As a family, we decided that Cameron would go to a Montessori school. We considered many different types of schools in our local area including state, private, Steiner and Montessori schools.
In the end it was an easy decision and we chose a Montessori education. Here are just some of the many reasons:
- Montessori is a very practical education where children learn lots of life skills right from a very young age like 2-3 year-olds learn to use tongs to serve fruit, sweep the floor, plant seeds, sing songs to learn colours, flower arranging and enjoy gardening all while learning about life.
- Children can start as young as 6 months old with their parents. We did this with Cameron and Colin, myself and my mum took turns in taking him so we all learned about how to support his development. It was as much a parent education as a child education and being a new mum - I learned a lot!
- Every transition from us being there to us leaving him alone was slow and supported and so it was tear free! Cameron went for a few hours once a week until he was 2.5 with a family member. After 2 years of this, we left him with his teachers for a few hours a week. When it was time for him to transition to the 3-6 year old class he was already used to us leaving him and he started 2 half days at school then 3, then 4 until we had reached 5 half days. At four year old he was 3 full days and 2 half days and finally when he became a five year old ... now it is 5 full days. Each transition made it easy for parents and children.
- The system is student focused so the children themselves have a role in their curriculum development. For example our Cameron LOVES flags, so he has been drawing flags from around the world and learning to read, write and things about different countries and cultures all through working with flags. He has certainly taught Colin and I a few things! His favourite flag is Cameroon ... because it looks like his name Cameron except that it has an extra 'o'.
- The ratio of teachers/teaching assistants to students is around 10 to 1 as opposed to 30 to 1 in many schools so Cameron has all the individualised help and attention he needs. Children can therefore work on their own interests, at their own pace and don't have to keep up with or conform to a whole class experience.
- Children are taught many social skills and to care for others. For example, in the 3-6 class, Cameron is now 5 and the 5 year-olds need to hold the gate open for the 3 year-olds and help them out when they ask for help. I remember how happy I felt when another little 5 year old boy in his class told me he helped Cameron with his shoes when he was just a 3 year old.
- Both the creative and intellectual sides of the brain are developed. This is important to us as Cameron loves painting, craft and drawing as much as he loves numbers, letters and reading. Cameron says he wants to be an artist when he grows up!
These are just some of the wonderful aspects of a Montessori education, to learn more you can listen to my interview with Montessori teacher. Matty van Drempt has 25 years experience working as a Montessori teacher!
Matty’s journey into Montessori began when she chose to enrol her own children in a Montessori school. Her children attended a Montessori school from the age of 3 till they were 12 and it was a great experience and made such a positive impact on her whole family that it inspired Matty to complete the Montessori training to become a teacher herself!
Matty was born in The Netherlands and has been living in Australia for over 2 decades. Matty enjoys her work so much that in 2005 she undertook further training by completing a Masters in educating children from birth to 3 years. She is currently working with babies/toddlers and parents at Forestville Montessori School in Sydney Australia. Matty will share her experience and insights into children's development and how it is supported through a Montessori Education.