Testimonial Wall - Parents
What Montessori Parents are saying about Montessori Education
Traditional Versus Montessori: From a Mom of Both
By: Leisa Moore
Leisa Moore is currently a Kindergarten teacher in the public school system. She has two children that went through traditional schools and two children who attended Montessori from ages three through eighth grade. Leisa recognizes the importance of education and has had the opportunity to witness many different educational programs. Here she describes some of the main differences she has noticed now that her children are all adults in how their educations shaped them as they grew.
As a parent and an educator, I have found myself comparing my four children to each other throughout their entire lives. You are not supposed to do that, right? I think there may only be a few parents that admit it is nearly impossible not to and even fewer who admit to doing it, such as myself.
When they were very young, there was not much to compare. Our three girls and one boy were basically raised the same until the journey of education began. Unfortunately we were living in a southern state that had approximately five Montessori schools in the entire state...none within a reasonable driving distance for our family. A move back north occurred when the youngest two were blessed to be young enough to embark on a Montessori education and our family had several excellent schools to choose from.
As the older two started their educational career in our local traditional public system, the younger two embarked not only into an educational expedition but a multi-faceted venture as well. While my older two daughters developed many talents and strong attributes, it became apparent rather early that the quality of education was something that was and would continue to be, unfairly compared. Montessori education in itself is an ongoing example of educational excellence...focusing on the whole child and their ultimate place in our world. Being "life-long learners" was what ended up setting my children far apart.
Everywhere we went, other adults, whether they were parents or childless, constantly remarked on the maturity level, respectfulness and ability to communicate in a very precise manner of my youngest two children. When church or family obligations arose, the younger ones usually viewed them as challenges and opportunities. During trying times, they were able to exhibit behavior that indicated deep caring and compassion. I remember thinking that the most noticeable difference was the ability to problem solve. During the younger two children's teen years, employer after employer sought out my husband and myself to marvel at the positive qualities and well-developed traits they possessed. Unfortunately, I could assume very little credit. Each time a compliment came my way, I would think "Montessori".
As all four continue on their life voyage, I know they will all be successful and productive members of society. I also know the youngest two have an advantage due to what occurred between year three of their lives until the end of eighth grade and that will continue to serve them in ways I know they have yet to experience.
Barbara, a Montessori parent from Casa di Mir Montessori School, writes:
My first experience with Montessori education was observing a group of young children gathering in a circle as a flute called them to begin their day… peacefully. Each day begins peacefully. The morning begins with song and silence. The circle celebrates life, birthdays, and accomplishments and provides a time for reflection of the world that surrounds all the children.
Nearly four years later I find myself still appreciating the morning circle time. However, it is the entire scope of Montessori education my two daughters receive that I find so inspiring. The atmosphere in the classroom teaches respect. The child learns respect for the other children, the beautiful materials, and their work. Time is given which allows completion of tasks to the best of a student’s ability. Time is given to develop friendships and work through conflict.
I am impressed with the approach to educate my “whole” child including values, friendships, responsibility, individuality, and, of course, academics.
In the midst of these peaceful surroundings lie rigorous academics standards. The expectations for reading, writing, math, geography, science and cultural work are most impressive. Although each child learns according to his/her ability they are expected to work on material that is challenging. Children are given clear expectations and they are expected to follow through until the job is done correctly and completely.
In the midst of a world that is competitive, busy and uncertain, I am appreciative of the opportunity to educate my children in challenging yet peaceful Montessori school.
Charla, Montessori parent from Casa di Mir Montessori School, writes:
Jefferson was introduced to the Montessori System at the age of 3 (Pukka Beginnings). I saw a much different approach to education. This approach has been very successful for Jefferson. I also have a son in the Public School System, so I am able to compare and contrast these two different approaches.
What I observed from the Montessori system is that the child utilizes his personal interest to explore the world and the world of knowledge. Montessori allows the child to develop at his pace, without holding back those who excel in any given area, or leaving behind those that grasp the concepts more slowly. Montessori teaches the child to be responsible for his own work, success and actions -- teaching the children respect and appreciation for their own abilities as well as those of others (even if they are different from themselves.)
Jefferson is a high energy, enthusiastic child -- Montessori has allowed Jeff to focus his energies so he can be successful. The environment around him during school and after hours supports his success and he feels personal pride in his success.
