Is Montessori Right for Your Teen?
Montessori education is a “whole child” approach to teaching that encompasses all areas of child development—cognitive, emotional, social, and physical. It encourages children and adolescents to learn at their own pace in an environment that fosters independence, problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration.
That said, parents may find that Montessori schools do things a little differently than traditional schools. This is not right or wrong; it is simply a different way of encouraging students to learn, and one that may or may not be the ideal fit for your family.
Let’s look at the following questions from and see which answers resonate most with Montessori parents. This will give you a better understanding of the Montessori classroom so you can decide if it is right for your teen.
Students learn best when they are: Given rewards Connected with internal motivation and interests We believe learning should be an exciting and joyful experience for students-something they choose to do without the expectation of rewards for academic outcome, participation, or cooperation. Instead of prizes, the reward a student gets from the Montessori classroom is the self-assuredness that comes from reaching a new level of independence or learning a new skill.
I am choosing a school to: Satisfy the state academic standards Prepare my teen academically, socially, and emotionally for school and life Montessori education is more about preparing students to become thoughtful and well-adjusted adults and less about making sure they advance to the next grade or academic level. This is achieved by creating a consistent individualized learning journey through.
When considering education, I: Am open to learning about all methods and want to find one that is the best match for my teen Believe traditional methods are the best option Some parents prefer the structure and familiarity of a traditional classroom setting. This is absolutely fine. However, because students tend to learn in different ways and at different paces, they often benefit from being in an environment that allows them to learn in the way that works best for them. The Montessori classroom is a great example. A parent whose teen may thrive in a Montessori school setting is one who believes in giving their teen the freedom to make choices and guide their own learning journey in an environment that fosters imagination and independent thinking.
My teen learns best in an environment where: Students are encouraged to make their own decisions and have learning options – prepared classroom Students are told what to do and what to think – fully structured, no options offered You will notice that Montessori classrooms have a stimulating atmosphere. There are a couple reasons for this. First, because Montessori students are given the freedom to choose their own activities, they are more likely to be fully engrossed in those activities and less likely to be asking the teacher for direction. Second, because creative environments have been shown to foster quality learning, Montessori students are encouraged to try new learning formats and innovate in a collaborative and positive learning environment.
The most important outcome for my student is to: Be prepared to achieve in school and beyond Be a happy, well-adjusted, and self-motivated human being Again, the Montessori method of education places a greater emphasis on self-paced, independent learning over making sure children advance to the next grade or academic level. We believe learning should be an enjoyable experience that encourages children to work beside and respect one another while at the same time developing their individual personalities and unique talents
It is important that your student completes worksheets and memorizes facts at school. True False Although often used in traditional school settings, worksheets and similar memorization and repetition tools are rarely (if ever) used in the Montessori classroom. We believe students learn more effectively through hands-on experience and independent exploration rather than regurgitating facts onto a sheet of paper. Students are also more likely to retain important concepts when they are able to apply them to different situations and test their validity for themselves.
You want your teen to: Learn at their own pace and be challenged according to their unique ability Learn according to a curriculum based upon their age In a traditional education setting, parents are often told that a student is not “reading at their level” or that they should be “further along by now” in a certain subject or task because of their age. In the Montessori classroom, children are encouraged to learn at their own pace and given the time and space necessary to fully understand each concept. Children naturally want to learn and understand things, and giving them the freedom and the opportunity to do so is the key to helping them achieve their learning goals.
I want my teen to be in an environment that: Encourages them to explore their interests, without interruption Has an external curriculum taught at specific intervals each day While traditional classrooms are very structured in terms of time (e.g. 30 45 minutes each day for Math, 3045 minutes each day for English, etc.) the Montessori classroom is not. Instead, children can choose which projects they want to participate in and for how long, so as not to interrupt the learning and exploration process.
At school and home, I want my teen to learn to be: Independent and do things for themselves To rely on adults for everyday life skills One of the primary goals of the Montessori method is to teach students to think and do things for themselves instead of relying on adults for everything. In the words of the American Montessori Society, “Given the freedom and support to question, probe deeply, and make connections, Montessori students grow up to be confident, enthusiastic, and self-directed learners and citizens, accountable to both themselves and their community."
Montessori students learn at their own pace through observation, exploration, and experimentation. Although it is the perfect fit for many families, it is not the perfect fit for all families.
If you are interested in learning more about Montessori education and its unique benefits, we encourage you to schedule a tour or reach out to us directly to learn more.