International Montessori School
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between AMI Montessori education and traditional education?
For children six and under, Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses (vision, hearing, tasting, smelling and tactile), not just through listening, watching, or reading.
Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities.
They are not required to sit and listen to a teacher talk to them as a group, but are engaged in individual or group activities of their own, with materials that have been introduced to them 1:1 by the teacher who knows what each child is ready to do.
Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.
Above age 6 children learn to do independent research, arrange field trips to gather information, interview specialists, create group presentation, dramas, art exhibits, musical productions, science projects, and so forth.
There is no limit to what they can create in this kind of intelligently guided freedom. There are no textbooks or adult-directed group lessons and daily schedule.
There is great respect for the choices of the children, but they easily keep up with or surpass what they would be doing in a more traditional setting.
There is no wasted time and children enjoy their work and study. The children ask each other for lessons and much of the learning comes from sharing and inspiring each other instead of competing with each other.
How many students are typically in a Montessori classroom?
Unlike some private schools, which strive for very small classes, Montessori values the lessons of community when the size of the class is somewhat larger.
Montessori classes for children from 3 to 6 years old program might include 15–20 students whose ages span 3 years. All members of the community benefit from this set-up.
Older students are proud to act as role models; younger ones feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead.
If children work at their own pace, don't they fall behind?
Although students are free to work at their own pace, they’re not doing it alone.
The Montessori teacher closely observes each child and provides materials and activities that advance his learning by building on skills and knowledge already gained.
This gentle guidance helps him master the challenge at hand—and protects him from moving on before he’s ready, which is what actually causes children to “fall behind.”
How can children learn if they're free to do whatever they want?
Dra. Maria Montessori observed that children are more motivated to learn when working on something of their own choosing.
A Montessori student may choose his focus of learning on any given day, but his decision is limited by the materials and activities—in each area of the curriculum—that his teacher has prepared and presented to him.
Are Montessori children successful later in life?
Research studies show that Montessori children are well prepared for later life academically, socially, and emotionally.
In addition to scoring well on standardized tests, Montessori children are ranked above average on such criteria as following directions, turning in work on time, listening attentively, using basic skills, showing responsibility, asking provocative questions, showing enthusiasm for learning, and adapting to new situations.
Do Montessori teachers follow a curriculum?
Montessori schools teach the same basic skills as traditional schools. Most of the subject areas, such as math, science, history, geography, and language—but are presented through an integrated approach that brings separate strands of the curriculum together.
While studying a map of Africa, for example, students may explore the art, history, and inventions of several African nations.
This may lead them to examine ancient Egypt, including hieroglyphs and their place in the history of writing. The study of the pyramids, of course, is a natural bridge to geometry.
This approach to curriculum shows the interrelatedness of all things. It also allows students to become immersed in a topic — and to give their curiosity full rein.
Why does Montessori have multi-age classrooms?
Multi-age classrooms afford us the luxury of adapting the curriculum to the individual child.
Each child can work at his or her own pace, while remaining in community with his or her peers.
In addition, the multi-age format allows all older children to be the leaders of the classroom community – even those children who may be shy or quiet.
Are Montessori schools as academically rigorous as traditional schools?
Yes, Montessori classrooms encourage deep learning of the concepts behind academic skills rather than rote practice of abstract techniques.
The success of our students appears in the experiences of our alumni, who compete successfully with traditionally educated students in a variety of high schools and universities.
Since Montessori classrooms emphasize non-competitiveness, how are students adequately prepared for real-life competition later on?
Montessori classrooms emphasize competition with oneself: self-monitoring, self-correction, and a variety of other executive skills aimed at continuous improvement.
Students typically become comfortable with their strengths and learn how to address their weaknesses.