Because I can compare the public school system (my oldest son is in 6th grade), I was astonished at the subject base Jefferson has already been exposed to and successfully gain knowledge of. This includes multiplication and division in the 2nd grade -- botany, geometry and zoology. Jefferson is exposed to many of the subjects that my 6th grader is introduced and exposed to. They often are able to converse (at slightly different levels) about many topics they learn from school.
I understand that not every educational system works for every child. Tyler is very successful in the public system (a 4.0 GPA), but Jefferson would not be successful in the public system because he is not as disciplined and personally focused as his older brother. Jefferson responds to the Montessori system because it allows him freedom, not often, found in the public school system.
Wanda -- it is you, and your staff’s love and nurturing that also made a huge difference. Because of your vast knowledge of education and the educational process and your recognition that not every child advances at the same level, responds to the same stimulus and exhibits the same level of interest -- this is what makes Casa Di Mir and its' student body successful. Jefferson and his school mates have a great opportunity to learn how to enjoy learning.
I only wish Casa di Mir would open a Middle School -- and then a High School.
Julie, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori, writes:
I have been involved with Montessori education for the past eight years. My son who is now in public junior high school attended Casa di Mir Montessori Elementary School for grades 1-6; and my daughter is now in first grade. My son truly benefited from the nurturing and self-directed environment. I have heard from several of his Jr. High teachers that he has an extremely high level of comprehension in language, math and science; his teachers have been impressed by his ability to prioritize his work and meet goals – these are life lessons my son has received from his Montessori education. Academics is of course the primary role of educators, however, there are many more important aspects of becoming a whole person. My children have developed a true sense of themselves and where they fit in the world, along with an enthusiasm for learning and appreciation and exposure to the world of art and music. Most importantly the Montessori education is instilling the values of their place in society, tolerance and acceptance – in a world and time where these abilities are critical. Because of the age separation between my children, I have a unique perspective of the values of the Montessori education. Having watched my son complete six years of Montessori education, I now look forward to experiencing my first grade daughter as she travels through the next five years and knowing she too will enter the higher level of education as a well rounded, secure student who is able to achieve her highest potential.
WHAT DOES MONTESSORI EDUCATION MEAN TO ME?
The first time I visited a Montessori Classroom I had the following experience:
I walked into a large, bright, and orderly classroom. There was a hum of activity as the children worked at tables or on the floor, completing work logs and plans for the day. The teacher picked up a flute and began to play. The children stopped their work and came together to sit in a large circle on the floor. In the middle of the circle a candle burned.
In the first 10 minutes of my visit, I was drawn in most profoundly by what I felt was the tone of the classroom, one of respect for the child. Eight years later this is still the foundation, which reaffirms my commitment to having my two children in a Montessori environment.
What else does Montessori Education mean to me? It means that my children’s individual learning styles will be respected and that there will be an effort to adapt the work to their strengths and challenges. It means that my children will have the opportunity to understand a concept fully, instead of just memorizing and regurgitating facts. It means that my children will have the ability to make choices and develop confidence in their own abilities to plan and complete their work. I believe my children will have a greater capacity for creative thinking and problem solving as it relates to interpersonal relationships because they have been in an environment in which the peacemaking process is taught and modeled.
“Given soil, water and sun, a plant does not need to be told how to grow.” I believe the Montessori classroom has provided my children with rich soil in the form of nurturing, well-trained teachers, plentiful water in the form of a well-rounded curriculum and learning materials, and abundant light in the form of spiritual teachings from a variety of faiths and cultures as well as respect for the web of life. It is a joy to watch them grow and reach their own full potential.
Karen, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori
“What Montessori Education Means to Me –
The Benefits of Montessori Education”
By Mary, a parent at Casa di Mir Montessori
I was a graduate student at Santa Clara University when I first had the chance to observe in a Montessori classroom. I had a traditional public school education, solid, interesting, but I always felt, especially in the areas of mathematics and science, a wanton lack of real, independent understanding. On the day of my observation in this Montessori school, a key turned in my mind, unlocking a knowledge I had, up to that moment, been without. There was another, more profound, way of educating the mind and spirit of a child. I saw students working with a variety of objects they could manipulate, beads, cubes, cones, word cards, letters, and so much more. They worked in groups and on their own, using a variety of materials in order to grasp the meaning or object of the lesson. The teachers were in the room, working with some of the children but the other children were working so well on their own. I appreciated the visit to this classroom much more than any of the other programs and educational philosophies, I had, up to that point, been exposed too.
