Does your child need more time to master new skills? Every child learns and grows at their own pace. If the daily schedule of a traditional classroom doesn’t meet your preschooler’s needs, take a look at what you need to know about the benefits of a Montessori early childhood education (preschoolers ages three through six).
The Self-Paced Learning Environment
Montessori schools allow young children to take the lead and learn at their own pace. While this strategy isn’t an academic or educational free-for-all, the Montessori philosophy does give preschoolers the opportunity to build skills and explore content in ways that make sense for their own developmental needs.
In Montessori early childhood classrooms, teachers don’t stop students in the middle of a learning experience or push them to follow a strict schedule. Instead of a timed approach to each new lesson, activity, or exploration, Montessori schools use an uninterrupted work period. As the name implies, this period gives children the chance to work without the teacher interrupting their progress or process.
The overall number of hours of the uninterrupted work period varies by the children’s ages and the school. In general, most early childhood uninterrupted work periods are three-hour cycles.
This three-hour cycle gives young students the time they need to set their own pace and work through the available activities/materials in their own way. If your child needs extra time to understand or explore new concepts or build skills, they can benefit from the self-paced uninterrupted work period in a Montessori preschool classroom.
The Opportunity for Individual Attention
A child who needs more time to learn or master skills can get lost in a sea of students. While group activities have social benefits, full-class lessons require each child to move at the same pace and often draw the teacher’s attention away from each individual.
Unlike the traditional classroom, which relies heavily on group lessons and activities, the Montessori early childhood environment encourages independent learning. This means your child will have the chance to participate in some group activities along with plenty of small group, pair, or solo explorations.
As the Montessori preschoolers pace themselves through the uninterrupted work period, the teacher will have the opportunity to guide and interact with each child individually. This one-on-one experience can help your child to learn in new ways, feel more comfortable with the educational environment, and build skills. This individual attention is important for all young students — especially those who may need extra time or help to understand new concepts or develop abilities.
The Use of Self-Correcting Materials
Montessori materials are different than the toys and educational items you’ll find in other types of preschools. The items your child will use in a Montessori classroom are often self-correcting items. As the name implies, these materials or toys are designed in a way that allows the child to see their own mistakes or misuses and correct themselves.
Self-correcting materials can help all Montessori students to learn and build new skills. But if your child needs more time to understand concepts or develop abilities, these materials may have a special importance. Instead of constant interruptions, guidance, or prodding to change the way they explore or interact with the materials from the teacher, the educational items will provide all the feedback your child needs.
This type of child-to-material interaction allows the preschooler to problem-solve and move through the learning process at their own pace. If they don’t use the material correctly the first (or even second or third) time, they have the time to start over and correct themselves without interruption.
Is your child ready to start Montessori preschool? Contact Miniapple International Montessori School for more information.