FINDING A MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Anyone who is interested in finding or starting a Montessori school should be aware of the fact that the word Montessori, is not patented and anyone can use it. Thus, the use of the word Montessori is no assurance of quality. If you want to enroll your child in a Montessori school it is important that you learn what a Montessori school should be like, and then observe children working in the school you are considering.
IN AN AUTHENTIC MONTESSORI SCHOOL there will be:
1 - A certified Montessori-trained adult, the teacher and preferably also a Montessori trained administrator. The teacher or directress/director will not be giving traditional group lessons, but will be implementing the progress of each child through individual lessons and record keeping. The word "certified" is tricky. Learn what you can about certification of schools by your state, and by the variety of Montessori organizations.
2 - A full range of tested and proven Montessori materials
in a clean, elegant, uncluttered environment. NOTE: The picture on this
page was taken in a school in East Africa. All of the materials were
scrounged and parent-made, under the direction of a well-educated
3 - Happy, kind children, busy on self-chosen, uninterrupted work.
Montessori schools are found in tiny church halls, large public school building, even homes. The physical environment is secondary to the natural ability, and the training of the teachers.
There are many different kinds of Montessori teacher certification courses in the world today. Some schools are certified by a particular organization and only have teachers with that certification. Some schools have been known to call themselves Montessori schools even though they have no certified teachers. Parents must look carefully into this question.
DO YOUR RESEARCH — EARLY: It is important for parents to learn all they can about Montessori so they can assess a school they may be interested in for their child. We recommend reading everything on this website, and the excellent Montessori overviews available at this site: www.michaelolaf.net. Many good Montessori schools have a long waiting list so do not put of this search till it is too late. Choose carefully; your child will be entering a second family.
PREPARATION IN THE HOME: There is much parents can do at home in the early year to prepare the young child for a balanced life and also to enter a Montessori class. For this information we recommend the "Joyful Child, Birth to Three Years" information at the Michael Olaf link above, and the information here: http://www.montessori.edu/AtoI.html Montessori Assistants to Infancy Courses.
Although we can give you some pointers for finding a good Montessori school for your child, we are not a substitute for the research you can do in your own community. First you could check with the following resources. If this doesn't help you, learn all you can about what a Montessori class should be like, check in your local telephone book and phone the schools. Have their literature sent and make an a appointment for an observation of a class during a normal day with the children there. Do not select a school solely upon someone else's recommendation, but only after you visit. You may have to apply when your child is very young, as many good schools have waiting lists.
STARTING A MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Many Montessori schools were begun by parents who were concerned that their own children have a good educational experience. Schools are also begun by innovative school administrators and teachers, as charter or magnet schools. For many years there were only private schools but because of the success of the Montessori method, there are almost 3,000 Montessori teachers teaching in public schools today , and even more teaching in private schools.
The most difficult part of this project is usually rearranging one's life to take a good Montessori teacher training course, or finding a certified Montessori teacher as there are never enough to fill the demand. It is common to sponsor a local person to take the Montessori training course.
If you are interested in starting a Montessori
school in The United States, practical and extensive information on
this subject is available from The North American Montessori Teachers'
Association. This information will also be of value to interested parties
in other countries. Go to: