Montessori Myths and Facts
Myth 1: At a Montessori Gold Coast child care centre, children get to do whatever they want.
Fact: While Montessori learning allows children to be self-directed and to choose their learning activities, they don’t just get to do what they want. The teacher will observe the children and can see when some teaching or direction from an adult is needed. For example, the teacher may notice that Jodie is having trouble tying her shoelaces, and will encourage her into activities to help her master this self-care skill. Or the teacher may notice that Bella has managed to learn the names, shapes and sounds of the letters of the alphabet and is ready to string the letters into simple words. Also, children at a Montessori centre have to learn to share equipment and take turns and how to interact courteously with others, so they can’t always use the equipment they want to whenever they want to: someone else may be using it.
Myth 2: Montessori is far too structured
Fact: As mentioned above, the children at a Montessori Preschool are able to select the activities they want to participate in. Although the teacher will direct children into appropriate and necessary activities (see above), children do get a lot of choice as to what they want to do. What is structured in a Montessori classroom is the environment: it is laid out carefully to allow children to do things for themselves, including putting away their equipment once they have finished with it. Some structure is necessary for a child, as this gives them security and stability, and good manners and self-discipline (such as tidying up after yourself) are important life skills to help you get along with others.
Myth 3: Montessori schools are linked with the Catholic Church
Fact: Although Maria Montessori was brought up in the Catholic Church (she was Italian, after all), Montessori’s methods are not affiliated with any religious organization. While church-based schools and preschools are free to use Montessori methods if they wish, it is easy to find many non-religious Montessori centres if this is what you prefer.
Myth 4: Montessori Gold Coast is only for special needs children (either gifted or with learning difficulties).
Fact: Montessori education was first developed for use with mentally challenged children, but Maria Montessori soon saw that her methods could be applied to all children, regardless of their ability. Any child can benefit from Montessori education methods.
Myth 5: Children who go through Montessori education become wildly successful in life.
Fact: While we’d like to say that this isn’t a myth, no system of education can turn your child into Einstein, Bill Gates, Mozart and Van Gogh all rolled into one. What Montessori education will do is to help your child develop the skills that will help them become who they are meant to be and to reach their full potential as well-rounded and productive citizens. After all, success comes in all shapes and sizes, and an individual with a good job, good friends and a happy home life is just as successful as the most famous person on the TV screens.
Myth 6: Montessori methods doesn’t allow for creativity
Fact: Many of the activities in a Montessori classroom allow children to express their ideas and feelings. Cutting, gluing, modeling, drawing and writing all allow children to be creative, as do music and movement all of which you’ll find at a good Montessori Gold Coast centre.