Are you torn between taking your child to a Montessori or a regular daycare? Many parents face this dilemma when it comes to choosing a daycare option for their children. You may be asking yourself many questions, as to how the two facilities differ.
With many options to choose from, it is challenging for parents to decide the best place to place their children. Knowing how the two facilities differ from each other is the first step in understanding the approach that will benefit your child.
When you take a tour of a Montessori school and a traditional daycare facility, you will notice some differences. The education approach used in Montessori environments makes them better for learning than daycares.
So how are Montessori schools different from the other daycare facilities?
1) Engaging learning environment
Children in traditional daycare facilities depend on their teachers to direct them. Learning is more structured, and students do not have the freedom to do what they want. But in Montessori settings, learning is more engaging. Children have the freedom to move around the classroom, interact with each other, and engage in activities that excite them. The environment is so stimulating that children enjoy learning.
2) Trained teachers who guide the students
The teachers in the daycare centres are not adequately trained. Many of them have basic early childhood education training, which is not sufficient. They have a challenge in managing many students. This prevents them from providing proper guidance to students. Their pay is low, and there is high turnover, which leads to inconsistent learning for the children.
In Montessori schools, there is a sufficient number of well-trained teachers who guide children in the learning process. Pay is not an issue in such schools and teachers stay longer. This gives children consistency in their learning. Teachers can monitor a child’s learning abilities and style and provide learning that suits a child’s needs and style.
3) Child-centered learning
In daycare settings, children learn in groups. Teachers do not have enough to attend to the needs of each child, given the high number of students compared to the teachers. They do all their activities in groups and move on to the next tasks when the time is up. Children learn at the pace of the whole group, which may not work for every child.
In a Montessori setting, children get one-on-one instructions. Teachers attend to every child individually and allow them to learn at their own pace. The approach to teaching recognizes that children are unique and have different learning abilities. So teaching focuses on the needs of each student as opposed to the entire group.
4) Self-directed learning materials
In typical daycare schools, children do not have the luxury to choose their learning materials. Teachers select the materials for them. The use of materials and activities is also timed between 20-40 minutes. They use the material in a group setting.
In Montessori facilities, children choose their learning materials and practice using them to their satisfaction. They have all the time they need to fully explore the materials they want and learn at their own pace.
5) Independent learning
In daycares, there are deliberate schedules that children have to follow. They rely on their teachers to direct them on the next step to follow. They depend so much on their teachers to do anything they need. Since learning is deliberate, students cannot do anything on their own. They have to wait for directions from their teachers.
In a Montessori environment, learning is self-directed. Children are given a chance to explore, interact, and play with others. They learn how to do things on their own. They are taught to get dressed on their own, take out snacks, set the table, and eat on their own, make their hair, prepare snacks for their peers, and many other activities.
Since they are allowed to learn at their own pace, they practice and build independence, which is hard to find in typical daycare centres.
6) Orderly and calm environment
If you tour a daycare centre, you will notice a chaotic environment full of noise coming from every direction. There is a lack of order, and the atmosphere is messy in most facilities. Teachers shout to students, and students shout to each other. There is no peaceful learning and play in such classroom setups.
When you walk into a Montessori environment, you will notice the difference. The schools are orderly and calm. Children play peacefully and focus on their own activities without distractions and interruptions. Children are more disciplined and able to concentrate on their learning with minimal supervision.
As you can see, the Montessori methodology of teaching differs from that used by typical daycares in many ways. The style of teaching, classroom setup, the time allotted for activities, freedom of learning, and qualification of teachers are critical elements that set apart the Montessori environments from the traditional daycare facilities. Holistic and self-directed learning occurs at Montessori settings compared to the structured learning common in daycares. Now you have an idea of the differences between the two school environments.