How Does a Montessori Elementary School Differ From Traditional Environments?

How Does a Montessori Elementary School Differ From Traditional Environments - Flagstaff Montessori Switzer Mesa Campus

If you attended public schools as a child, you already know what to expect — an environment that prizes conformity over individual development. If you want your elementary school child to enjoy a different experience, it’s time to consider the many benefits inherent to Montessori programs. 

What can you expect when you choose this private school experience?

Multi-Age Groups

One major difference between traditional and Montessori elementary school environments is that the latter groups children into multi-age classrooms as a way to encourage self-directed and self-paced learning. 

The elementary program includes grades 1–6, broken into two groups: Lower Elementary (grades 1–3) and Upper Elementary (grades 4–6).

Groupings that include three grades allow students to experience different stages of development within the group. As they progress, they can advance from learning to teaching, helping younger students grasp lessons they’ve already mastered.

Older children can become role models for younger peers in their group, taking on new responsibilities and gaining confidence along the way. Children of all ages can develop at their own pace, whether they’re ready to advance or they need extra time to master certain skills or subjects.

A Focus on Whole Child Development

When parents send kids to school in a traditional environment, as with public school, there’s an expectation that students will receive academic training. However, children are more than just repositories for knowledge.

They are thinking, feeling, curious, creative individuals, and they need to be nurtured in a variety of ways. Whole child development is a holistic approach to learning that incorporates not only academic lessons but also a focus on the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of children.

Encouraging independence and self-reliance is made easier with an approach that supports every facet of child development. For elementary school students, this can help to develop positive traits like strong character, personal and social responsibility, and confidence, all while helping kids reach their full potential.

Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand in Montessori elementary school programs, with a focus on creating a balance of the two. Self-reliance and self-discipline are skills that not only help in the academic environment but in every aspect of life.

From a young age, students are given a level of freedom to self-direct their learning experience, with guidance from teachers. Over time, they are allowed to explore greater freedom and responsibility, gaining confidence and self-worth in the process.

As children advance, they are encouraged to serve as examples to younger peers in their group and take on leadership roles. While it seems like some people are natural-born leaders, these skills can also be taught. Helping kids develop confidence and independence provides an excellent foundation for developing leadership potential.

Integrated Learning

Parents seeking a hands-on learning environment at the elementary school level will find it with Montessori programs, along with a focus on rich, integrated learning. What does this mean in practical terms?

Children will be exposed to traditional subject matter, or core subjects, along with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). However, instead of segregating lessons, Montessori programs integrate subject matter in a variety of ways to deepen understanding and engagement.

Experience the Montessori Advantage

Montessori schools provide a unique and supportive learning environment that includes multi-age classrooms, a focus on developing the whole child, a balance of freedom and responsibility, and hands-on, integrated learning that you won’t find in traditional academic settings.If you’re ready to enroll your child in a Montessori elementary program, contact us now to learn more.