the scrubbing motion of washing a table than he is in getting the table clean. The motions help him gain gross motor control and hand-eye coordination, which will enable him to perform successively more precise tasks.
In the Montessori classroom, there are four distinct groups of practical life exercises.
- Care of Person: buttoning, zipping, combing, tying, etc.
- Care of Environment: cleaning, sweeping, gardening, ironing, polishing, etc.
- Development of Social Relations: greeting, serving, accepting, apologizing, thanking, etc.
- Movement: balancing, “walking on the line,” playing the silence game, etc.
It is often difficult for adults to appreciate the sense of accomplishment and pride that pre-K children take in mastering practical life skills. To the adult, care of the house and body are necessary chores. The young child, however, is attracted to these activities for very different reasons. They are meaningful, creative, filled with intricate movements and achievements that hold their attention. They are easily understood from start to finish; they lead to greater physical skill, perfection of movement and concentration.
Pre-K children gravitate to practical life exercises because these activities allow them to function independently in the adult world. After learning how to button their coat, tie their shoes and wash their hands, they spontaneously repeat the exercises, working on mastery, free from unnecessary adult intervention. These exercises correspond to the child’s sensitive period for refinement of movement and coordination as well as her growing sense of independence. “I can do it by myself” is the motto of the young child, and the life skills training in a Montessori pre-K encourages and fosters this independence.
These are just a few of the many great things about Montessori pre-K that has led more and more parents to choose this educational style for their children. Are you considering a Montessori pre-K for your child? If you’re concerned about the skills your child will need or interested in more information, contact us! We’ll help you discover if a Montessori pre-K is the right fit for your family.