Learn More About Montessori

Is Montessori for all children?

We think so! Here at Montessori Children's House of Sycamore and DeKalb, we focus on children who are between the ages of 3-6. However, the Montessori approach has been used successfully with children from infancy through high school, and from all socioeconomic levels, representing those in regular classes as well as gifted, emotionally disturbed, and physically handicapped. Because of its individualized nature, it is even suited to public education, where children of many backgrounds are grouped together. It is also appropriate for classes in which the student/teacher ratio is high because children learn at an early age to work independently.

Is my child free to do what he/she chooses in the classroom?

In our classroom, all of the children are free to move about at will, to talk to other children, to work with any materilas whose purpose they understand, or to ask the teacher to introduce new materials. The children learn that they must allow others this same freedom and that the utmost care of our materials is important for everyone in the class.

What does the teacher do?

The teacher works with individual children, introduces materials, and gives guidance where needed. In addition, one of the teacher's most important tasks is careful observation of each child in order to determine his/her needs and to gain the knowledge she needs in preparing our environment to aid each child's growth. The teacher is constantly alert to the interests and abilities of her students and activiely seeks to help each one learn, grow, and accomplish their goals.

What will Montessori do for my child?

We have several goals for our Montessori students, including self-discipline, self-knowledge, and independence. In addition, we want to encourage an enthusiasm for learning, an organized approach to problem solving, and academic skills.

What happens when children go from a Montessori class to a traditional class?

In our experience, most Montessori children adjust readily to new classroom situations. In all likelihood this is because they have developed self-discipline and independence in the Montessori environment. We've heard reports that many teachers love their Montessori kids, because the children are often caring and kind, in addition to being able to concentrate and focus on the job at hand.

Why is it so important for my child to experience the kindergarten year at a Montessori school?

In the Montessori environment, the children are presented with endless opportunities to develop all of their senses and motor skills with the aid of self-correcting materials in a prepared setting. During the third year a child can not only work with these materials in more depth, thus gaining more insights from them, but, using this base, can move more deeply into the academic areas. In addition, having learned from older children, shared with peers and helped younger children, the students now have the opportunity to assume leadership within the classroom. And, once the child has established critical learning habits -- concentration, self-discipline, a sense of order, persistence in completing a task, creative self-expression and a love for learning, (invaluable preparations for life) -- these behaviors are reinforced in a supportive, exciting environment. All preparations for later academic work and for social and emotional development, which have been so carefully nurtured in the three and four-year-old child, are reinforced in the kindergarten year.

Will a child have enough experience in working in groups in a Montessori school to later become a successful group member in a traditional school?

For sure! If you visit our Montessori school, you'll see that considerable socializing and grouping takes place naturally in the environment (and you'll observe that the children behave in a socially responsible and orderly manner). The Montessori approach eliminates many of the discipline problems found in more conventional environments. There are a few well-chosen ground rules which are consistently reinforced. The children learn to help one another and to care for one another, as well as taking care of their environment, indoors and out. Children are also free to talk and move around, are treated with respect, and are not controlled by fear or punishment. We believe that the ambiance of our Montessori classroom allows for more meaningful talking and social interactions than a traditional environment, which in turn allows the young child to be well prepared to act as a cooperative and skilled group member.

Are Montessori schools religious in nature?

Ours is not, but some Montessori schools, just like other schools, operate under the auspices of a church, synagogue, or diocese.