The Montessori Debate

All parents with preschool children face the difficult decision as to how they want their child to spend their preschool years. They are sometimes confused with so many different philosophies, programs and approaches to education in the important early years!

Most parents of preschoolers have heard of “Montessori Schools” at one point or another. This educational method of teaching started by Dr. Maria Montessori was introduced in 1907 with the opening of her first school in Rome. Maria did most of her research when working with children with mental and physical disabilities. Her success in working with these children as well as children from low income neighborhoods’ provided her with the development of her philosophy, educational equipment and approach. She went on to travel around the world opening schools and successfully teaching her methods.

Unfortunately, the word “Montessori” can be used in some schools, which are not necessarily using Maria Montessori’s method of teaching. The word “Montessori” is not a trademark or organization. Legally, the word “Montessori” can be used without being affiliated with a precise method of teaching.  It is extremely important to check on the philosophies and program content of any school before registering.

Maria Montessori has given us many very important approaches to teaching that have impacted the lives of many children and Early Childhood Educators all over the world. Mini-Skool has always succeeded in offering parents an educational program that stands out above the rest! We are able to do this by constantly researching and discovering new curriculum approaches and ideas that contribute to the best learning environment for your child. This also includes the old as well as the new. We do include many teaching methods of Maria Montessori in our programs. We do not, however, follow all of her methods as we believe that new studies in Early Childhood have provided us with so many new approaches to education such as phonics, computer programming and behavior management techniques. We believe we have created our own philosophy by incorporating the best of many different teaching approaches.

In order to give our parents clear information regarding this important choice for your child, we would like to highlight Mini-Skool’s similarities as well as differences to a standard Montessori program. Please see below for a comparison table.

In closing, it is extremely important that you consider all aspects of your child’s growth during this critical time. I have spoken to many school age teachers who greatly endorse our programs as excellent preparation for grade one. We have many teams of teachers and professionals in the field who work on updating our educational programs every year. We offer a unique three year old program that prepares the children for JK and SK.  We have recently added computers and French to our programs. At Mini-Skool we truly believe that a better beginning lasts a lifetime!

Written by
Nichola Vammus, E.C. E
Marketing and Program Manager

Similarities Between
Montessori and Mini-Skool

Montessori Methods Mini-Skool
Hands on approach to learning. Same
Self-directed learning. Same, for large portions of their day.
Children are encouraged to be independent and taught important life skills. Same
Classroom is set up for optimal learning. Same
Low shelving to permit children to have choices of equipment. Same
Child is encouraged to learn at their own pace and are given many different ways to learn the same concept as per the theory that “all children learn differently.” Same. Mini-skool’s new math program “math works” takes this philosophy to an all new level!
Teachers allow the children to sort out own problems before intervening. Same. Our staff just recently had a behavior management workshop on this topic.
Activities include sensory, spatial, large and small motor skill coordination and concrete knowledge. Same… and more!
Children are introduced to equipment that is designed especially for the lesson at hand. Same

Differences Between
Montessori and Mini-Skool

Montessori Methods Mini-Skool
Teacher remains as a “silent” presence in the
room.
Our teachers are actively involved with each child taking
advantage of “teachable moments” and opportunities to model appropriate behavior. It is not uncommon to find one of our staff involved on the floor with the building of a tower or having tea with a child in the home living center.
Classroom is kept quiet, peaceful and orderly. Other than “Program time” it would be hard to
find a quiet classroom at Mini-Skool. You will often find children conversing and working together to create a structure or game or hear a squeal of delight as a child finds the last piece of the puzzle. We recognize that social interaction is extremely important and we encourage it.
Self correcting materials that focus on a specific goal. We encourage children’s creativity by not limiting
experiences and encouraging imaginative play which is crucial to future development.
Discourages traditional testing and grades. Our testing is done in the form of a checklist done three
times per year that identifies childrens’ strengths and weaknesses. We feel that this is crucial in identifying potential problems that may need early intervention.

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