Years later, when my first child was ready to enter pre-school, I placed him in a Montessori program. Here was yet another gift I was able to give my son, an opportunity to study, learn, be nurtured and grow in a child-centered, independent, concrete approach to education. He went on to first grade at Casa di Mir Montessori School, where his Montessori education has continued to nourish him. He is now in the fourth grade and I had the joy of starting my daughter in pre-school this fall.
There are many aspects of a Montessori education which I hold in great esteem, but the most significant educational philosophy within the Montessori approach is measuring educational milestones, not with grades or charts or tests, but with an evaluation of the child’s ability to move from a concrete understanding of a subject to the abstract. I continue to be amazed and delighted every time I observe a child receive a lesson on a particular subject. The teacher presents a lesson using concrete tools to convey the meaning and idea of the task. For example, a lesson in understanding compound words will have a little plastic stick of butter and a fly and the words “butter” and “fly” written on a card. The child is then able to “get their hands” on these “concepts” of butter and fly and put them together, literally, to make the new word, butterfly!
I know the value of using all one’s senses to understand the physical word around us, to touch, to see, to hear, to move the objects in such a way, that we understand them on all levels. I love the experience of a child mastering the concrete understanding of an idea or concept first and then moving into an abstract, free from concrete forms, understanding of the subject. It just makes so much sense! To me, this is one of the richest benefits of the Montessori approach, because it takes into account how human beings learn. One only need watch an infant, moving through their small world putting everything in their mouth, the instinct to touch and taste all the objects around them, to gain an appreciation of the “natural” order of acquiring knowledge. I think traditional, abstract, pencil and notebook approaches; miss this often crucial “first” step.
I have always been grateful to the graduate education program at Santa Clara University for a number of reasons, but none more significant then the introduction of Montessori Education. I know I will continue to see the benefits in my children’s lives for years to come, and as a result of this gift, in my own as well! Here’s to Montessori Education Week!
What Montessori Education Means To Me The Benefits of Montessori Education
by Nina, a parent at Casa di Mir Montessori
I am the parent of a seven year old, in her fifth year of a Montessori Education. In my view, two of the most meaningful aspects of a Montessori Education are its individualized developmental appropriateness and its global perspective.
A Montessori Education is a genuinely developmentally appropriate education. It meets my child’s particular needs, not just the needs of the hypothetical average child. My daughter was interested in numbers, counting, letters, and sounds at an early age. The Montessori Primary (i.e. pre-K through Kindergarten) Classroom has a wealth of fun, hands-on materials that develop awareness of quantity and counting, while playing. A mixed age Montessori Primary Classroom gave my daughter an opportunity to choose to observe, at age three, math presentations given to Kindergarteners, and to work with increasingly challenging materials at her own pace. When my daughter decided she wanted to learn to read, shortly after she turned three, her Montessori teacher directed her to the classroom’s fun, hands-on materials for exploring phonics and other pre-reading concepts. By age three and one half she was reading well independently. As a result of Montessori materials, trained Montessori teachers, and mixed age (2 ¾ - K and 1st-3rd grade) classrooms; my daughter, at seven, has mastered multiplication facts, is well into the study of division, is studying literature with a group of third graders, and is working at the sixth grade level in one set of language arts materials. More importantly, she loves school and she is not bored. In addition of being appropriate to a child’s intellectual development, I have found that a Montessori Education addresses the child’s personal (social, behavioral), athletic, artistic, and musical development; and thus the growth of the whole child.
A Montessori Education that is true to the curriculum and values of Maria Montessori prepares a child to take his or her place in all the communities of which we are a part: family, school, city; and not just our own country, but the whole world. Peaceful conflict resolution is a core value in Montessori Education, and an aspect of personal development in the education of the whole child. It starts with guiding three year olds to “use your words,” and progresses to teaching problem solving techniques in the elementary school that can be used at home, and will serve the child for a lifetime. Service projects connect the students to their school and to their local community. Diversity in the school community is not something merely accepted and tolerated, it is embraced as enriching our lives, our learning opportunities (and, frankly, our pot luck dinners!)
My daughter’s Montessori Classrooms have given her the opportunity to know children whose parents have come from over a dozen countries, and who practice all the world’s major faiths. The Montessori curriculum includes study of all the continents: their geography, plants, animals, and people - art, music, folklore, religion, customs, food, etc. It was Maria Montessori’s hope that children trained to peacefully resolve conflict, and well educated about all the peoples of the world, would grow to be a force for peace in the world.
What Montessori Education Means to Me The Benefits of Montessori Education -
What Montessori Education means to Me:
· Being part of a community of shared values where I know each of my child’s classmates by name.
· Caring, responsibility, integrity and honesty are integrated into the curriculum.
· Learning takes place on a continuum rather than on a time schedule.
· The uniqueness of each child is nurtured and honored.
· Cultural diversity is embraced and celebrated.
· Students are self-paced in their learning.
· Multiple learning styles and multiple kinds of intelligence are recognized and provided for.
· Respectful behavior towards peers, parents, staff and teachers is the standard to which students are held.
· Respect for the environment is taught and children learn to be keepers of the earth.
· The arts are promoted within the curriculum and experienced in the community, as well.
· Peace making/conflict resolution from the individual level to on a global scale is promoted and explored.
One can only imagine that "Peaceful Resolution in the Middle East" might be in the headlines rather than "U.S. on the Brink of War" had our president expeienced a Montessori education.
By Susan, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori
Susie, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori, writes:
Even though the kids have moved on, we miss you and Casa di Mir terribly!!!
I am so pleased with the education Trevor and Kayleigh received at Casa di Mir, the "Peace Education" especially.
Trevor has played tackle football for two seasons now and each coach (who is trying to build Trevor's aggression) has asked me, isn't there anyone Trevor doesn't like? I think back on his 6 years at Casa and thank my lucky stars we found your school!!!
I also am pleased to tell you Kayleigh is the most organized child in 6th grade, her teachers are constantly praising her and her organizational skills. I know that is because of her start at Casa.
Also, she has just been elected 6th grade class representative and Trevor and Kayleigh are on the honor roll!
I hope you are getting a lot of response from other alumni. As you can see, I feel most appreciative of our family’s time at Casa di Mir!!!
It sure is hard to find an appropriate adjective while wiping away tears.
Yeganeh, a parent from Casa di Mir Montessori writes:
Casa di Mir Montessori School has offered our two sons more than just an elementary education, but an in-depth understanding that will last them a life-time. Montessori education, and specifically, Casa di Mir, offers a holistic learning experience in which the learning is theoretical as well as practical, sensitive to the learning capabilities of the students as independent learners, and sensitive to the surrounding environment with which the students interact.
Montessori’s in-depth education surpasses just memorizing and retaining information; it focuses more closely on the understanding of the material. The hands-on Montessori materials help students visualize the meaning of mathematical calculation; math becomes exciting and tangible. The weekly quizzes are not scored in the traditional way, but marked for required corrections. They are then returned to the students to be corrected. No student can bypass revision and move on to the next lesson. This way the students’ understanding of the lesson is ensured.
The students work at their own pace. If a student completes his/her work early, he/she will be given material to fulfill the next learning level’s objectives. Students with more capabilities and eagerness for learning can move on beyond their class level since instruction is nearly individual with an approximately 8:1 ratio of students/teacher. Montessori students are not pressured to achieve beyond their capabilities, but encouraged to move forward in their learning journey.
More importantly, promoting awareness for diverse communities, a pedagogy that we have not found prevalent except at Casa di Mir Montessori, has been a valuable asset to our sons especially now that they both are in public education system and realize how much they know and therefore tolerate about other cultures and ethnicities compared to their peers. In a time like today, this awareness and tolerance is strictly vital to the maintenance of peace in our society. We are forever thankful to Casa di Mir Montessori for the outstanding learning experience it provided for our sons.
What Montessori Means to Me – The Benefits of a Montessori Education
Submitted by Clare, a Montessori Parent from The Children’s House of Bucks County
I had passed the sign in front of the school many times – The Children’s House of Bucks County - A Montessori School. It sounded foreign and odd for a school. Maybe it was a regional thing because I had just moved to this area and many things were different. I thought nothing more of it.
When my son Lucas turned 4, I found myself desperately seeking a preschool for him. In whose care could I entrust my active, physical child where he could be stimulated intellectually, develop socialization skills, and have a positive school experience? I enrolled him in a highly recommended preschool that seemed – at first – to be perfect. He loved it! So far, so good! But after three weeks I found myself at pick-up time with an over-stimulated, highly agitated, cranky little boy. My “perfect” preschool was utterly chaotic!
I then arranged a tour of The Children’s House and discovered a most remarkable thing! I saw a classroom of 3, 4, and 5 year olds all working quietly, not at desks but on rugs and tables. There were no Big Bird dolls and noisy Fisher Price toys to keep them occupied but little polishing cloths and a brass apple to polish! I saw (gads!) three year olds pouring water from a pitcher into a tub for hand washing. There were children learning to cut grapes, bananas, and apples with, yes, little blunt knives! (I later found out this was “food work.”) And then, the most remarkable thing of all, they cleaned up after themselves! As the children were dismissed, they shook their teacher’s hand as they walked out the door. That did it. I immediately enrolled my son.
Lucas has been at The Children’s House for four years now. He is currently in the Montessori Academy (the name for the elementary program) in the 2nd grade. He has progressed through the Montessori curriculum and has matured into an amazing little boy. The child I feared would be frustrated academically is reading chapter books and doing multiplication. He progressed at his own pace and met challenges head-on in an understanding and nurturing environment. Since he was 4 years old he has learned the meaning of “work”- even if that “work” is cutting carrots and serving them to friends in his class. He has learned that all everything he does is important, and so is he.
What does Montessori mean to me? It is the priceless gift I have been able to give to my son of a love of learning and the ability to tackle it in his own way at his own pace.
What does Montessori mean to Lucas? A solid foundation upon which to build his future, and, after that, the world!
WHAT MONTESSORI EDUCATION MEANS TO ME
THE BENEFITS OF WHAT MONTESSORI EDUCATION
My wife and I don’t know how to express our thankfulness for having found Evergreen Montessori School in Wheaton, Maryland. When I moved my family from Philadelphia to Bethesda in March of 2002, my wife and I were interested in placing our then 32 month old daughter in a school-type setting. When I found out about Montessori education I knew it would be a perfect fit for Rebekah’s personality.
Well, this past year Rebekah has gone from an impetuous, extremely curious toddler searching for things to do, to what seems like a mature little lady who know so much. Soon she will be introduced to the decimal system and is presently sounding out three letter words. She has even grown closer to her 23 month old brother and is “reading” books to him and teaching him English since I speak to them in my native Portuguese and my wife in her native Spanish.
To think that one school had told us that it would be better to wait a year before enrolling her in a school; she wasn’t ready to be in a classroom yet. We thank God that Evergreen saw the seed of potential just waiting to be watered inside of Rebekah, and actually went ahead and is helping us nurture that seed into a wonderfully well rounded and caring individual thanks to the way Montessori education “directs” a child’s learning experience. Thank you Evergreen! We are proud to be members of this wonderful community.
What Montessori Education Means to Me – The benefits of Montessori Education
By Wendy (parent)
Greenbrier Montessori School
As a parent, sending your child out of the home can be scary. We toured several schools – traditional preschool, church led preschool and also a manor school. The same day, we had an appointment to meet the directress of Greenbrier Montessori. We were easily impressed with the neat, orderly classrooms, the quiet, peaceful setting and the kindness of the woman to whom we were handing over our precious child.
We believe in the values of the Montessori Method, employing them at home when possible. We strive for order, peace and kindness in our own home just as in the classroom setting. Our children are offered a well balanced education of science, language, mathematics, practical life, geography and physical education and are allowed to progress at their own pace. Their love for learning and enthusiasm for it is displayed nightly at dinner as they describe their day to us in great detail. Having such a wonderful foundation for the basics of education will insure the future success of our children in any environment. We couldn’t be more pleased with our choice of Montessori education.
What Montessori Education Means to Me – The benefits of Montessori Education
By Jeff (parent)
Greenbrier Montessori School
Growing up, I remember my parents saying that I was learning things faster than they ever had. I always thought it was an exaggeration until I saw my own children spelling and completing math problems at the early ages of 4 and 5 years old. I quickly learned that they truly were learning at a very rapid pace. What was amazing was the way they were learning and the foundation they were building for continued growth.
The Montessori approach allows my children to learn at their own pace and in an environment where learning is fun. Fortunately, unlike my education, my children look forward to going to school and learning new lessons. They proceed at their own pace and they never feel bored because they know something and someone else needs to “catch up.” Likewise, they never feel “left behind” when they encounter a lesson that is difficult for them to complete. In essence, Montessori education allows my children the freedom of growing at their own pace, in an environment that encourages personal freedom.
It has been a true pleasure to have my children attend Greenbrier Montessori School. I am a proud parent of two bright children who have an opportunity to grow and learn without boundaries. And I’m sure that, while I thought they were learning things fast before, I will continue to be amazed at how fast they learn things in the future.